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John F. Kennedy's Final Public Words
November 22, 2013 10:26 AM   Subscribe

"Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer. [laughter] But, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it."

JFK delivered two speeches on the morning of November 22, 1963. The first took place around 9AM just outside the Hotel Texas in downtown Fort Worth, where a large crowd had gathered in the morning drizzle to hear the president speak. (PDF photo slideshow) Shortly afterward, he addressed the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast event, where he talked about the city's contributions to national defense, including the B-36 and B-58 bombers (both built there) and a proposed future project, the TFX (Tactical Fighter Experimental).

After the breakfast, it was on to Dallas, where he planned to give a speech at the Dallas Trade Mart, after a brief motorcade through downtown.

*Both Fort Worth speeches are included in the video in the primary link. (The parking lot speech is audio only.) The Chamber of Commerce speech starts at the 43:00 mark.
posted by Atom Eyes (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
From his undelivered speech: "We, in this country, in this generation, are -- by destiny rather than by choice -- the watchmen on the walls of world freedom."

This speech was cited in the graphic novel "The Watchmen" as the source of the title of the group of heroes.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:40 AM on November 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Tangentially related:

I'm currently watching the CBS live news feed ("live" from this day and time 50 years ago). If you find historical ephemera interesting, you'll find this fascinating.

They haven't yet shown any people reporting the news; just a generic CBS NEWS BULLETIN title card and a newsreader (I assume it's Cronkite) speaking on the immediate reports.
posted by grubi at 10:57 AM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Update: it's Cronkite. They're showing him in the studio.

(Sorry to hijack the thread.)
posted by grubi at 11:00 AM on November 22, 2013


The latest instalment of the Robert Caro biography of LBJ devotes almost half of the book to JFK and RFK. It's fantastic reading.

When Kennedy spoke that morning in Dallas, Johnson was all but sunk, facing oblivion. His Texas machine had deserted him, opting instead to throw its weight between John Connally, Johnson's former protege. And "Little Lyndon" Bobby Baker's various crooked dealings were threatening to destroy LBJ.

That morning when Kennedy was making his lighthearted remarks in Dallas, Johnson himself was staring down the barrel of a gun.

Caro's biographies are pretty awesome I must say.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:10 AM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


That morning when Kennedy was making his lighthearted remarks in Dallas, Johnson himself was staring down the barrel of a gun.

So you're saying LBJ was on the second gunman?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:17 AM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I knew it!
posted by Big_B at 11:43 AM on November 22, 2013


Mmm, war industries.
posted by grobstein at 12:16 PM on November 22, 2013


I think it is fantastic that CBS is streaming their whole day's coverage. It's fascinating to see how live news dealt with a crisis then compared to CNN and their ilk today.

Though CBS should have thought twice about airing ads before their shorter video clips. The iconic clip of Cronkite announcing JFK's death was preceded by a 30 second ad for Goldman Sachs. That's tacky if not outright vulgar.
posted by boubelium at 12:49 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


CBS: Tacky If Not Outright Vulgar
posted by item at 1:28 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Years ago, A&E ran something like 4 hours of NBC's live coverage of the day, and I used to have it on VHS. CBS's coverage is better remembered, mainly because of Cronkite's masterful handling of things, but Frank McGee and David Brinkley were pretty damn good that day, too.
posted by briank at 1:31 PM on November 22, 2013


Wow, this is enthralling. The plane just landed with the body, and it was a giant clusterfuck and Jackie is covered in blood.

And apparently I can't her LBJ's voice without thinking about the word bunghole.
posted by Sphinx at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2013


Years ago, A&E ran something like 4 hours of NBC's live coverage of the day, and I used to have it on VHS. CBS's coverage is better remembered, mainly because of Cronkite's masterful handling of things, but Frank McGee and David Brinkley were pretty damn good that day, too.

To be honest, I had never seen any coverage of the assassination except for Cronkite until I saw McGee and Brinkley on Mad Men. Granted, I wasn't alive in 1963, but still.
posted by 4ster at 3:54 PM on November 22, 2013


good strange radio happening right now ...
posted by philip-random at 4:00 PM on November 22, 2013


^ this is good
posted by telstar at 4:40 PM on November 22, 2013


One thing I have realized throughout the course of the day is how important and serious a day it is for Americans, and I feel kind of silly for leaving comments like the one above on posts my (American) friends have made on Facebook.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:18 PM on November 22, 2013


JFK Speech at American University June 1963
Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need them is essential to the keeping of peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles -- which can only destroy and never create -- is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war -- and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

Some say that it is useless to speak of peace or world law or world disarmament -- and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it.

But I also believe that we must re-examine our own attitudes -- as individuals and as a nation -- for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward -- by examining his own attitude towards the possibilities of peace, towards the Soviet Union, towards the course of the cold war and towards freedom and peace here at home.

First: Examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable -- that mankind is doomed -- that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept that view. Our problems are man-made. Therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable -- and we believe they can do it again.

I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concepts of universal peace and goodwill of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace -- based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions -- on a series of concrete actions and effective agreement which are in the interests of all concerned.

There is no single, simple key to this peace -- no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process -- a way of solving problems.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:10 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


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