52 Years Ago President Kennedy was Assasinated

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States (1961-1963), the youngest man elected to the office. On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, becoming also the youngest President to die.  Do you remember that day?   “I do”


I was in 8th grade that year.  Mr. Whitler was my teacher.  He was also the principal of our little school.  We only had around 18 in our class.  It was right after dinner and we were back in our seats.  The bell had already rung.  I can see it vividly at Mrs. Flaminio, the 7th grade teacher came running in to class almost crying.  She was a short older grandma looking lady with almost white hair cut short and permed.   She wore those metal rimmed glasses all the old people wore.   She was heavy set and wore those dresses that had a waist with the gathered shirt part.  We could tell she was very upset, as every part of her full body was jiggling as she ran in our classroom.  She told Mr. Whitler what that the President had just been shot.  What happened after that, I don’t remember, but I know I watched tv all week end.  We had a portable black and white tv.  I don’t know if their was color tv yet at that time, but I thought we were lucky to even have tv.  He was assassinated on a Friday, so we were off for the weekend.  I don’t think I really understood what had happened, but I was drawn all weekend to the tv.


First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was 46.


I remember, they played that video over and over.  On Sunday, right after we returned home from church, I was watching, and I seen Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald.


I remember all the reporters were in the parking garage, waiting for him to come out and be transferred.  They thought he would be safe their.    Jack Ruby was in the crowd waiting for him and shot him almost point blank.


The coverage on the tv was non stop.  Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President on the plane returning to Washington DC.  Finally the funeral plans were begun.  The whole country was in a state of shock.

The state funeral of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, took place in Washington, D.C. during the three days that followed his assassination on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.[1]

John F. Kennedy's funeral in Washington D.C. November, 25 1963

John F. Kennedy’s funeral in Washington D.C. November, 25 1963

The body of President Kennedy was brought back to Washington and placed in the East Room of the White House for 24 hours.

On Sunday afternoon about 300,000 people watched a horse-drawn caisson, which had borne the body of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Unknown Soldier, carry Kennedy’s flag-covered casket down the White House drive, past parallel rows of soldiers bearing the flags of the 50 states of the Union, then along Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol Rotunda to lie in state.[53] The only sounds on Pennsylvania Avenue as the cortège made its way to the Capitol were the sounds of the muffled drums and the clacking of horses’ hooves, including the riderless (caparisoned) horse Black Jack.[54]


The widow, holding her two children by the hand, led the public mourning for the country.[55][56] In the rotunda, Mrs. Kennedy and her daughter Caroline knelt beside the casket, which rested on the Lincoln catafalque.[57] Three-year-old John Jr. was briefly taken out of the rotunda so as not to disrupt the service.[56] Mrs. Kennedy maintained her composure as her husband was taken to the Capitol to lie in state, as well as during the memorial service.[56]

Throughout the day and night, hundreds of thousands lined up to view the guarded casket.  Representatives from over 90 countries attended the state funeral on Monday, November 25,  The casket was placed on the caisson for the final leg to Arlington National Cemetery for burial.


tumblr_lmzbpvB7OQ1qz99flMoments after the casket was carried down the front steps of the cathedral, Jacqueline Kennedy whispered to her son John, after which he saluted his fathers coffin.  This image taken by photographer Stan Stearns, became the iconic representation of the 1960’s. The children were considered to young to attend the burial services, so this was the time they said good bye to their father.   After the Requiem Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the late president was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

President John F. Kennedy

 The funeral procession of President John F. Kennedy as it goes into Arlington Cemetary in Washington.

At the end of the burial Ceremony , Jacqueline Kennedy lit the eternal flame, that still burns continuously over the grave site.


Jacqueline Bouvier married John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in Rhode Island on September 12, 1953.


They had 2 children, Caroline, born November 27, 1957, and John Jr. Born November 25, 1960.  John Jr, died in a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard on July 16, 1999.  The crash was ruled, pilot error, due to disorientation.  He was piloting a Piper Saratoga, with his wife and sister in law on board.  All perished.  Another son died after birth.  Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born on August 7 1963, 5 and 1/2 months premature.  He only lived 39 hours. Another daughter was still born on August 23, 1956.


