COPA was mentioned recently in an Associated Press story about commemorations of the 45th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.
Hundreds gather at Dealey Plaza to commemorate JFK
By ANDRE COE Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press
Nov. 22, 2008, 7:59PM
DALLAS — On the day marking the 45th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, some 500 people crowded into Dallas’ Dealey Plaza to remember one of the most tragic moments in American history.
People stood shoulder-to-shoulder and bowed their heads during a moment of silence at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Some hawked JFK memorabilia or pitched conspiracy theories to visitors with cameras and video recorders in hand who moved about. Others offered firsthand accounts of their moment in the tragic event.
Visiting from Pipersville, Penn., 66-year-old Barbara Koenig said coming to the site was something she needed to do.
“I remember the day of the assassination and I’ve always wanted to visit this site,” she said. “It’s just an eerie feeling. It kind of takes you back 45 years to what you were doing and thinking about the whole tragedy of the affair. I burst into tears (then). In fact, I’m ready to cry now.”
Nearby, street vendors held out commemorative newspapers hoping would-be customers would buy them.
One person roamed the crowd with a sign that questioned whether it was a lone gunman who killed Kennedy or several.
A group of men who wore black suits, matching ties and earpieces stood silent and seemed to guard a large black banner that stood behind them.
The day Kennedy was assassinated is one people should always remember, but its truth still has not been entirely revealed, said John Judge, head of the Coalition On Political Assassinations (COPA), a Washington-based organization dedicated to researching political assassinations.
Kennedy was shot in the head while riding through Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963.
Judge believes Kennedy’s assassination was a government conspiracy and could be easily solved if all of the facts were revealed.
“If the case were to be honestly investigated or if a grand jury could open it up, we could get at it,” he said. “I think (people) want to remember a piece of their history that was stolen from them.”
On Saturday, two Xs spray-painted in the street marked the spots where Kennedy was hit as his motorcade drove through the plaza. A placard from the National Park Service stood on the ground directly across from one X.
A short distance from there, Suzanne Guardiola, 47, stood in the crowd with her husband, Moises.
“This is the first memory of something tragic that happened that I ever remember,” she said.
Guardiola recalled how family members responded when they saw footage of Kennedy’s assassination for the first time when the Zapruder film was released 12 years later. Even then, her grandmother cried, she said.
“It reminded everybody that, ‘Yes, this did happen,'” her husband, Moises Guardiola said.
Gathering at the plaza was a way for people to reclaim history, Judge said.
“I think that people loved and respected John Kennedy and I think that that day not only a man died but democracy died,” he said.
For 68-year-old Ann Murphy, news of Kennedy’s assassination stunned her when it reached her and other teachers in Toronto, Canada. She was in disbelief when school officials announced “President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas,” she said.
Murphy stayed glued to her father’s grainy, black-and-white television set for more news on the events unfolding in the United States. She was even more stunned when she saw nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoot the suspect in Kennedy’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald, on live television, Murphy said.
“It’s strange that one man’s influence and popularity would extend well outside his own country,” she said from the grassy area of the plaza, infamous for the numerous theories it has sparked.
On the Net:
The Sixth Floor Museum, http://www.jfk.org/
The Coalition On Political Assassinations, http://www.politicalassassinations.com/