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Jess Harris

Jess Harris

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The day John Kennedy was shot I was in a 7th grade classroom in Arlington VA. Unlike today, northern Virginia was generally conservative; but very few people expressed anything but sadness or anger about his assassination. My own parents didn't like JFK but they were shocked and horrified.

As in Dallas, there was no escaping what had happened. On Sunday my mother uncharacteristically brought my brothers and me to DC to stand vigil as the casket was moved from the White House to the Capitol. In that short distance, in the bitter cold, there were thousands of others with us. The line to file past the casket would remain long throughout that freezing night. As we stood waiting for the caisson to pass by, someone who had been listening to his transistor radio announced suddenly that Lee Harvey Oswald had been shot. My mother started to say something and then abruptly shut her mouth.

Years later she told me she had assumed, since LHO was arrested so quickly, that he had been a known threat; she was angry that no one had acted before the assassination to prevent this 'known threat' from killing the president. It was when he was suddenly silenced on that Sunday that she realized there was much more than we were being told. She considered the Warren Report contemptible.

That November 1963 weekend was the saddest one I can ever remember. Being so close to DC kept all of it in the forefront. It's impossible for me not to want to know more.

I'm not a researcher but I follow the discussions here nearly every day. I don't have much to contribute - but now and then I'd like to ask a question.

Edited by Jess Harris
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