Thursday, November 14, 2013

That Year

The programs are starting.  Small nightly pieces in the national news and major documentaries on everything from Public Broadcasting to CNN.  I can't even imagine what Faux News will do.  It's the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.  Time to re-set the conspiracy theories, the shortcomings of the Warren Report, and complete the "where were you when" statements.
One think I've noticed is that every year there are fewer and fewer people who recall the moment.  That's natural, but I did see an interview with the Dallas cop that was escorting Lee Harvey Oswald when he was intercepted and killed by Jack Ruby.  The guy looks great for his age and even admitted he gave little thought to the fact that people would remember him or the event they way they do 50 years later.
I'm in the process of recalling that day as best I can.  In doing so, I've begun to look at the year 1963 itself.  What jumps out for me so far is how many remarkably significant things preceded the actual assassination itself in that pivotal year.  Many crucial events in the Civil Rights movement from the assassination of Medgar Evers to the Birmingham Church bombings and death of those 3 little girls.  There was a young man, too that year who began to get some airplay for a song that rose to number 1 in England.  A timely little ballad called "The Times are Changin'" brought Bob Dylan's name to the lips of man 16 year old kids who wanted a bit of relief from the British Invasion that so captivated the mass media.  Dylan's second album came out in 1963 as well.  "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," with it's iconic picture of Bob and Susie Rotolo walking in the New York snow.  That VW micro bus in the background did not go unnoticed.  Before the end of that tumultuous decade, I too would walk those streets having arrived on the East Coast in a similar van.

By then Kennedy was long gone, and with him most of our illusions about what this country was all about.  Though we looked for answers, and still do, the only one was, as Dylan noted, "Blowin' in the Wind.  Still is I guess.
---More to follow---

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