Caroline and John Jr. would play many times in the Oval office.  This picture was made famous of John playing under the Resolute Desk, as his father was working.  John called the panel his secret door.


As I was going through papers on History, I came across this information

Lincoln and Kennedy …..Odd Parallels  

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846

John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946

Abraham Lincoln was elected President on 1860

John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960

The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights

Both wives lost their children while living in the White House

Both presidents were shot on a Friday

Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy.

Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners

Both successors were named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.

Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.

Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939

Both assassins were known by their three names.

Both names are composed of 15 letters.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named “Kennedy”

Kennedy was shot in a car called a “Lincoln”

Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a ware house.

Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials

And her’s the kicker……..

A week before Lincoln was shot; he was in Monroe, Maryland

A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.


President John F. Kennedy….Inaugural Speech, January 20 1961


Iwa Jima Monument…Original in Harlingen

Last week The United States commemorated Veterans Day on Nov 11.  We decided here at Eastgate to hold our first ever Veterans Day Breakfast on Sat. Nov. 14th. Here in Harlingen, out by the airport and the Marine Military Academy, is the Iwa Jima Monument.  I decided to check it out.


I had known it was their, but was sure not knowledgeable to what it really was or represented.  My good friend Roberta and I took off and went exploring.


We stopped at the Visitor Center first.  I had pulled up the web site before we left, and just as it said:

Their was the Calico Kitty to greet us at the door….She was just lazily laying in the bushes and came out to greet us.  The Visitors Center is a quaint little building.  The walk is edged with bricks that commemorate different family’s and soldiers.  The door has 2 of the most interesting trees beside it that had obviously been their forever.


By the door was the sign stating the hours of the Visitor Center, and the Statement letting you know that the monument was being maintained entirely by donations.  Then we went in.  I was unprepared for the wealth of information and knowledge that I would find inside.  The first impression, was small rooms cram packed with items.  The first room was of course the gift shop, full of military themed souvenirs, flags, coffee cups, books, t-shirts etc.  Their were several other rooms to the left full of artifacts.  Towards the rear was a door open and I found out they were getting ready to show a 32 minute slide show.  I went in and sat down and the show began.  I had no idea really, what Iwa Jima was really about.  My father and grandfather had served in the Military, but I really had no recent ties with any family members. I learned so much.


Iwa Jima was an island 600 miles from Japan and was only 8.1 square miles.  It was inhabited by the Japanese Imperial Navy.   It was a fairly flat island with a volcanic mountain at one end, Mount Suribachi.  It contained 3 airfields.  As our planes would fly to their bombing missions, they would be attacked by the Japanese. The  United States decided to take the island as it would stop the planes from being attacked as well as a good place for refueling and staging, also for planes that had been damaged in Japanese bombing missions.  The United States then attacked by bombing the island and destroying the landing fields and all the military bases and weapons. On the morning of Feb, 19 1945, the 28 Regiment, 5 Division, landed and was ordered to capture Mount Suribachi.  They reached the base of the mountain on the afternoon of Feb. 21, and by nightfall the next day, had almost completely surrounded it. On the morning of Feb. 23, Marines of Company E, 2nd Battalion, started the tortuous climb on the rough terrain to the top. At about 10:30 a.m., men from all over the island were thrilled at the sight of a small American flag flying from atop Mount Suribachi.


That afternoon, when the slopes were clear of enemy resistance, a second larger flag was raised by five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman:
– Sgt Michael Strank, USMC;
Cpl Harlon H. Block, USMC;
– PFC Franklin R. Sousley, USMC;
– PFC Rene A. Gagnon, USMC;
– PFC Ira Hayes, USMC; and
– PhM 2/c John H. Bradley.

Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal caught the afternoon flag raising in an inspiring Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph.  Little did they know that the 3 day battle would continue for 5 weeks.  This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific of World War II.


