By Ahmet Abdulaziz….
Way back in 1963, when I was about 8 years old, I heard the news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the then President of the USA. It was perhaps the first time in my memory that I had come across such an event. Maybe I had never heard of murder or killing before. My father was a subscriber of Time and Life magazines, in those days, and I had always been more interested in LIFE since there had been larger and more photographs in their stories.
So I came to know about the assassination of President Kennedy from the photographs of the “Life” magazine. Indeed, I followed the story in the subsequent issues of both Time and Life magazines. Though I was in primary school at that time, and my English was not too good, yet I am sure I used the photographs in the Life Magazine to understand properly the story written thereunder.
As the time passed by, I continued following the story and came across the names of Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and many others.
Why I am writing all this now is the fact that on 22nd November this year, 58 years have passed since this important incident. In other words, I can say that the news coverage and photographs relating to all these, perhaps unintentionally, led me to the world of journalism.
In my mind, I still see the photographs relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy on 22nd November 1963, and the subsequent events, as they unfolded over the years. I can still remember the photographs from the motorcade of the president, where he was sitting in the back seat with Jacqueline in a pink dress. I still see her instant reaction when her husband was shot, and she tried to hold him, as the car was still moving. I can see how an agent tried to climb up from the back side of the car of the president, and how Jacky was extending her hand.
I remember the very popular photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, standing proudly with his rifle in his hand. I still have in my mind a very clear map of the scene of the shooting, starting from the window from where Oswald had fired the gunshots, till the exact location of the motorcade of the President. There were many photos about Jacqueline Kennedy in her blood-stained pink dress, not to forget those of John Conolly, the then Governor of Texas, who too was in the same car, and was seriously wounded.
However, there still are two more photographs, relating to the same incident, which are still very fresh in my mind. The first one is that of Lyndon B. Johnson, the then Vice President, who was sworn in as the President, the same day when Kennedy was assassinated, aboard Air Force One at Love Field, Dallas, with his wife on one side and Jacky on the other. The other photograph in my mind is that of Jack Ruby.
Jack Ruby was the owner of a nightclub in Texas. He shot Lee Harvey Oswald on 24th November 1963. The police were taking away Lee Harvey Oswald, to the court, when all of a sudden Jack Ruby came out from among the journalists and other onlookers and shot him point-blank. Oswald died on the spot. That was the anti-climax of the Kennedy assassination incident.
I remember there was a photo in which Jack Ruby was shooting at Oswald. In another one, Oswald was shown crying in pain, and holding his stomach, immediately after being shot by Jack Ruby.
There were indeed many more photographs relating to that particular incident, which are still fresh in my mind even after 58 years. I wonder if all these photographs still keep my love for journalism alive in me.