Kennedy: 'The assassination without end' - DatelineCarolina

Kennedy: 'The assassination without end'

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Charles Bierbauer, University of South Carolina professor, describing his memories of President Kennedy's assassination. Charles Bierbauer, University of South Carolina professor, describing his memories of President Kennedy's assassination.
Kent Germany, USC history professor, says Americans remain fascinated by the Kennedy assassination. Kent Germany, USC history professor, says Americans remain fascinated by the Kennedy assassination.
Lee Harvey Oswald, taken into custody and accused of the assassination of President Kennedy, is shot on live TV in police headquarters. Lee Harvey Oswald, taken into custody and accused of the assassination of President Kennedy, is shot on live TV in police headquarters.
Witnesses to President Kennedy's assassination took cover after shots were fired on Nov. 22, 1963. Witnesses to President Kennedy's assassination took cover after shots were fired on Nov. 22, 1963.

By Desirae Gostlin
CAROLINA REPORTER & NEWS

    Many Americans can still remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they learned of President Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. Charles Bierbauer is no different.

     “I was driving home, about a six-mile drive and had the radio on and heard that President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas,” Bierbauer, a University of South Carolina professor and former journalism dean, said. Bierbauer was in high school at the time, but was already working as a journalist for a small radio station in Pennsylvania.

     Even now more than 50 years after President Kennedy's death, Americans are still eager to learn more about those dramatic days in November. Now they can with a new trove of nearly 3,000 declassified CIA and FBI documents made public this week on the National Archives website

     So what has made this national tragedy live on in the minds of Americans?

     “Well the Kennedy assassination is the assassination without end,” Kent Germany, a USC professor of history and the co-editor of the Norton anthology of the Kennedy assassination, "The Kennedy Assassination and the Transfer of Power," said.

     TV news coverage of the assassination and the subsequent conspiracy theories it bred have kept it in the forefront of American minds, at least that’s what Germany thinks.

     “So you take this good-looking president with this young family in this moment of tragedy that people could experience in their living room together," Germany said. "So it became almost this cathartic national experience and I think that created an energy and a foundation that carried forward the Kennedy assassination interest well beyond 1963.”

     But Bierbauer believes it’s not just the assassination that stood out to Americans, but also, what happened to the assassin.

     “Lee Harvey Oswald after having been captured was himself shot and killed and that that took place in front of a live television camera as police were moving him from one holding place to another,” Bierbauer said.

     After studying the assassination, Germany doesn’t think there will be any bombshells in the files, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t innumerable people pouring over the documents to see if Lee Harvey Oswald really was the lone shooter. About 300 additional records  - some that historians were most interested in - were held back by President Trump at the request of the intelligence community. They are expected to be released in the coming months.

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