The Japanese Army had built over 11 miles of underground tunnel system 4 stories down.  They had installed bunkers, and pill box areas, that opened up to the surface to man hidden artillery, mortars and rockets.  As the Americans would use flamethrowers and grenades to clear the bunkers, the bunkers would be reoccupied by more Japanese as they moved through the underground tunnel system. According to the official Navy Department Library website, “The 36-day (Iwo Jima) assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead.  Of between 20,530 and 21,060 Japanese defenders entrenched on the island, from 17,845 to 18,375 died either from fighting or by ritual suicide. Only 216 were captured during the course of battle. After Iwo Jima, it was estimated there were no more than 300 Japanese left alive in the island’s caves and tunnels. In fact, there were close to 3,000.  Those who could not bring themselves to commit suicide hid in the caves during the day and came out at night to prowl for provisions. Some did eventually surrender and were surprised that the Americans often received them with compassion, offering water, cigarettes, alcohol, or coffee.[35] The last of these holdouts on the island,  were just 2 Japanese solders who lasted 4 years without being caught and finally surrendered on 6 January 1949.[36][37]


When the picture of the flag raising was later released, sculptor Dr. Felix W. de Weldon, then on duty with the U.S. Navy, was so moved by the scene that he constructed a scale model within 48 hours.  He labored for 9.5 years to prepare a working, full sized model from molding plaster. Once the statue was completed in plaster, it was carefully disassembled and trucked to Brooklyn, N.Y., for casting in bronze.


After the three-year casting process, the bronze parts were trucked to Washington, D.C., for erection at Arlington National Cemetery. The plaster working model was moved to Dr. de Weldon’s summer home and studio in Newport, R.I., for storage.


Look at the size of those crated shoes compared to the man



The Building of the Memorial


In October 1981, Dr. de Weldon gifted his original, full sized working clay model to Marine Military Academy in Harlingen Texas, as an inspiration to our young cadets. Other major factors involved in his site selection included:

  • The fairly constant temperature and humidity in Harlingen were ideal for the preservation of the molding-plaster figures.
  • The street facing the memorial was appropriately named Iwo Jima Boulevard by MMA’s founders in 1965.
  • MMA is the only place outside of Washington, D.C., where proper honors are rendered with battalion-size dress blue parades.
  • The Marine placing the flagpole into the ground was a South Texas native, Cpl Harlon H. Block of Weslaco, Texas. Block’s gravesite resides directly behind the monument.

The Iwo Jima Monument was dedicated April 16, 1982 on the MMA Parade Ground.The 32-foot high figures are erecting a 78-foot steel flagpole from which a cloth flag flies 24 hours a day. They occupy the same positions as in Rosenthal’s historic photograph. Hayes is the figure farthest from the flagstaff; Sousley is to the right front of Hayes; Strank is on Sousley’s left; Bradley is in front of Sousley; Gagnon is in front of Strank; and CPl Harlon Block of Weslaco, is closest to the bottom of the flagstaff.


CPL. Harlon Block was killed in action about a week after the photo was taken.  He would never know what his actions would mean to America some day.  He died when he was just 21 years old.  He was buried on Iwa Jima, and later after the war was over he was returned to his family in 1949, and buried in Weslaco.  In 1995, his body was moved to a burial place at the Marine Military Academy near its Iwo Jima monument.  For many of you who don’t know, Weslaco is but a few miles west of Harlingen.  Cpl. Block still has many family members in the area.


This is a bicycle hanging on the wall in the museum.  So many more artifacts, guns, ammo and pictures are on display.  Finally Roberta and I went across the street to walk around the Monument.  It was massive when you walked up close.  The area is such a well groomed park.


In between the monument and the road is a large grassy area used for Military Parades in Formation.  By the road is several large sections of stadium seats.


As you walk up close to the monument, I could see how well it is taken care of and preserved.  I was immaculate.  Clean and Fresh.  They have to continually care for the monument as it is the original clay monument.


Their is such detail to the sculpture.  As you walk around the back side of the monument, you’ll see a walking area with many trees.


