Historic footage January 27, 2007Posted by Michael McVey in General Comment.
In 1975, I sat through an entertaining slide presentation one evening at my high school. It was entitled, “The Truth About the Assassination of President Kennedy” and was delivered by an auto shop teacher from another high school, Tony Centa. The place was packed and conversations about the topic raged on for weeks after. The presentation reviewed the mound of doubts raised about the Warren Commission and reviewed the Zapruder film in detail.
Since that evening, I have looked for footage from television stations taken the day the assassination occurred. I was a child in Grade One at the time and remember that Friday well, or as well as a first grader might. I do not recall if the local district cancelled school that Monday of the funeral but I have strong memories of staying home to watch it and my mother’s reaction to it as I sat and played on the floor.
Years later I discovered my father in law was one of the soldiers standing on honor detail along a wet Washington street that weekend. Now, thanks to ABC News, the expansion of their popular series “The Day it Happened” includes this footage and I am downloading it as I type.
I am not sure why it is so important for me to see this film. I am part of a rapidly dwindling number of people who were alive in 1963 and have any recollection at all of the events of that weekend. Perhaps that need to have a link with one’s past is the reason. Perhaps that need is why I am still in contact with my Grade Six teacher, a friend from Grade Four, and the neighbor from across the street who remembers me from my infancy. No matter what changes in our lives and in the world some of us need to refresh our memories of our days of youth.
Some day my daughter will seek out videos from the news of her childhood just to confirm her memories, restore them, or build them anew. I suspect she will do what I did a few weeks ago and call up on YouTube the title sequences of every show she ever remembers watching. When I did it, I stopped when I had a collection of almost forty of them from Batman to The Man from UNCLE.
My conclusion: I spent a lot of time in front of the tube when I was growing up. Perhaps that’s why I watch so little now.