Obviously, I am referring to the killing of John F Kennedy on this day in 1963. As the median age of the US is still under 40 (although probably not for long), most people alive today were not alive when Kennedy died on that day in Dallas.
Even though I was only about 3 1/2 years old, I remember that day. My younger sibling (from whom I have been estranged for a long time) was upstairs taking a nap. I was downstairs on the sofa reading–yes, reading–while my mother was watching TV, As The World Turns. My older sister was in school.
At first, the news broke that Kennedy had been shot. It was not for another hour, I believe, that word broke that he had died. My mother began screaming and crying although I don’t remember for how long. Remember that my mother, a Holocaust survivor, had only been in the US six years when Kennedy was killed.
As I have written before, I concur with the theory of ballistics expert Howard Donahue as laid out in Bonar Menninger’s book, Mortal Error. Donahue presents compelling evidence that while Lee Harvey Oswald shot at Kennedy in an attempt to assassinate him, the fatal shot was an accident as a Secret Service agent in the motorcade accidentally discharged his weapon. People are going to believe what they want to believe, but if an open-minded person studies the information I think it is difficult, although not impossible, to reach any other conclusion.
Some have called that event the end of innocence in the US, but I think that is a temporally arrogant view. For example, I can’t imagine that the Civil War and assassination of Abraham Lincoln didn’t have a profound effect on the country even if electronic communication hadn’t yet been invented.
I also recall watching Lee Harvey Oswald being killed two days later in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters as it was shown on live TV. I am in no position to say if the events of those few days left a lasting impact on me as I have no frame of reference to do so.
On a (much) lighter note, legendary automobile designer Harley Earl was born on this day in 1893. Earl was really the father of the Corvette being influenced by the European sports cars he saw on a trip to Watkins Glen. He was the first top executive ever appointed in design of a major corporation in American history. Credit should be given to the man who hired Earl for that position, then GM President/CEO Alfred Sloan. (Yes, I am sure I have written about Earl in a post on this day in the past.)
I have often dreamed of having a replica built of a famous concept car in the very unlikely event that my wonderful wife and I win a huge lottery jackpot. As much as I love the design of Tom Tjaarda’s Rondine, I think that I would try to have a replica of this car built first.
This is the Buick Y-Job. Designed by Harley Earl, who is behind the wheel, and produced in 1938, it was the auto industry’s first concept car. By the way, Earl drove this car until 1951. Again, the sad irony that Buick produced this car and at this moment in time doesn’t manufacture anything except SUVs is very disquieting to me.
Although I have to admit that current trends in the automobile industry have robbed me of some of my enthusiasm, my profound feelings of wonder and admiration for cars like the Y-Job have not diminished. If I could afford it, which I cannot, I would pay a seven-figure sum to have a replica of this car built for me.
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