Opinion Columns & Blogs

The Conversation | JFK assassination

Last Sunday’s Conversation about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy asked the question: How has the Kennedy assassination affected your life?

President seemed like friend

My connection to and recollection of John F. Kennedy takes me back to 1957 and 1958 when I worked as a ticket agent at the Hyannis, Mass., airport.

Kennedy was a senator at that time and a frequent flier out of that airport, as was the entire Kennedy family, since it was close to the Kennedy compound. He was so friendly and always greeted me by name when he arrived.

His death affected me as would a close friend’s death. Sorrow stayed with me for a very long time, and I fondly remember him as a friendly, personable individual. If not for his death, I believe he would have continued to do great things for this country.

– LaVern Gough-Guice, Sacramento

From Facebook

Janice Teruko Temple – I was in grade school, and when I saw the funeral march in D.C., I was very sad. I was even sadder when John-John saluted his father at the end of the funeral at church.

Donald Wayne Williams – I’ve never come to grips with the lone-assassin thinking, that Lee Harvey Oswald was the doer acting alone.


‘Facts’ point to two shooters

Re “Kennedy slaying answers elude us” (Forum, Jack Ohman, Nov. 17): Editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman, as well as many other Americans, have the mystery of the Kennedy assassination “elude” them because facts sometimes get in the way.

Ohman says “not one” person saw a man firing a rifle from the grassy knoll, yet there are pictures that suggest the outline of a person as well as possible smoke coming from over the fence on the knoll. Many individuals immediately ran up the knoll, thinking shots came from there.

The fatal shot resulted in Kennedy’s head snapping backward. After pronouncing Kennedy dead, several surgeons at Parkland Hospital said the throat wound was one of entrance, meaning at least one shot came from in front.

Despite the botched autopsy, medical records and Warren Commission testimony leave no doubt that there were two types of ammunition used during the assassination.

– Randy Rendig, Camino

Kennedy was inspirational

Re “Count me out of the JFK club” (Our Region, Marcos Breton, Nov. 17): It’s obvious that Marcos Breton was in his crib when John F. Kennedy was president because he misses at least one major point. Having lived during the JFK years, my recollection can be summed in one word: inspiration.

Yes, Kennedy was a man with flaws like other presidents, but he was able to inspire this country. He promoted a strong defense, the Peace Corps and space travel to the moon. By example, he overcame physical handicaps with exercise. He got this country off the couch and running daily.

Yes, we like our soaps and Camelot comes to mind. It was not all about deception to achieve political goals. JFK cared about truth, his country and the people of the world.

Maybe it wasn’t Camelot, but he was truly inspirational. And then there was his smile.

– Robert Reark, Granite Bay

War, secrecy part of legacy

Amen to Marcos Breton’s column on JFK.

I was in my early 20s and a junior naval officer when John Kennedy became president. Sure, he was a good-looking young candidate when he was elected, but Kennedy took us into the Vietnam War. The secret activity of the United States during JFK’s presidency would have made today’s conspiracy theorists go crazy.

Then there were all the personal scandals within the Kennedy White House: Think not only Marilyn Monroe but all the other young women with whom JFK had affairs during his presidency.

Attempts at gender and racial equality never really were brought to the fore until after Kennedy’s presidency, nor was the economy anything to smile about.

Bravo to Marcos Breton for helping to share the truth about JFK.

– Walt Brown, Roseville

JFK brought a sea change

The ’60s culture and the Kennedys, according to Marcos Breton, were little more than another example of the spoiled values and the self-indulgent nature of the era.

I was surprised by his criticism. Consider this: At the dawn of the 1960s, America was still a segregated nation; black and brown citizens lacked nearly every right that we take for granted.

Kennedy represented a sea change. The Peace Corps, the race to the moon, protests against racism and a terrible war, participation in the political process by students. Those were, and still are, the essence of a democracy.

Look at the nearly bankrupt political values of Congress today and realize that had the assassinations of the ’60s not robbed us of those leaders, many issues tearing us apart today would be in our past, rather than the present.

– Richard Siegel, Cameron Park

Message still rings true

Marcos Breton says he is “too old to suspend disbelief or entertain romantic versions of history” concerning the legacy of John F. Kennedy. He also criticizes many baby boomers for apparently buying into an “overblown” spectacle of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

Breton’s remarks would push aside the legacy of the New Frontier, and the Great Society of President Lyndon B. Johnson that continued and expanded Kennedy’s goals. Kennedy told us to “ask not.” Since then, three generations have served in social work, teaching, the Peace Corps, VISTA, law enforcement, firefighting and the military. They have volunteered in animal shelters and helped the homeless.

Now we face the challenge of affordable health care for all Americans. It’s time again to “ask not.” I think I know where JFK would stand on the issue.

– H. James Harper, Sacramento

Column ‘hugely offensive’

Marcos Breton is a gifted writer, and I read his column regularly. His diatribe on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination is well-written. But I found the column hugely offensive.

Breton cannot evoke the emotions of that era, so I wonder why he’s so agitated about those of us who do.

You had to be there.

– Barbara Cross, Elk Grove