I walked into the apartment I shared with my parents in Wavecrest Gardens and put on the television set.
The announcer said something about Kennedy sliding down into the backseat of his limo.
My first thought was that the president had once again hurt his bad back. The reality, I soon learned, was far worse.
I called my then girlfriend (who became my wife four months later and remains so until this day) and she tearfully told me what I happened. I rushed back to the television set and remained glued to Walter Cronkite and the story for the remainder of the weekend.
On Sunday, however, I went to take part in my regular bowling league at the Woodmere Lanes. During a break in the action, I walked into the lounge for a coke and watched transfixed as Lee Harvey Oswald. Who had been arrested for the assassination, was in turn shot and killed by Jack Ruby, the owner of a strip joint in Dallas and a police buff.
It all seemed so surreal, but we all accepted the “fact” that Oswald, an open supporter of “fair play for Cuba” and of Fidel Castro operated alone in killing the president.
On Monday, I went back to the ship and my duties as a court reporter. We had a muster on the flight deck and Captain Gerald Miller, the ship’s commanding officer, read the official orders from Robert McNamara the secretary of defense, announcing Kennedy’s death and the honors that were to be given by each of the armed forces. I still have a copy of those orders on my wall at home.
Fifty years later, the finding that Oswald had acted alone has been alternately challenged and supported in nearly 2,000 books and articles and by a few official investigations.
The first challenge came from author Mark Lane, who quickly wrote an article for the National Guardian in December, entitled “Defense Brief for Oswald.” Lane later wrote a book about the subject.
In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald had acted alone and that there was “no credible evidence of a conspiracy that included others involved in the shooting.”