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Jfk Assassination Essay, Research Paper


John Fitzgerald Kennedy, our nations 35th President, was assassinated on November 22, 1963. He died at the age of 46. He was the youngest man elected President and the youngest to die in office.

John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. He graduated from Harvard University in 1940 and entered into the United States Navy. In 1943 his boat was sank by a Japanese destroyer. He assumed command and led the survivors through the water to safety despite his serious injuries (John F. Kennedy: Thirty-Fifth President).

Returning from the war, he initiated his political career by becoming a Democratic Congressman. In time, he eventually moved his way up the political ladder to a Senate position by 1953. In 1960 he was running for President of the United States. In the popular vote, Kennedy won the election by a narrow margin and became our nations 35th President.

Only little over two and a half years in office, Kennedy was in Dallas on that fatal day to mend political fences between liberal and conservative Democrats (Livingstone, Groden 11). Some people believe that someone lured him to Dallas that day. And within that belief, there are several ?someone?s? that may apply. All depending entirely on whom you talk to. This is just one example of how so many theories have been formulated since the incident.

At the time of the assassination, President Kennedy was in his presidential limousine on Elm Street in Dallas, Texas, participating in a motorcade. The motorcade route was lined with hundreds of spectators, all anticipating the arrival of the President.

Witnesses say that they heard three shots fired and that they or some of them came from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building and throughout Dealey Plaza. Many of the onlookers captured the tragic moment on film, but one particular person provided the cleanest footage. An amateur photographer Abraham Zapruder caught on his 8mm camera the entire assassination as it unraveled. His film depicts that the first shot did not hit the President. However, the second shot that was fired struck the President in the throat. Another shot then struck Kennedy in the back.

Meanwhile, Governor Connally, who was riding in the front passenger seat of Kennedy?s limousine heard the shots and first turned around to his right to try to see what was happening to the President. Then Connally started to turn to his left, but was stopped by a bullet in his back near the right armpit. The bullet nearly killed him as it went through his back and came out his right nipple. This bullet was dubbed the ?Magic bullet? according to single bullet theorists. Supposedly, the bullet that struck Connally was also the same bullet that initially struck Kennedy in the back.

Finally, two fatal shots struck the President in the head. One of the shots came from the front, and the other from the back. Which contradicts the report of a single gunman. Six-tenths of a second later, another bullet smashed Governor Connally?s wrist, and entered his thigh (Livingston, Groden 14). Whether it was a different bullet or the ?magic? bullet is another piece of the puzzle.

It seems strange that there are all these ?key? eyewitnesses that say they heard three shots. And Zapruder has raw footage the show more than that. Furthermore, how can three shots cause five wounds? The list of possibilities goes on and on, contributing to the mystery of this whole ordeal.

The President was rushed to Parkland Hospital but was pronounced dead at 1 o?clock p.m.

Shortly after the slaying, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and charged with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was booked, finger printed and questioned. He maintained he was a ?patsy?, meaning that he was set up or framed.

Harvey, who had ties with Russia, was shot in the interior corridor of the jail in plain view two days after he assassination by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner (Prosner 357). Again, your talking shady business as to how he reached Harvey with gun in hand yet undetected or questioned.

Many believe that Oswald was killed to prevent him from spilling information to authorities. But the question comes up why Ruby waited two days to kill him if this theory holds validity. And, since Ruby had ties with the Mafia, they too became targets for a possible conspiracy to assassinate the President. And still the mystery grows.

The public was shocked. JFK was a highly thought of President, and his death brought up many mixed emotions. Shirley Yoder recalls feeling, ?Sad and afraid for our lives.? At the time of the assassination, she was on her senior class trip touring the White House. The Cold War was at its height, and many believed that Kennedy?s assassination was the beginning of a plot to overthrow the U.S. government. Since she was in Washington at the time, she was afraid that, ?We were in a prime spot for possible Russian missile attacks.?

Since Kennedy was only the forth President to be assassinated, the American government handled the situation well. There was a very swift transfer of power. Lydon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president only 99 minutes after JFK?s pronounced death (Wicker). His swearing in took place in a small room onboard the President?s airplane.

However, there is a lot of controversy as to the investigation of the assassination. The Warren Commission was released to the public, it stated that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the killing. Some believe that this is the most outrageous of all the theories. But many people feel that the public was left out of the investigation. Ronald Yoder recalls the Warren Commission being, ?To secret, providing only a brief answer to satisfy the public.?

Still today, the actual truth behind what happened that morning in Dallas is unclear. There are so many conflicting eyewitness accounts and facts that only add to the mystery as a whole. This is mainly why John Fitzgerald Kennedy?s assassination is perhaps the most controversial assassination in the history of the United States. Even today, new evidence is being uncovered or released. As a nation, we are far from totally understanding what truly happened that dreary day in November, 1963.

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