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Archive for October, 2012

Your Emily Dickinson…

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.   

Emily Dickinson   

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Eyewitness

Eyewitness

Howard Brennan on the bridge

“I looked up then at the Texas Book Depository Building. What I saw made my “blood run cold.” Poised in the corner window of the sixth floor was the same young man I had noticed several times before the motorcade arrived. There was one difference—this time he held a rifle in his hands, pointing toward the Presidential car. He steadied the rifle against the cornice and while he moved quickly, he didn’t seem to be in any kind of panic. All of this happened in the matter of a second or two. Then came the sickening sound of a second shot and I looked quickly back to the presidential car which had moved only a few feet, still not apparently aware that it was the assassin’s target.

I saw Governor John Connally reacting to being wounded and the instinctive response of his wife to try and help him. I remember thinking, “Oh my God! He’s going to kill them, he’s going to kill them all!” The immensity and horror of what I was witnessing almost overwhelmed me. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t utter a sound. I could only watch the whole monstrous drama unfold. Just then a woman close to me screamed in full realization of what was happening. She uttered
something like, “Oh, my God!” But even as she did my eyes darted back to that solitary figure who was changing history. He was aiming again and I wanted to pray, to beg God to somehow make him miss his target. There wasn’t time to pray, not even time to think about what I was seeing but the sight became so fixed in my mind that I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. There was nothing I could do. It was a hopeless, sinking feeling. I would have gladly given my life in that moment to be able to save the President, but no one could move fast enough to shield him with his own body. Then another shot rang out.

All of this took only a few seconds. I didn’t realize at that moment that I was the only person who was actually watching the man firing the rifle. Simultaneous with the third shot, I swung my eyes back to the Presidential car which had moved on down to my left on Elm, and I saw a sight that made my whole being sink in despair. A spray of red came from around the President’s head. I knew the bullet had struck its intended target. Later, I would learn that the whole scene had taken less than ten seconds. In retrospect, it seemed like several minutes.

By the time the third shot had been fired, there was sheer pandemonium. Everyone was fully aware that the noise they were hearing was shots, not backfire. This was really happening. It was like a nightmare, only I couldn’t wake up from it. No one had to tell me what was ahead. The moment I saw the effects of the third shot, I knew that the assassin had been successful. No person could have survived that kind of wound.”

Excerpts from Eyewitness to History, by Howard Brennan
http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/history/The_deed/Brennan/Brennan_book.html

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Madame President

Madame President

Madame President

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