11-22-63 Remember and Reflect
Even if you were not alive in 1963 or you were too young to remember that day, listen to the voices of those who were there.
Anywhere in the entire country. The whole country felt the shock. And the grief.
“Presidential assassinations leave a deep scar on our collective memory and consciousness as a nation.”
This quote comes from a 1993 book published by Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, TX, which included surgical details of the injuries sustained from gunshot wounds to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.
Anyone who remembers that day will remember where they were, what they were doing as well as what came next.
Two days after President Kennedy died on November 22, 1963, presumed guilty and assumed to be the lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald was shot inside a Dallas city jail by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
My brother-in-law, David, was there.
There at Love Field when President and Mrs. Kennedy arrived in Dallas.
There on Market Street near the viaduct where he and his friends expected the motorcade to slow down at the corner but instead saw the vehicles speed past.
There at Parkland Hospital where the open-top limousine brought the mortally wounded President of the United States of America.
David is referred to as “a primary data source.” He has since that day given official testimony, recording what he witnessed.
David was a high school senior, there in Dallas, TX with 3 friends who had also skipped school, permission granted by their “Problems of Democracy” teacher. They were there to research “Subversive Organizations in the U.S.”
Since that day, David has collected artifacts to display the significance of an experience no one wants to have to remember.
Dr. Robert McClelland
Dr. McClelland is one of six doctors who treated President Kennedy in the Parkland Hospital ER.
I was introduced to Dr. McClelland by my friends Dr. and Mrs. Royce Laycock.
Both doctors worked together at Parkland, sustaining lengthy careers both as physicians and teachers at Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Laycock loaned me his copy of the book titled, Surgery, another primary data source.
Dr. McClelland shared his story with me a few years ago of events that happened 2 days after his 34th birthday. He said that he and the other doctors in Trauma Room 1 “found themselves in the midst of a battle, in an undeclared war, treating the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America.”
Only 25 minutes transpired in the ER. President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. CST.
Dr. McClelland says, at the time, he no idea what had happened at Dealey Plaza, downtown Dallas. Instead, he speaks as a witness and participant in medical procedures and of intimate details when a priest and Mrs. Kennedy entered that room after the president expired.
The President’s Blood
David and Dr. McClelland have preserved artifacts from that historic date.
David reached into the limousine outside the hospital ER and kept one of the roses that Jackie Kennedy had been given upon her arrival in Dallas.
Dr. McClelland has the shirt he wore that day, blood-stained and yellowed with age.
Mac, as he is called by friends and colleagues, said he remembered seeing in a museum an article of clothing preserved that had President Lincoln’s blood on it.
Conspiracy Theories and Beyond: Who done it?
Why won’t the Warren Commission open the records sealed more than 50 years ago?
Did Oswald act alone? If so, how is it that he was arrested so quickly, located in a city the size of Dallas, sitting in a movie theater?
Another doctor at Parkland Hospital that day, the medical examiner Dr. Earl Rose, was not permitted to perform the legally required autopsy on President Kennedy.
Instead, Kennedy’s body was transported inside Air Force One, returning 1500 miles to Bethesda, MD just 90 minutes after the President was shot.
Dr. Rose added to his testimony.
“The law was broken,” Dr. Rose says, “and it’s very disquieting to me to sacrifice the law as it exists for any individual, including the President … Silence and concealment are the mother’s milk of conspiracy theories.”
Further, Dr. Rose believes that the removal of the body was the first step in creating disbelief about what happened.
I don’t know either
Bob Schieffer on CBS News said, “Nobody knew what this meant.” This meaning the murder of our President.
To many, President Kennedy’s death meant the end of innocence. The end of idealism. The end of trusting the government because the government did not trust the people with the truth.