On Friday, November 22, 1963, I was at our Kappa Sigma
fraternity house just off the New York University campus in the Bronx with several other
members. We were getting prepared for a Thanksgiving party the following evening. The
Modern Jazz Quartet was scheduled to appear on campus and there were numerous other campus
events scheduled. A little after noon, another member came in from the porch and said,
·gSomebody shot Kennedy.·h He·fd been listening to a radio.
We stopped what we were doing and gathered to listen to WNBC-AM. A voice, above
background commotion at Parkland Memorial Hospital, said Kennedy·fs wounds were serious.
Suddenly the broadcast went completely silent. I said, ·gHe·fs dead.·h
After a few more seconds, Chet Huntley broke the silence and said, ·gThe President of
The United States is dead.·h We were dumbfounded. Although two presidents, Warren G.
Harding and Franklin D. Roosevelt, had died in office, no president had been assassinated
since William McKinley in September 1901.
After the announcement, yet another fraternity member and I walked back to the campus.
We both said that we had chills running up and down our spines. We alerted everyone we saw
to the events.
It was so outside our realms of the possible that one student didn·ft believe me
despite my repeated insistence. Others did and gradually, numbers of us gathered around
cars to listen to radios and follow the developments. As we listened, one student remarked
that it was probably some communist who did it.
As the day wore on, details emerged. A man named Lee Harvey Oswald had also killed a
Dallas policeman, J. S. Tippit, and was arrested as the President·fs assassin. Lyndon B.
Johnson was sworn in as Kennedy·fs successor, a reality at which we all cringed. John F.
Kennedy was admired as a man of principle with Johnson despised as a master of
skullduggery. As it turned out, that was all too well proved by his presidency which began
another assault upon our personal freedoms and limited constitutional government.
One report cited Oswald as the man who had shot at Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker just six
months earlier. Walker had been on a highly visible campaign against communism. He had
ties to the John Birch Society, a new right wing group, that we·fd been warned were as
dangerous as communists by the establishment.
Lee Harvey Oswald, a former marine, had defected to the Soviet Union because of his
commitment to Marxism, so that student was correct. In June 1962, after 32 months, he
returned to The United States with his wife, Marina, and their daughter. There is disputed
evidence that in late September 1963, he journeyed to Mexico City to try to obtain a visa
at the Cuban Embassy to travel to either Cuba or perhaps return to the Soviet Union.
Just two days later, Oswald was shot to death by Jack Ruby, a local night club owner,
in the Dallas Police station, as he was being transferred to the county jail, in full view
of a national televison audience, a television first.
That Sunday morning, as the word came across the radio at my dormitory, another dorm
resident, an overbearing liberal, exclaimed he hoped it was a conservative who had done
it! Not horror at another senseless murder. This is the way leftists view history, as a
series of events to be exploited, witness Rahm Emanuel today.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration was infused with communists. Laughlin Carrie,
Harry Hopkins and Rexford Tugwell were but three very high ranking officials who
communists or sympathizers. Many stayed on when Harry Truman succeeded FDR.
Progressives always have insisted that there is nothing wrong with being a communist
but then rail when anyone is called one, an interesting internal contradiction. But to
keep progressivism respectable, an anti-communist Left was necessary. It came in the late
40s and early 50s and was typified by Hubert Humphrey, Adlai Stevenson and Joseph R.
McCarthy (yes, McCarthy, by his domestic record was a Republican progressive.)
But McCarthy committed the ultimate betrayal of the American anti-communist Left, he
acted it and became a pariah. Liberals succeeded in blaming him on the Right as they
always do with their irredeemable personnel such as Adolf Hitler, a socialist and icon for
progressives of the 1930s.
John and Robert Kennedy were avid McCarthyites. Robert had actually worked on
McCarthy·fs subcommittee, the source of his reputation for ruthlessness. Their support
for McCarthy nearly torpedoed John·fs presidential campaign in 1960 when an outraged
Eleanor Roosevelt tried to block his nomination by New York·fs Liberal Party (LP). Many
of McCarthy·fs targets were holdovers from her husband·fs administration. LP support was
often the difference in an election in New York. High level maneuvers by LP leaders
frustrated Eleanor·fs efforts. JFK secured the LP nomination and went on to win the