Today I traveled to Parsons, Kansas, by means of The Parsons Sun dated January 3, 1967 where the headline read: “Cancer Victim – Death Takes Ruby; Slayer of Oswald”. “Jack Ruby, insisting to his final day that he acted along as Lee Harvey Oswald’s slayer, died today of cancer in Parkland Memorial Hospital…” This was the same hospital in which President Kennedy was pronounced dead.” Soon after Ruby’s killing of Oswald, conspiracy theories were stoked as news spread focusing on the point that Ruby knew Oswald. However, he attempted to debunk these stories as is described within the coverage: “…over the last weekend, it was revealed that one of Ruby’s last acts was to record another statement denying any conspiracy… a small recorder into the hospital room for Jack to use and tell his story — the story he died with…”
Finishing out our month-long tribute to the memory of John F. Kennedy, today we look at what may have been the closing chapter of the tragic death-sequence which began on November 22, 1963 with the assassination of JFK, advanced to November 23, 1963 with the shooting and death of Lee Harvey Oswald, and culminated on January 3, 1967 with the passing of death-row inmate, Jack Ruby. Many to this day are convinced that all three deaths are rife with conspiracy. Perhaps time will prove them to be correct.
Finding newspapers on the death of Ruby are quite difficult as the event was not deemed significant by most, and many institutions were no longer saving their newspapers for year-end binding – choosing instead to store them on microfiche to conserve precious storage space. However, every now and then one turns up. Please enjoy (?) the January 3, 1967 report as it appeared in The Parsons Sun (Kansas): The Death of Jack Ruby
Fifty years ago today scores of Americans awoke in their William Levitt-style home (or similar), slipped on their robe and slippers, and headed out to their front drive to pick up the morning paper. Within moments they were sipping their cup of coffee as they opened their newspaper to discover that Lee Harvey Oswald, the destroyer of American innocence, had been shot and killed. While the spontaneous emotional reaction of many may have betrayed their parent’s Biblically-charged rearing that two wrongs don’t make a right, somehow this morning’s news never found a way to fill the hole left by the events of just a few days prior – the assassination of JFK… their beloved president. This event was captured well on the front page of the same newspaper which had brought horrific news on November 23, 1963: Lee Harvey Oswald Shot & Killed
Perhaps someday we’ll know the truth behind all that occurred during this infamous week in American history.
This week I traveled to Dallas, Texas, via The Dallas Morning News (November 23, 1963). There I found the headline that saddened this great nation, “Kennedy Slain On Dallas Street”. One article headline reads “Gray clouds went away – Day Began as Auspiciously As Any in Kennedy’s Career” but at half past noon, lives would be forever changed when the first shot from the book depository rang out.
I was in first grade when this occurred, and still remember our custodian, Ralph, knocking on our window and telling my teacher, Miss Snyder, that the President had just been shot. He was on the way to the flagpole to lower it to half mast. Some events will stay vividly with you for a lifetime.
AS a sidebar… Over the years various lists have circulated comparing Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. The response to the uncanny similarities provided by Snopes is worth reading: Snopes on Lincoln/Kennedy Comparison
Fifty years ago this week my older sister and I came in from carving Matchbox-car-sized roads through the previously well-manicured turf of our backyard to find our mother staring at the semi-snowy, partially visible screen of our black and white television with tears streaming down her face. Not being prone to such outward displays of emotion, her anguish screamed to us that something tragic had happened. This moment was emblazoned in our minds for life… and was reinforced days later when she took us by the hand to lead us on the long trek to the railroad overpass a few miles from our home to peer over the edge to watch a train draped with a flag pass under our feet. President John F. Kennedy was dead! While at the time my sister and I had no idea whether or not he was a good president (for to a child, all presidents are good), one thing we knew for sure, something vanished from people’s eyes which has yet to return – American innocence.
As we reflect on this snap-shot of innocence lost, we wonder where it all began – that is, the overwhelming common-man devotion which inspired many to “Ask not what your country can do for you…”. When did the admiration of the crowd begin? Was it when he was proclaimed a WWII hero as the Captain of PT-109, or did it spring-forth from his impact as a Massachusetts Representative with his first political election victory? While it may be hard to sort out how he had become so beloved, one thing is certain: a split-second in time along a Dallas street changed everything.
Feel free to share your “memory” of November 22, 1963.
To commemorate this historic moment (November 22, 1963), we’ve assembled a host of “assassination-report” newspapers from all over the country. They are viewable at: JFK Assassination.
The “New York Journal American” newspaper of Nov. 22, 1963 did this “Extra” edition reporting Kennedy’s assassination. Making this issue a bit of a curiosity is the photo which accompanies the headline, as it shows a smiling Lyndon B. Johnson, a laughing Mrs. Johnson, and a smiling Jackie Kennedy. The photo was almost assuredly planned to accompany another story about their visit to Dallas but that edition was interrupted to quickly produce this “Extra” with the breaking news of the assassination. The photo was not replaced in the haste of getting the edition on the streets, producing this rather bizarre photo/headline combination which gives the appearance of a joyful reaction to the news that JFK had been assassinated.
One of the interesting opportunities newspapers present is the ability to read news with hindsight. The early edition of the “Dallas Times-Herald” newspaper of Nov. 22, 1963 (see below), the edition prior to the later edition reporting the assassination, has much coverage of JFK’s visit to Texas and the excitement around his planned visit to Dallas later that day. One ironic headline on the front page reads: “Secret Service Sure All Secure” with the article providing much detail on the security efforts to make for a safe visit to Dallas.