Dr. Robert McClelland, the surgeon who oversaw the effort to save President Kennedy’s life in 1963, died earlier this month at age 89. In his interviews, you sense a man of considerable dignity, humility, and integrity. It comes as no surprise that he self-published an anthology of writings on surgery to which thousands of doctors subscribed. He was both a teacher and doctor, an instructor and a healer. And it is those qualities that make McClelland one of the most important witnesses to JFK’s assassination.
In 1963, McClelland was 34 years old. He had just become the chief of surgery at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital. When the mortally wounded JFK was brought to Trauma Room One, McClelland stood over the dying president and participated in the efforts to save him. He observed the president’s fatal head wound for about 10 minutes from a distance of less than two feet.
“My God,” he recalled saying to his colleagues. “Have you seen the back of his head. There’s a wound in the back of his head that’s about five inches in diameter.”
One perennial question people have about the JFK story is, Who do you believe? One credible witness is a man named Bill Newman. He was there, about 15 feet from JFK, when the gunfire rang out. His testimony is important.
I’ve added a version of this poignant Dealey Plaza picture to the JFK Facts banner because I’d never really noticed its telling detail: a dozen African-Americans cheering the arrival of President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie in Dallas. Read more
Readers who are new to the JFK assassination story (and those who aren’t) may want a dispassionate presentation of the evidence about the fatal gunfire before they decide what they think. If so, read on. Read more
This morning I was swimming in the warm liberal bath that is the daily Washington Post. I was thoroughly enjoying Dana Milbank’s take down of Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity. Milbank was demolishing Hannity’s foolish claim that fellow gasbag Glenn Beck could “go to jail” for criticizing former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. (One of the few pleasures of the 2016 presidential campaign is watching these jackasses bicker among themselves.)
Milbank quoted Beck’s unusually astute interpretation of the 1rst Amendment.
“That’s my point,” Beck replied, adding: “Donald Trump has people chanting, ‘Put them in jail, put them in jail,’ about the press. When is someone’s opinion on a public figure something that is jail-worthy and not First Amendment protected?”
“Such a question,” Milbank went on, “might have troubled Hannity during those occasions when he fancied himself a journalist over the years. Instead, he has gone full Grassy Knoll, in a manner reminiscent of Beck…”
This photograph, courtesy of Duncan MacDonald, taken several minutes after President Kennedy was shot to death, shows a crowd of people, including newsman RobertMacNeil (later host of MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour), rushing to look at the railroad tracks and parking lot overlooking the motorcade route on November 22, 1963.
There is no disputing that they rushed to that area, known as “the grassy knoll,” because they thought one of the gunshots had come from there. No gunman was ever found there.