Qioptiq logo Raytheon Global MilSatCom


18 Nov 13. Those of us old enough to remember the shock, sadness and despair of how we felt on first hearing of the great American tragedy that occurred in Dallas, Texas on the 22nd of November 1963. On that day John F Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America lost his life at the age of 46 to the assassin’s bullet.
The world is by now well used to meeting tragedy but I venture to suggest that America wasn’t back then. In the years that followed what I have termed the great American tragedy this vast nation was to suffer more than its fair share of further tragedy. One immediately thinks of the assassination a few years later of Martin Luther King, an event in itself that was to leave the world with a terrible impression of modern day America.
But for those of us that watched almost in what today would be called real time the death of John F. Kennedy and the drama that was to follow in its wake as a shocked nation attempted to mourn is something we will never forget. No matter how one viewed the Kennedy politics and however history would later view his part in the affairs of state I believe that his untimely passing will be remembered by future generations for how it played a part in breaking down the barriers of trust between people and their politicians.
How John F Kennedy rated as president having been in office for just two years, ten months and two days matters less than the fact that to the people of America he was loved. American’s don’t usually ‘love’ their presidents at least until after they are dead but in the case of JFK and perhaps one other president that springs to mind, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, respect and appreciation in office somehow turned to something far greater than that.
JFK was human like the rest of us but despite a great many faults he had the ability within his public offerings, many crafted by his own hand as opposed to the trend today that politicians merely deliver what is written for them, to motivate and in terms of geo-political affairs to draw people closer to him. He was then in terms of a great nation to be considered a great leader and a man for the time.
The shock of Kennedy’s assassination was so deep and penetrating to those of us that witnessed the newsreels that at first there was just nothing that one could say. America was horrified as it was deeply shocked at what it witnessed on its television screens as the 35th president lay mortally wounded through an assassin’s bullet. The world was equally horrified just as it was saddened and somehow we all felt as guilty for what had occurred as we equally felt vulnerable to the uncertainty that would of necessity unfold from this tragic event.
John F Kennedy had gone and it seemed that with his untimely departure had also gone the values of a whole society. We knew all too well of the failings but with the special relationship we trusted that what America would do would also be in our best interests. In John F Kennedy we had a man that we could equally well trust and love just as they did.
The perfect society that we had all somehow imagined that America was had it seemed in the space of less a minute been destroyed almost in front of our very eyes. How sad we were, how melancholy and how bitter at this and at how subsequent events would then turn out. Whether or not you wish to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for killing John F. Kennedy is not for reference here. There was to be no trial for the man who was held as Kennedy’s killer because at the same time that Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline was kissing the coffin the accused, Lee Harvey Oswald, was himself lying mortally wounded in the very same hospital that Kennedy had been.
As the tragedy unfolded it seems that lynch law had taken an ugly hand. The self appointed executioner of Kennedy’s assassin who denied the charge of killing Oswald claiming that he acted out of patriotism was found guilty, appealed against the death sentence and was

Back to article list