DEALEY PLAZA UK
The Research Group dedicated to the study of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
DPUK Commemorative Address on the 51st Anniversary of the Death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Read by Barry Keane Vice-Chairman Dealey Plaza UK at The Kennedy Memorial Bust in London on November 22nd 2014.
We are here to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but there are some who say, after more than 50 years, that it’s time to consign President Kennedy to history, time to lay the controversy surrounding his assassination to rest. For we will never know the truth about his death; so does it really matter now? I believe it does and the truth will be revealed, it must, for we owe it to JFK’s memory.
The world is very different from what it was in the early 1960’s; but the ideals and sentiments that John F. Kennedy stood for are still relevant 51 years after his death and indeed for all time. Mankind seems to be destined to forget the lessons that history teaches us, and we continue to repeat the mistakes of the past. President Kennedy believed this did not have to be the case.
On June 10th 1963, at the American University in Washington, John F. Kennedy gave what was perhaps his finest speech, possibly the finest any leader has given. He spoke a few months after the world stood at the brink of nuclear war. His topic was world peace, not as an abstract concept, but genuine peace, the kind of peace, which makes life on earth worth living.
Among the words he used were a few lines, which are rich in their simplicity as well as their significance. Speaking about the animosity between nations, he said:
“… Let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved, and if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”
President Kennedy’s own mortality became only too apparent a few months after he expressed those sentiments. But his words and his ideals are immortal.
I believe the speech he gave on that day should be compulsive reading for all the world’s leaders. President Kennedy died before his time, but his ideals and vision of peace did not die with him.
We, and future generations are the heirs to his legacy, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that those ideals and vision are realized and that his tragic death was not in vain.
DPUK Commemorative Address on the 50th Anniversary of the Death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Read by Barry Keane Vice-Chairman Dealey Plaza UK at The Kennedy Memorial Bust in London on November 22nd 2013.
We are here on this day of days to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of a most remarkable man; John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
It is very important of course, that we continue to celebrate his life and all the things that he achieved for mankind. The impact that his leadership had, still reverberates today. Leaders who followed him are often judged by the example that he set in his public life. If his name is invoked it conjures up an era when the positive achievements of mankind seemed limitless. It was indeed a period in recent history when hope and optimism were perhaps at their zenith.
I firmly believe John Kennedy’s leadership was absolutely right for the times in which he held office. The world passed through the most dangerous period in its history during his administration, coming within hours of Armageddon. Because of his wisdom and his statesmanship, but above all, his humanity, catastrophe was prevented.
It is true that John Kennedy was not a perfect man; he had his faults. But here was a wealthy man who did not have to choose public service as a career or to run for the US Presidency and by extension the leadership of the free world; he did so because of a desire to make the world a better place for all. So I believe we should say to those who continue to strive to assassinate his character; remember the peaceful outcome of the events of October 1962. Kennedy was an advocate of the Greek definition of happiness: “The full use of your powers along lines of excellence.” He was indeed a perfect example of that belief.
As we look back at the 50 years since his death with the problems that mankind has faced, we can only speculate as to what would have happened had he lived. Would the world have been a better place? We of course shall never know. Perhaps that is the real tragedy of his untimely death!
But the fact remains that the manner of his death and the disgraceful distortion of the truth that followed is a running sore which has yet to heal. Whether it is too late for justice or not, it is never, never too late for the truth! After 50 years the mainstream media continue to perpetuate the myth of the lone assassin. Despite this, we should not accept that this anniversary is the last opportunity to get to the truth. There must be no statute of limitations in the search for historical truth on the death of John Kennedy and we must not go quietly!
The continued cover up of the truth by successive United States governments with their unwillingness to face the unpalatable truth of John Kennedy’s death perpetuates the aura of mistrust in all governments, a situation that has existed ever since that terrible day in 1963. We need to return to the, at least perceived faith, in our leadership. In short we need true leaders like John F. Kennedy not the petty puppets we have had to endure!
To paraphrase President Kennedy; for us all to take pride in our governments, we need governments worthy of our pride. Yet despite this sad reality, I still believe we can be hopeful and optimistic, as we were at the beginning of the 1960’s. But we need to be able to erase the terrible stain of John F. Kennedy’s death. We must demand the truth, not only in the case of JFK’s assassination but other lies which we have been told. We can handle the truth; we just need to be given the chance! Only then can we begin to regain our faith in those who hold positions of power and influence.
If the lie continues to be perpetuated, President Kennedy’s death will continue to haunt all of those who share his ideals and vision. Finally I would like to quote from the speech John Kennedy was on his way to give on that fateful November day 50 years ago. ”We in this country, in this generation, 'are by destiny rather than choice, 'the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.' We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, good will toward men.”
John Kennedy did use his countries strength with wisdom and restraint... and it is no exaggeration to state that as a result of his courage we enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness: whereas he personally made the ultimate sacrifice! Despite the passing of 50 years the pain has not diminished: and we may never see the like of John F. Kennedy again; and consequently we are all the poorer for it.
Adlai Stevenson expressed the loss so eloquently when he said: “We will bear the grief of his death; until the day of our own”