JFK on Memorial Day: a Memoir

Green Beret on JFK’s grave (Credit: Louis Jarvis)

These memories of Memorial Day come from reader, Louis Jarvis.

In a private meeting several months after the Bay of Pigs, General Douglas MacArthur had warned JFK: The chickens are coming home to roost and you are living in the chicken house.


The Devil’s ChessboardAllen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government  (Kirkus Reviews  August 2015)
Former Salon founding editor-in-chief David Talbot shares his extensive knowledge and intense investigations of American politics with a frightening biography of power, manipulation, and outright treason.. Washington, D.C., regulars may know some of this information, and foreign nations certainly do, but all engaged American citizens should read this book and have their eyes opened.


By Louis K. Jarvis

Many no longer mark this anniversary, in large part due to the corruption of the Failed Estate. How many people have heard of George Joannides or of Jefferson Morley’s futile efforts to uncover the treason embodied by Joannides, E. Howard Hunt and the other assassins of Operation 40? Few, although it is true that somewhere between 70% and 90% of the American people remain convinced a conspiracy took President Kennedy’s life. As for the other 10-30%, I’m in Colorado but am aware of the celebrations going on in Little Havana in Miami today. Our freedom-fighters against Fidel certainly don’t forget this day; for them, it’s to be celebrated as much as Christmas.


I took this picture on Sunday, September 27th 1964; coincidentally, the day the Warren Commission Report was published. My family had returned in August from Okinawa, where my father had been Operations Officer of the Pacific Command Counterinsurgency School, C Company Commander of the 1st Special Forces Group, and then organizer and Support Battalion Commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. (In April 1962 he had graduated 3rd in his class of 77 American and 23 Allied officers at the Unconventional Warfare School at Ft. Bragg, so it’s fair to say he excelled at whatever assignment he was given). While at the CIA’s PCCS, he secretly trained soldiers and guerrillas from all over Asia, including the Khampas infiltrated back into Tibet to fight the PLA. He was also training and sending Green Berets to their deaths in Vietnam and Laos.

My father joined Special Forces because of his great admiration for President Kennedy; after the Bay of Pigs the president appealed for volunteers to Special Forces and my father did so immediately. He had been an artillery forward observer in Patton’s 3rd Army and a liberator of Dachau; he then  fought in Korea as a member of the ultra-secret Special Operations Division of the Army Chemical Corps (working with Col. Jacquard Hirschhorn Rothschild).

My father’s sense of duty, honor, country was unsurpassed. On a first visit to Arlington soon after arriving from Okinawa, some of my family visited President Kennedy’s grave and my father was upset to discover there was no green beret along with the other service hats; perhaps he suspected it had to do with on-going opposition to the beret in the Army and JCS. He decided to return to the grave wearing his beret and all his medal ribbons on his blouse, an impressive collection from combat in two wars (which would be added to in Vietnam in ’68-’69).

Approaching the young honor guard on duty inside the fence, my father asked for permission to put his beret on the grave. The crowd of several dozen visitors knew they were witnessing something extraordinary when the guard snapped to attention, barked “Yes, SIR,” and opened the gate for my father to come inside. His beret is at “8 o’clock” near the flame; I wish I’d taken the photo at the moment he placed it but I was standing still as everyone else.


My father never returned to the grave to see if his beret was removed by irate higher-ups, but for the few hours, days, or weeks it was there, it was a prophecy of what at last is to come. As Shakespeare wrote, “Time’s glory is to calm contending kings, to unmask falsehood and bring truth to light.” The truth concerning the murder of President Kennedy is finally going to emerge and no power on earth can prevent it.


The outcome of our future will be determined by hidden secrets from the past.


All that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”Luke  8:17

2 comments

  1. Russ Tarby says:

    very moving…congratulations to your dad, and to the responsive young guard, and to you, Lou, for snapping the photo and sharing the story. thanks!

  2. robert e williamson jr says:

    Thank you for sharing this moment with others.

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