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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

John F. Kennedy, General Edwin Walker, Lee Harvey Oswald and Me

I BELIEVE THE  PHOTO TO THE LEFT OF GENERAL WALKER, THE ONE OF THE LEFT, WAS TAKEN IN FRONT OF LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL DURING IT'S DESEGREGATION IN 1957. WALKER WAS IN COMMAND OF THOSE FEDERAL TROOPS THAT ENFORCED THE DESEGREGATION ORDER.
 
Next month Nov. 22nd will be the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination in Dallas, TX.  So I'm reposting an earlier post.
 
In the fall of 1964 I was attending a very small private college in Brookhaven, Mississippi (Whitworth College). The school a very old college dated back to the Elizabeth Female Academy in the 1800's. It only had about 30 students at that time and not too many years after my graduation in 1965 would close its doors forever. That fall in 1964, I was a young man recently out of the military and in my third year. I was loaded up with political science courses and my favorite professor, Dr Caskey, was an old man who had taught for many years at Mississippi College in the Jackson area. He retired from there because of his age, but like many older people couldn't stay away from his chosen profession--teaching. So he took a position at the then struggling school, Whitworth College, where I first met him. The old man had many political connections and for some unknown reason took a liking to me and my parents who lived in Brookhaven. I could go on with many details of this relationship, but to shorten this story I'll quickly get to the point. Dr. Caskey was a close personal friend of Governor Ross Barnett and it was through this connection that General Walker was invited to speak at our campus as small as it was.

I remember the night clearly, as if it were yesterday. The auditorium, a large building that still stands near the center of Brookhaven was only sparsely populated that evening when General Walker, Former Governor Ross Barnett and Dr. Caskey entered thought a side door and ascended to the stage. Dr. Caskey introduced the Governor and the Governor then introduced General Walker---the applause was polite, but not deafening. Walker spoke for some time and I remember only bits and pieces of the actual text. It was primarily about the threat of communism and what he saw as a communist leaning media and communist in high places in the government. After the speech I was honored with a personal introduction to the Governor and to General Walker and was filled with youthful pride when Dr Caskey referred to me as his best student. And then I shook the hand of this great "Right Wing Extremist", Major General Edwin Walker. A man who, just a little over a year earlier had been in the cross-hairs of Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald fired a single shot at the general with the same weapon he would later kill President Kennedy with, missing only because the bullet was deflected by the wooden frame of the window.

It was indeed ironic that the man who was relieved of his command as commander of the 24th Infantry Division in Germany in 1961, and then reassigned to a somewhat obscure post in Hawaii, would be targeted by Lee Harvey Oswald just a month or so before killing Kennedy.

I haven't thought about this meeting for many years, but this evening while driving by the old campus that day suddenly came into focus again, so decided to share it with my readers.

Several more points before I close this story. While thinking about those now distant events I recall hearing about the assassination attempt on General Walker who was at that time a target of the major networks--only three at that time NBC, CBS and ABC, those were the MSM of the day for that's about all their was. But back to the point I was making. The reports coming over the evening news implied that General Walker probably staged the event in order to draw more attention to himself. This line of thinking and reporting by the MSM was common even back then. On the day of the Kennedy assassination, one of the first things to come across from the network news, while the fate of Kennedy was still unknown, was a comment made by one of the commenter's on the major networks and I remember it clearly, "Dallas has been a hotbed of "right wing activity". Plainly pointing the finger at those like General Walker and the groups associated with him. Of course, when it was learned that Oswald was a committed communist all talk of the right wing conspiracy vanished. A left wing or communist conspiracy idea however never was mentioned. A shudder to think what would have happened if Osward had been a member of some right wing group. But those groups who Oswald associated with were seldom mentioned and the lone gunman story prevailed and that story was adopted by the Warren Commission and the MSM who drove public opinion in those days. Walker continued to be a target of the MSM of that day for a number of years, much as Ted Cruz and the Tea Party is today. This was the state of the news in the early and mid 1960's sadly things haven't changed much and the MSM still continues its attacks on those it sees as a threat to their way of thinking, but happily today we do have FOX News and talk radio. Neither of those two existed at that time, so I suppose things have changed to some degree.

On a sunny day in Dallas, Texas, at the end of a campaign trip, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is assassinated by an angry, lonely drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes briefly, but is hunted down, captured, and then shot dead while in police custody. Kennedy's Last Days is a gripping account of the events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century. Author Bill O’Reilly vividly describes the Kennedy family’s life in the public eye, the crises facing the president around the world and at home, the nation’s growing fascination with their vigorous, youthful president, and finally, the shocking events leading up to his demise. Adapted from Bill O’Reilly’s best-selling historical thriller Killing Kennedy, with an unforgettable cast of characters, page-turning action, and art on every spread, Kennedy’s Last Days is history that reads like a thriller. This exciting book will captivate adults and young readers alike.

DIDN'T FIND WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR, THEN PLEASE VISIT MY HOME PAGE AND USE THE AMAZON SEARCH WIDGET.  THANKS FOR SHOPPING AT AMAZON AND A SPECIAL THANKS FOR VISITING MY LITTLE SITE.
RON RUSSELL

2 comments:

Sandee said...

It's much harder to vilify the right and the tea party. We do have news outlets that weren't there back then. They are far more popular too. They work at it, but the are such nut jobs that it's ridiculous.

Have a terrific day. ☺

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

The truth is relative?