… when you are told you have been charged with killing the president of the United States of America.
In response to my question on Wednesday, a reader sent this video. (H/T David)
Yes. It happened on September 20, 1963, according to History.com. It is one of the lesser known but more important events in the last months of President Kennedy’s life and presidency.
In the fall of 1963, JFK was on a political roll. His approval ratings had climbed. He had overcome the grumbling of the Pentagon and all but secured Senate ratification of the popular Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning nuclear explosions in space. Then he went to New York to say something daring.
A new book, Two Days in June, calls attention to the JFK’s supremely important and still relevant speech at American University on June 10, 1963, in which he asked Americans to rethink ‘peace.’
“Everything is changed. Everything is going to change. The United States occupies such a position in world affairs that the death of a President of that country affects millions of people in every corner of the globe. The cold war, relations with Russia, Latin America, Cuba, the Negro question… all will have to be rethought. I’ll tell you one thing: at least Kennedy was an enemy to whom we had become accustomed. This is a serious matter, an extremely serious matter.”
“… one of the most zealous of the anti-Communist crusaders who turned the agency into an enormous, squid-like meddler in global affairs.”
via Luke Menand in the New Yorker: “When the Cold War Made Georgetown Hot.”
“Former WFAA-Radio Program Director Pierce Allman had no assignment to cover President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963. At the last minute, Allman decided to walk to nearby Dealey Plaza to see the presidential motorcade. Read more
The Warren Commission didn’t get scared if Fidel Castro because of Lyndon B. Johnson’s chilling warning to Chief Justice Earl Warren about rumors that “if not quenched, could conceivably lead the country into a war which could cost 40 million lives.” Read more
JFK was the Jack of Hearts, First Lady Jackie the Queen of Hearts, and Bobby Kennedy, the King of Diamonds.
“Long live the King, Queen and Jack,” proclaimed an informational card that came with the deck.
Within the year, the Jack of Clubs, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, would be president. Read more
▶ Lee H. Oswald debates the Cuba issue with anti-communist activist Ed Butler, and anti-Castro militant Carlos Bringuier of Cuban Student Directorate (DRE)
The young Bill Clinton shook President Kennedy’s hand on July 24, 1963.
On January 17, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote to J. Lee Rankin, the general counsel of the Warren Commission, on the evidence compiled as Commission Document 295: four letters postmarked in Havana that suggested or alleged that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a contract killing undertaken by Lee Harvey Oswald under the direction of an agent for Fidel Castro named Pedro Charles.
Hoover concluded it was “some type of hoax, possibly on the part of some anti-Castro group,” since the FBI Crime Lab found that the same Remington No. 10 typewriter had been used to prepare all four letters:
President Kennedy’s growth as a leader in June 1963 is a key to understanding his life and death.
As Arms Control Today documented last year, JFK’s June 10 speech at American University would influence the arms control vision all of the U.S. presidents who followed him. And as this New York Times column notes, his often-overlooked nationally televised address on June 11, 1963, signaled his evolution as a civil rights leader.
President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC 51 years ago today represented the high point of his efforts to wind down the Cold War. His vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.
A faithful reader sent a link to a telling new story about the CIA in Miami in the 1960s when the presence of one of the largest CIA stations in the world was an open secret — yet officially unknown.