Right in the middle is the grave of CPL. Harlon H. Block USMC.  A Beautiful wreath has been placed at his grave site.


Behind his grave is small brick patio area with a fire pit in the center.  Benches surround the pit.  This is the Flag Retirement Facility….


Such a beautiful area to Retire a Flag with Honor….


This is the view looking north….The Fire pit, CPL. Blocks Grave, and the Monument………Beautiful…..Many of the bricks through all the walkways have been engraved with names of Veterans….


This was the end of a Wonderful and Inspiring Day.  This was a pamphlet we picked up.  Every year, they Celebrate Cpl. Blocks Birthday.  He would have been 91 this year.  They also hold the Veterans Day Parade.  Next year I hope to see it……As the Generations grow, I think we forget and never understand what our Veterans of all the wars went through.  This are things that we must keep the future generations educated about.  War is different these days.  Our generations don’t understand or know some of the fierce devastating battles our fore fathers experienced.

Please support Our Veterans and All Our Military….If Not for Them, We Would NOT Have The Freedoms We Have Today

On Saturday we honored Our Veterans in the Park.   After our breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy,  I gave a short speech on the Iwa Jima Monument, and CPL. Block.   I called them 1 by 1.


After each name, I also called their branch of service.  They got up to go to the stage with a giant hand of applause.  Each one was given a huge hand of applause…..So heart warming.  You could just feel the emotion, unity, respect and appreciation fill the room.  We took pictures and then had a drawing for the Vets only.


One of the park residents Steve, had made 7 blankets and 1 pillow with Military themes.  Each Veteran was given a ticket.   After the drawing, a resident suggested we sing………. God Bless America…..What a Special Emotional Moment….Many left with Tears in their Eyes…

God Bless America….Home of the Free & The Brave

Great Time on a Segway and Seen a Terrific Raptor Show

Were been back at Eastgate now almost  a month already.  The weather has been so nice and warm. 80s’ and 90s’.  We’ve had some rain though.  We have been very lucky in Harlingen, as their has been much more rain to the east and west of us.  Many of the drainage ditches have overflown and homes have been flooded.  So far the new position is going well.  My official name is Event Coordinator.  I have been checking out some great things to do.  Sunday we are car pooling to the Local Theater to see a play of “Steel Magnolias”……Last Wed, I went on a Segway Tour of Harlingen.


I have always wanted to do it.  We were at Don Wes Flea Market, last year, when the were advertising, and they let me stand on one.  It is balanced by a Gyro inside.  It stands on its own.  It is really easy to do.  This company has tours through out the Rio Grande Valley including South Padre Island.  I had attended a convention for Activity Directors and was able to sign up for this tour, so we could take our experience back to our Parks and book tours with a fabulous discount.


Check out our helmets…..lol….

Our guide, Rachael, gave us some great instructions and was very patient with training us.  She also had an assistant, John with her.  He was awesome also.  He always followed us to make sure we were all safe.  After about a half hour of instructions and training we took off for the 1 1/2 hour ride through historical down town, focusing on the many murals.


I didn’t take to many photos of the murals as I was a little nervous to take my hands off the handles.  Sure didn’t want to fall off and make an A***** of my myself……lol….Our first stop was a fabulous garden center, Grimsell’s Garden Center.


It was so pretty, It had beautiful patios, and gardens.


I heard some birds tweeting,  I sounded so pretty, so as I walked through, I came upon a garden with a cage of parakeets…..They were so happy enjoying the gentle breeze and singing happily.


Their cage was on a set of wheel barrow wheels. That way they can wheel them in at nite and bad weather.  They are well taken care of and obviously so happy.


I continued on enjoying all the beautiful plants on display, and for sale.  Such a beautiful, soothing and relaxing atmosphere in the middle of town.  PARADICE


Next, back on the Segway’s for another mural.  This building is all the windows and downs painted.  Its is different and a departure from the other murals.  An artist actually has a shop their.


