50 years later, John F. Kennedy still remembered, death remains topic of debate


The Evening Star front page, announcing the death of JFK.
Courtesy of the Evening Star.

By Connor Cavanaugh

It was 50 years ago today that our country stood still, listening to Walter Cronkite announce, “President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time. 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.”

The images of John Jr. saluting his father’s coffin, and Lyndon Johnson being sworn in will forever be ingrained in American history.

“Everyone who was alive at that time remembers [Kennedy’s death] very clearly,” said Martin Fowler, Lecturer of Philosophy at Elon University.

Throughout the day, there will be many tributes to John F. Kennedy across the country, celebrating his life and service to the country. One such commemoration at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, where the president was shot, will feature historian David McCullough, who is a frequent speaker at Elon University. McCullough will be reading from Kennedy’s speeches while religious leaders will offer prayers.

Still troubling to America is just how Kennedy died. It is still unclear in many people’s minds whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting the president, or if there were others involved in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy.

A recent Gallup poll indicates that 61 percent of Americans still believe others were involved in Kennedy’s death, and only 30 percent believe is was just one man.

“It was totally a conspiracy,” said Clark Helman, an Elon Junior. “There were over 100,000 windows that were unchecked along the motorcade route, and JFK was allowed to take the bubble off of the limo. None of that would have happened without a conspiracy.”

This goes against the findings of the Warren Commission, which was created a week after the presidents death and one year later, published an 888-page report concluding with certainty that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

“When terribly traumatic, public events occur, people want to think they can understand it,” said Fowler.
“Conspiracy theories support that because people need to make sense out of something senseless.”


Courtesy of Gallup.

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