Tag Archives: Dallas

Remembering JFK

22 Nov

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“We must use time as a tool, not a crutch.” — JFK

NOVEMBER 22

Today marks 48 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

It is a time when all Americans (even those who were not yet born in 1963) stop to reflect on what our country lost that day for we lost so much more than more than just a man — and we ponder what role that tragic event played in shaping the world we now find ourselves living in.

While it is important that we pause to remember the past, and to ask these questions about America’s future (he would want us to), let’s not allow ourselves to forget the man Jack Kennedy was. Because it seems that far too often, we focus our attention on his death and the many questions that still remain unanswered. Shouldn’t we instead remember his life?

Sitting atop the perch where Abraham Zapruder took film of the assassination, a young boy tries to make sense of it all. Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX. June 1, 2008

Sitting atop the perch where Abraham Zapruder shot his film of the assassination, a young boy tries to make sense of it all. Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX. June 1, 2008

Since this somber anniversary happens to fall around Thanksgiving, it just doesn’t seem appropriate somehow to be mournful. Rather, let us give thanks for all of the good things he brought to this world as a catalyst for change. Let us recall the way he inspired people around the globe; the hope and optimism he brought to the presidency. Let’s celebrate his vision, his strength, his courage, his razor-sharp mind, his gracecharm, and of course, that delightful, sometimes wicked wit.

This would be a perfect time to reach for one of your favorite books on the shelf and immerse yourself in some of his words. Listen to some of his best speeches. Because these things are the legacy he left us. His words will live in history forever and cannot be erased.

A single red rose on the Grassy Knoll in front of the former Texas School Book Depository (now the 6th Floor Museum).

A single red rose, left by an unknown admirer on the Grassy Knoll in front of the former Texas School Book Depository (now the 6th Floor Museum).

Naturally, we all have our own favorite books and speeches of JFK’s; I’ve certainly got a long list of works I find deeply moving and inspiring, but I’ll refrain from making any recommendations here because I feel that how each of us remembers him today should be a strictly personal choice.

But there is one little tidbit I want to share:

On November 19, 1963, just three days before his death, President Kennedy wrote this message for the re-dedication ceremonies of the national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania:

“The goals of liberty and freedom, the obligations of keeping ours a government of and for the people are never-ending.”

Just one sentence, but this says it all. Written nearly a half century ago, his words serve to remind us all that there is still so much work to do. Lest we forget.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

May 29, 1917- November 22, 1963

Notes and flowers left for President Kennedy on the Grassy Knoll Fence. Dallas, June 2008

Notes and flowers left for President Kennedy on the Grassy Knoll Fence. Dallas, June 2008

 PHOTO GALLERY

Text and images copyright 2008-2011, New Frontier. All rights reserved.

 

“The American People Deserve To Know The Truth” JFK Secret Service Agent Says

9 Apr

BARACK OBAMA NEEDS TO HIRE THIS MAN

Abraham Bolden is the first African-American Secret Service agent assigned to the presidential detail.

With the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination recently passed, the 40th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s murder coming up in June, and all the resultant hysteria swirling around the issue of presidential candidate Barack Obama’s safety as of late, we would like to humbly remind Senator Obama what a real Secret Service agent looks like.

If Barack Obama wants to surround himself with a security staff that can be fully trusted to keep him safe from harm, we would recommend that he hire JFK’s former Secret Serviceman Abraham Bolden as the head of his personal security detail. And if elected to the presidency, we would further implore President Obama to restore Mr. Bolden’s former status on the White House detail of the United States Secret Service.

At age 73, we realize that Bolden would likely be unable to play a very active role in providing physical security for Obama, and that the appointment would be honorary. But we also believe that this brave and loyal public servant should be rewarded for his many years of courage in the face of intense persecution and suffering.

Bolden’s career was destroyed, his reputation sullied, he was thrown in prison on trumped-up charges, subjected to solitary confinement and drugged…all because he dared to protect the president of the United States and tell the truth of what he knew about John F. Kennedy’s murder.

