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EDITORIAL | Our loss of Innocence

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of America’s loss of innocence. On that fateful Friday afternoon in Dallas we not only lost the dream of Camelot. We lost faith in a government that was supposed to protect its leaders from such brutal attacks.

And the events that followed that weekend in Dallas did nothing but lend credibility to the conspiracy theorists.

To this day I doubt that we know the real truth about what happened in Dallas that day. For a former physics major and an Army Infantryman, the facts surrounding the shooting don’t match with science or logic.

But this we do know. Our young charismatic president was brutally murdered in front of a stunned crowd of thousands in Dallas and a national TV audience.

The rest of the 1960s did little to restore any confidence that the government was effective and not complicit in that change of leadership.

We then learned bombshells about J. Edgar Hoover and other leaders that would curl the hair on your chin.

Power corrupts was the motto and absolute power corrupts even bigger. Its as true today as it was in Dallas way back when.

Like most teens of the day, I was engrossed in my own life struggles trying to be a better student, football and basketball player. Just trying to live.

Regardless of your position on Kennedy, that days events made you cynical at least. His presidency wasn’t near as popular before the shooting, just as Reagan’s wasn’t.

The biggest real issue of the 1960 political race wasn’t Republican or Democrat, it was whether Kennedy as a Catholic would answer to the Pope rather than to the American people. I heard those concerns.

And JFK’s equal rights position gained him just that many more complaints, especially in the South.

But the biggest thing we lost that day was hope that this young energetic president could turn things around and bring our country together, end the Cold War and provide opportunities for all Americans.

We cried as a country that day. Not just for our young president. But for his family and for our country. We survived but not without a lot of help.

As our country reflects upon that dark day in Dallas we need to put that experience behind us. Once and for all the country needs to come clean about the events of that day and entire weekend.

The effort to calm fears resulted in a cover up of some data just to eliminate any doubt.

Its time for all the secrets of Dallas to come out. It wasn’t until that day that most people knew what President Eisenhowser had warned us about with his military industrial complex speech.

We long for the days of Camelot but they now only exist in our dreams.

— Bill Lawson

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