On we go to Harlingen Lake.  It was huge, right in the middle of town.  I hadn’t seen it before.  It has awesome walking trail around the lake with many grassy areas.  We rode the walkways halfway around, and then got off to rest.  We had the opportunity to either rest or go play on the grassy hills nearby.  It was time to rest my feet as I think you stress your muscles at first.


Several of us just sat and relaxed, enjoying the beautiful breeze from the lake.  This is a picture of Rachel (Owner) and John.  We had them pose for it.   Nice advertisement….lol…I want to give them all the plugs I can…lol….


Onward to the Library.   They had a beautiful Plaza area.  The emphasis was obviously on books….The gorgeous arch, was structured with books.


Some had rather comical names.  One of them, as you would be standing under the arch staring up was named….”Looking Up”…..lol


This was a cool statue of Thomas Edison.

12242728_10205027847603556_343139502_o12242221_10205027845723509_944901624_nTime to get back on…


.Rachael  and John were always their to help us get on.  So patient


One of our last murals was down town.  The Lady from the Visitor Center welcomed us and took our picture.  Finally it was over and back to the parking lot.  It was a blast.  The next day I called Rachael and have scheduled 2 tours for our park, one for this Wed. and another in Dec.  I hope they have as much fun as I did.

We also had a Birding Convention in town.  The RGV is a huge birding area.  So many kinds, as we are on the main migratory areas.  They held Bird walks all over during the week, even going over 50 miles away.  For the weekend they had a great show at the convention center.  I went with my Good friend Roberta, who is a permanent resident of the park.  She has 2 birds…..”Maui” a beautiful Macaw, and “Love Love” a cockatiel that has broken hips.

They are awesome birds. Roberta found many books and contacts on birds.  They offered many trips all over the world, even New Zealand for Birding. People come from all over the world for these Birding conventions.   But my favorite was the Raptor Project.


The Raptor Projects is an extraordinary and outstanding array of eagles, hawks, falcons and owls that have won the rapt attention of enthralled audiences throughout the nation. Presenting almost 1000 educational programs to over 10 million people annually, The Raptor Project leads the way in outstanding, top quality, professional wildlife education. Featuring 15-20 raptors from diverse habitats at each presentation, these dynamic fierce predators capture hearts of both young and old.


Jonathon asked a little girl to feed meat to the eagle. She wasn’t even afraid

The Raptor Project founders, Jonathan and Susan Wood of New York’s Catskill mountains have assembled a traveling collection of feathered predators that is unrivaled in scope and size anywhere in the world. Jonathan Wood is a Master Falconer and Wildlife Rehabilitation, bringing unique insights, observations and humor to his exciting, riveting, nationally acclaimed shows.


This Owl was so beautiful. At first he looked stuffed…lol…but He was real

Many of the birds in About Johnathan Wood - BiographyThe Raptor Project have
permanent handicaps and have been donated to his project by crowded wildlife centers around the country because they were unable to be re-introduced to the wild. Some faced euthanization and now have been tamed and trained to educate the public as charming ambassadors of their species and the environments they inhabit. Jonathan and Susan Wood and their staff operate the organization from a beautiful 14 acre, private facility in New York’s Catskill mountains. All birds are housed, exercised and cared for in spacious, state of the art aviaries.


Jonathan Wood works with birds in a wide rage of sizes. From small falcons and owls weight 3-4 ounces to majestic eagles with 6-8 foot wingspans. He is honored with 35 years of handling experience and has produced and presented The Raptor Project to over 10 million people… up close and personal!


These birds were so awesome to see in person and close up.

It has been a fast month already.  Time is flying by and its all most Thanksgiving.  We are doing our final plans on that now.  Thanksgiving menu will consist of 7 Turkeys, 2 roasters of Dressing and 1 roaster of Gravy.   Were on the cooking committee, Well rather Rich is, I will be doing other stuff.  Sure isn’t my forte…..lol….Till next time, which I have a Great Article on Veterans Day to write next, I will leave you a picture of Kitty in the shower…..He loves to drink the water…..lol12233369_10205026521490404_1724181842_n