Nearly 45 years later, Abraham Bolden (the first black man to serve on the presidential detail – at JFK’s personal request  – and who successfully thwarted a plot to assassinate Kennedy in Chicago on Nov. 2, 1963) has come forward to tell his story in a new book “The Echo From Dealey Plaza“, which we hope that Senator Obama already has a copy of. We hope that Senator Obama reads it carefully and takes Bolden’s words as a cautionary tale. Lastly, we hope that Senator Obama will recognize the efforts of his fellow Chicagoan and do his part to give Mr. Bolden his just due at long last for a job well done. Courage such as this should be honored, especially when it comes to protecting the life of the President.

It’s a task every Secret Service agent is sworn to do, of course. But as we discovered that fateful day in Dallas, not every agent on President Kennedy’s detail was as loyal to that sacred oath as Abraham Bolden – a fact that President Kennedy himself was apparently aware of.

“Keep those Ivy League charlatans off the back of my car.”

 – President John F. Kennedy to Secret Service Agent Floyd Boring in Tampa, November 18, 1963

(as reported in William Manchester’s Death of a President) 

We present below a fascinating recent interview with Mr. Bolden from the Chicago Sun-Times, speaking about his new book. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is everything a Secret Service agent should be!

(Oh, and Mr. Kennedy – if you run for President, the same advice goes for you, too. Hire Mr. Bolden and put him in charge! Can you think of anyone with a greater motivation to keep you well protected?)

http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9780307382016&height=300&maxwidth=170 

“I’VE ALWAYS HAD FAITH IN JUSTICE”

CONVICTED SECRET SERVICE AGENT FINALLY TELLS HIS SIDE

 http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/books/856394,SHO-Books-chilit23.article#

 

If a novelist set out to rewrite Franz Kafka’s The Trial as a modern-day horror tale, it might read much like Abraham Bolden’s The Echo From Dealey Plaza.

Kafka’s character Josef K. is tried by some faceless bureaucracy but never learns why he is on trial. He maintains his innocence. 

The Chicago lawman forfeited a promising career, spending three years and nine months in prison. He felt the crushing weight of a bureaucracy fighting to save itself after JFK’s assassination.

Just 28 years old when Kennedy was killed in 1963, Bolden is now telling his story at age 73. Speaking by phone from his South Side home, Bolden shows no bitterness or disillusionment. That’s a testament to his unbending faith and indomitable spirit.

“I’ve always had faith in the American system of justice,” he explains. “I spent a great deal of time in police work, where I came to believe if a person sticks to the truth and continues to seek justice, somewhere along the line that justice is going to prevail.”

Bolden’s problems began the day he arrived in Washington in 1961 for his White House assignment. He describes a month of harassment and bigotry at the hands of the good old boys on Kennedy’s detail, some of whom he says drank heavily, chased women and were lax in following procedures. Although JFK showed him special kindness, he couldn’t wait to get back to Chicago and his family, and turned down any permanent Washington post.

Later, when Kennedy was assassinated, Bolden’s warnings to his superiors became a threat to the agency. He doesn’t believe his presence in Dallas would have prevented the slaying. But the Secret Service dropped the ball after learning of assassination plots in Chicago and Miami that might have led to beefed-up security in Dallas, he says.

“If I had stayed there [with Kennedy], my very life would have been in danger,” he says. “After my run-in with [senior agent] Harvey Henderson where he denigrated my race . . . we all carried guns, and accidents do happen — and yes, you could put ‘accidents’ in quotes.”

When the agency brought charges against Bolden, he was in Washington on a training assignment and was flown back to Chicago, where he says he was forced to take a Secret Service-administered polygraph exam. His superiors questioned him about a phone call he had placed to the White House switchboard in which he had asked about giving information to Warren Commission general counsel J. Lee Rankin.

The Bolden case made front-page news, and the next day he went public with his criticism of the agency’s Kennedy detail. That led to a more vigorous prosecution, he says, admitting he should have handled things differently.

