Tags: Kennedy | Oswald | Zapruder | Texas

Panel Relives Aftermath of JFK Assassination

By    |   Monday, 02 Dec 2013 01:54 PM

As part of the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, this article recounts a panel of witnesses with unique perspectives on the assassination who presented their views at the Texas Book Festival in Austin.

The program is particularly interesting because the panelists disagree, sometimes heatedly, as to the validity of the findings of the Warren Commission, which found that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy.

Howard Willens, a Washington lawyer and the last surviving member of the staff of the Warren Commission, recalled that the staff carefully examined Abraham Zapruder's film of the assassination and concluded that a single bullet caused both the wound to Kennedy's shoulder, exiting from his throat, and going on to wound Texas Gov. John Connally. He said that while former Philadelphia District Attorney and future Senator Arlen Specter (who represented various parties from Pennsylvania) disagreed, this view was the consensus of the staff, and he acknowledged that Connally did not agree with this theory.

Allen Childs was a medical student who was part of the duty staff that happened to be at Parkland Hospital when the president's body was brought in early on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963. He stated that the first physicians to examine Kennedy realized that the wound to the back of his head was fatal. Also, the physicians believed the wound to the throat was an entry wound, not an exit wound, which would necessarily imply a conspiracy. Later, most of them, but not all, recanted their views.

Hugh Aynesworth, a lifelong journalist, was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News on the day of the assassination. Frustrated that he was not assigned to cover the event, he attended the parade and trailed the aftermath of the shooting to the hospital and the arrest of Oswald.

I, like so many who experienced that day, have the perspective of an assassination buff who sees the investigation as partly a "Philadelphia Story," with the report having been written in part by upper class law students at the University of Pennsylvania, Specter playing the key role in formulating the single-bullet theory and explaining it to the an assembly at the Law School and Specter's former top assistant, Richard Sprague, serving for a time as director of the several-year study by the House Assassination Committee led by Rep. Henry Gonzalez, D-Texas.

A visit to Dealey Plaza in 1966 brought home the need for the motorcade to slow down as it made a turn right in front of the Texas School Book Depository. Also, the Johnson tapes contain a passage in which President Johnson argued with the noted journalist and sometime CIA operative Joseph Alsop over the need for a commission to investigate the assassination.

Johnson protested that the Texas authorities can handle the circumstance, but Alsop insisted, and Johnson reluctantly relented. I considered the Commission flawed from the start, because it accepted at the outset the premise that Oswald acted alone.

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Robert-Feinberg
As part of the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, this article recounts a panel of witnesses with unique perspectives on the assassination who presented their views at the Texas Book Festival in Austin.
Kennedy,Oswald,Zapruder,Texas
493
2013-54-02
Monday, 02 Dec 2013 01:54 PM
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