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News from September 1964

August 29, 2009
By Howard Riley,

The historical document in hand is a copy of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise dated Monday, September 28, 1964. The historical significance of this copy covers in detail the just released Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

There have been millions of words written about that tragic day; movies have been made, contradictions to official reports put forth, and books published whose authors believe there was a conspiracy. I happen to believe that what happened that day was exactly what was revealed in the Warren Commission report.

Peter Cox was editor of the Enterprise when the president was killed, the only time that we know of when the Enterprise printed a second edition. I was city editor and clipping the AP wire as the bell kept ringing on the teletype machine, alerting the newsroom that a bulletin was coming over.

Article Photos

Lee Harvey Oswald
(Photo from the Enterprise, September 1964)

Naturally the lead on the story kept changing, and I kept reading that the president was shot in the hand, not in the head. I guess it was a classic case of denial by simply refusing to accept the truth.

When I became so taken with every story and detail of that day, Peter went down to Gray's Bookstore and bought me one of the first copies of the Warren Commission Report.


The lead story began:

"WASHINGTON (AP) Lee Harvey Oswald, hostile to his world and hungry for fame, assassinated President John F. Kennedy and shot his way to infamy without the help of any conspiracy, the Warren Commission reports.

"And Jack Ruby also acted as a loner when he gunned down Oswald in the Dallas jail two days after the President's death, the commission said in its report to President Johnson which was made public Sunday night."

The Enterprise devoted an entire page to the report and sidebars with headlines reading: "Warren Report Raps FBI and News Media; "Document on President's Assassination Says Lee Oswald and Ruby Acted Alone"; "President Kennedy Could Have Survived Neck Injury"; and "11:40 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fri., Nov. 22, 1963."


Quotes from various stories

The report noted Kennedy's own comment to an aide on the day he died - that:

"If anybody really wanted to shoot the President of the United States, it was not a very difficult job all one had to do was get a high building someday with a telescopic rifle, and there was nothing anybody could do to defend against such an attempt."


The Commission Report was named for Chief Justice Earl Warren. Here is a piece about the Secret Service:

"As one vital example, the commission cited the failure of the secret service to check all the buildings along the route of the Dallas motorcade, including the Texas school book depository, from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots.

"And the commission while emphasizing that there was no evidence that agents at the scene did less than was expected of them, chided nine agents for drinking and staying up late the night before - breaking the rules of the service.

"The FBI, said the commission, had a full dossier on the life of Oswald and knew he worked in a building along the motorcade route, but it never gave this information to the Secret Service.


"A guy I remember from that terrible day was a secret service agent named Rufus Youngblood riding on the back of Vice President's Johnsons car. When the first shots rang out he immediately leapt over the trunk of the car, pushing the Johnson's down and covering them with his body until the motorcade reached the Parkland Hospital four miles away. I have no idea why I remember that practical incident from reading about it 46 years ago.


"Except for a desperate lunge by a Secret Service agent, Jacqueline Kennedy probably would have fallen from the rear deck of the auto and been killed by the following car. She cannot remember crawling onto the back of the car."


"The commission looked long and hard at 24-year-old Lee Oswald, through the eyes of scores of witnesses. It found a fatherless, unhappy, withdrawn, truant child, diagnosed by a New York City psychiatrist as having personality pattern disturbance with schizoid split-personality features and passive-aggressive tendencies."


The copy of the Enterprise quoted here is from a collection of newspapers and other documents on loan to me from Roger Foster.



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