“I would have done it in a different venue,” he says. “What I should have done was resign my position as a Secret Service agent. That would have been difficult to do because I was a family man and had no other job to go to. The best avenue would have been to resign and come to people like . . . newspaper reporters. Going to the chief and so-called bad-mouthing them at meetings was not the best way to do it. I became known as not a team player.”

If there’s a villain in Bolden’s story, it’s U.S. District Judge Joseph Sam Perry, who presided over both trials. Perry, Bolden writes, browbeat the holdout juror in an 11-1 vote for conviction at the first trial, telling her that Bolden was guilty. During the retrial, Perry seated an all-white jury, then closed the courtroom to the defense and media while he charged the jury. After Bolden was convicted, one of his two accusers admitted at his own counterfeiting trial, also before Perry, that the prosecutor had told him to lie at Bolden’s trial. Instead of causing a mistrial or a reversed verdict when the prosecutor took the Fifth Amendment about suborning perjury, higher courts ruled there was insufficient cause to retry Bolden. Still, the former agent lets Perry off the hook.

“What he was doing was making sure that the mandates from the higher-ups were carried out,” he explains. “He was influenced by people who were far above him who said, ‘Bolden’s got to go.’ The conspiracy was formulated in Washington, D.C., itself. After Oswald was assassinated, the sole purpose of the Secret Service was to save itself.”

When the prison bars slammed shut, Bolden’s real nightmare began. He landed in a psychiatric ward, kept in isolation and heavily drugged. Then he experienced two vivid, prophetic visions for which he has no explanation.

“I think about it even today,” he says. “It was not something I expected or conjured up by doing anything special. They just seemed to come. When I had the first one in [the psych ward], I thought I was going nuts. I became afraid that something had happened to me mentally. I was doing everything I could to maintain my mental balance while I was near those psychiatric patients who were screaming and being beaten. Had not that event of the fire [in an adjoining cell] freed me the next morning, I probably would have ignored it as a dream or something.”

He finally left prison in September 1969 as an unemployed parolee, then rebuilt his life. He worked for 15 years in quality control consulting with machining companies.

Now retired and widowed from Barbara, his tower of strength through the darkest hours, Bolden says he’s telling his story out of obligation to Kennedy — and because it’s what Barbara wanted.

“Right now today, I tell you, sometimes it’s difficult to relive the chapters in that book. They’re very emotional to me. It affects my life in that in taking my case to the public, I feel somewhat relieved. I’ve carried out my charge and my duty to President Kennedy, who entrusted me with his life. I owed that to President Kennedy to bring forth the facts I have surrounding his death. It helps to pay that debt.

“The American people deserve to know the truth about the tragic day of Nov. 22, 1963. I know it’s a very optimistic statement, but I really believe the truth is going to come out.”

THE ECHO FROM DEALEY PLAZA

By Abraham Bolden

Harmony, 320 pages, $25.95

Jeff Johnson is a copy editor in the Sun-Times features department.

New JFK Assassination Evidence “Found” in Dallas

18 Feb

President Kennedy in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963

(Moments before the tragedy, the President, Mrs. Kennedy, and Texas first lady Nellie Connolly are all smiles. Governor John Connally looks surprisingly somber as the motorcade makes its’ way towards Dealey Plaza. November 22, 1963)

15 BOXES OF FILES MAY PROVIDE NEW CLUES FOR RESEARCHERS

In a peculiar President’s Day present to historians, The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has announced the discovery of a trove of documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Locked away in a man-size safe for 44 years, these rare documents and artifacts (which reportedly include Jack Ruby’s gun holster and the clothing Oswald wore when he was shot) were kept secret from the public for decades — although their existence was certainly no secret to every Dallas County D.A. since 1963.

Among the documents is an alleged transcript of a conversation between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, planning the assassination together on behalf of the Mafia. This document has aroused the greatest amount of interest but has also been described as “highly suspect” and immediately dismissed as either a fake or a possible movie script.

Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins explained at a news conference today that the documents were “found” in a safe about a year ago — soon after he took office — and that his staff have been examining and cataloging them ever since. Previous DA’s had decided not to reveal the information, but Watkins said his administration is devoted to openness and felt it was “too important to keep secret.”

“It will open up the debate as to whether there was a conspiracy to assassinate the president,” Watkins stated.

Dallas D.A. Watkins' News conference, Feb. 18, 2008

(Watkins, elected in 2006, is the first African-American D.A. in Dallas history.)

Ruby, the owner of a Dallas burlesque club, shot Oswald while he was in police custody two days after the November 22, 1963 assassination. The transcript has Oswald telling Ruby, “the [Mafia] boys in Chicago want to get rid of the Attorney General [Robert Kennedy]. … There is a way to get rid of him without killing him. … I can shoot his brother.”

Gary Mack, curator of the 6th Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza has pointed out that Oswald is known to have been elsewhere on October 4, the alleged date of the alleged conversation.

The transcript resembles one published in a report by the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy’s assassination and determined that Oswald was the lone gunman. The FBI determined that conversation – again between Oswald and Ruby, but this time about killing the governor – was definitely fake.

Mr. Mack suggested that the transcript in the Warren Commission report was probably used as a model for the one found in the district attorney’s safe.

The conversation published in the commission report was a fake account of a conversation between Ruby and Oswald on the same night at the Carousel Club. A now-deceased Dallas attorney “re-created” the conversation after Kennedy’s assassination for authorities after he claimed he recognized Oswald in a newspaper photo as the man he saw talking to Ruby that night.

“The fact that it’s sitting in Henry Wade’s file, and he didn’t do anything, indicates he thought it wasn’t worth anything,” Mr. Mack said of the newly found transcript. “He probably kept it because it was funny. It’s hilarious. It’s like a bad B movie.”

IS THE TRANSCRIPT BOGUS OR EVIDENCE WITHHELD FROM TRIAL?

William J. Alexander, the only surviving prosecutor from Ruby’s trial for killing Oswald in the days after Kennedy’s assassination, told the district attorney’s office he’d never seen the Ruby-Oswald transcript. But it’s labeled with a sticker that says, “Plaintiff’s Exhibit 27.” Typically, exhibits for criminal trials are marked as state’s exhibits or defense exhibits.

The DA’s office said Mr. Alexander, who rarely talks about the Ruby trial, declined to be interviewed.

While the two-page transcript is most likely fake, District Attorney Watkins says he’s never believed Oswald acted alone.

“You know me: I’m always a conspiracy theorist,” Mr. Watkins said. “It was too simple of an explanation. I don’t see that.”

COUNTDOWN IN DALLAS

The safe also contained a 1967 million-dollar contract with the then-district attorney Henry Wade for a movie about the assassination, and the DA’s assistant has suggested that the Ruby/Oswald “transcript” was part of a proposed movie script.

The film, tentatively titled Countdown In Dallas, never went into production. But the timing of the film’s making is certainly curious.

By 1967, a large segment of the American public had openly expressed disdain for the conclusions of the Warren Commission. Several books suggesting a conspiracy were already on the shelves, and most importantly – New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was at that very moment bringing murder charges against Clay Shaw for the murder of President Kennedy, the only such court case in history.

As all this concurrent activity was brewing, the need for a big-budget Hollywood film to refute the charges of conspiracy seems more than plausible; something to placate the general public and put their concerns to rest once and for all.

While many suspected that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby knew one another, the “transcript” of thier alleged October 4 conversation would have been quite helpful in pursuading the people that although there was some advance conspiratorial planning between the two men, Oswald ultimately was the lone assassin.

The suspect transcript/movie script notwithstanding, perhaps the real hidden treasure within these 15 newly-released boxes is yet to be found. Once the documents are fully opened to researchers (which Dallas officials tell us will be soon), it will be fascinating to see what, if any, previously undiscovered evidence in the case may come to light.

We’ll keep you posted.

(Click here for video of the Dallas D.A.’s press conference from earlier today.)

Copyright RFKin2008.com.