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Death - Miscellaneous

JFK Targeted for AssassinationAssassination - A topic that usually lends itself to the plotlines of action adventure novels and motion pictures, "assassination" visited the living rooms of millions of Americans when a beloved Irish-American president was killed during a visit to an all-American Texas town.

On November 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-63) was shot in Dallas, Texas as his motorcade passed by a book depository. Starting at 1:30 PM that same day, the voice of Walter Cronkite reported to the nation the tragic bulletin

"In Dallas, Texas three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade. The first reports say that the President was seriously wounded, that he slumped over in Mrs. Kennedy's lap, she cried out, "Oh, No!" and the motorcade went on...The wounds perhaps could be fatal"

The President died several hours later and Vice-President, Lyndon B. Johnson was appointed acting President. Shortly after, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested as the lone gunman responsible for the assassination.

On November 24, 1963 the NBC network captured the live footage of the Oswald's murder (the first live on-camera assassination) of the 24-year old alleged killer of the President. NBC had just concluded a two-minute report from Hyannis Port when Frank McGee in New York heard Tom Pettit (setting up at Dallas police station) shout twice "Give me Air!"

Quickly, NBC switched to the Dallas remote set up just in time to record Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of shooting President Kennedy, being escorted by detectives in the basement of the Dallas jail for transfer to an armored truck.

Suddenly, out of the lower right corner of the TV screen came the back of a man. A shot was heard. Oswald gasped and then grabbing his side began to fall. Reporter Tom Pettit shouts on the air "He's been shot! Lee Oswald has been shot! There is absolute panic...pandemonium has broken out!"

The murderer of Lee Oswald was Jack Ruby (who died of cancer a few years later), the operator of a small nightclub whose vigilante action deprived the nation of a trial.

A commission ("Warren Commission") designed to clear up speculation about the presidential assassination produced the now famous "Warren Report" which concluded that Oswald acted alone in the assassination of the JFK. However, a home movie of the assassination showed the President's body was possibly shot by bullets coming from directions other than from the book depository.

The theory that there were other marksmen positioned on a "Grassy Knoll" not far from the book depository and the fact that numerous potential eye witnesses to the shooting died within a few months of the assassination opened the door to speculation that the assassination was a well planned conspiracy.

In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassination relying on acoustical evidence, concluded that a conspiracy was "likely" and that it may have involved organized crime. Rated as a bomb of a movie in the TV Movies and Video Guide edited by film historian Leonard Maltin, the motion picture Executive Action (1973) starring Burt Lancaster concluded from the preponderance of circumstantial evidence that Kennedy was killed via a "group" rather that a "lone" gunman.

In the 1990s, writer/director Oliver Stone created his own theatrical film JFK that told the story of the JFK assassination. Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925-68), the president's brother met a similar fate in 1968 when he was gunned down by lone assassin, Sirhan B. Sirhan at a Democratic presidential primary rally in Los Angeles. The event was captured by movie camera and the results aired nationwide.

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan while walking to his limousine after giving a speech at the Hilton Ballroom in Washington, D.C. was shot and wounded with a .22-caliber handgun held by assassin John W. Hinckley, Jr. Reagan was rushed to the George Washington University Hospital with a possible collapsed lung. The event was covered extensively by all major TV networks.

Another major assassination that received TV coverage was that of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the man who moved the consciousness of the nation, won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964, and led the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. on March 28, 1963...a peaceful rally designed to end the "Jim Crow policies so prevalently found in America. Speaking to the 250,000 people who participated in the march, King proclaimed his now famous speech and the lines

"I have a dream that one day the nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed...all men are created equal."

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by a sniper (allegedly James Earl Ray) while standing on the motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Protesting his death, black communities rioted in some 63 cities. More than 150,000 people attended Luther's funeral at his old Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.


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