How did people react to the JFK assassination? What was the atmosphere in America like when people f… by Tony Garcia
Answer by Tony Garcia:
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, shocked a nation from its post-World War II slumber and nascent fears of nuclear annihilation to a sense that its collective infancy was truly over. A handsome, buoyant, intelligent man who, unlike previous presidents, was born in the 20th century, had inexplicably been gunned down. His death left a presidency fallowed and the psyche of a nation left to ponder the “what ifs” of a now uncertain future.
For the first time in history, Americans eschewed newspapers and remained glued to their television sets, as the horror and immediacy of the event demanded attention—and answers. Disparate accounts of the assassination fueled doubt in the official verdict of responsibility for President Kennedy’s death and, later, distrust in the institution of government itself.
A nation consumed by inexorable grief would awaken to learn that lies and betrayal were as much a part of American policy as stemming the spread of international communism.
From that November day in 1963 to September 11, 2001, no singular event had caused time to seemingly stand still for the American people. The United States was not officially involved in any war at that time; few people outside the intelligence community had ever heard of al-Quaeda or Osama bin Laden, and fewer still seemed to care about the crises in the Middle East, save for spikes in gasoline prices.
The attacks that September morning on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon quite literally stunned the populace. They brought geopolitics to the forefront of a nation complacent in its role as the hegemonic military and political force in the world, and introduced the word “terrorism” into the common lexicon, whereas heretofore it had been regarded solely as an act committed by third-world extremists to appease their particular source of all moral authority.
As the death toll from the attacks rose, the stench of massive numbers became too mind-numbing to absorb; civilians simply did not die as a result of terrorist acts in the United States, notwithstanding Timothy J. McVeigh’s psychotic “message” to the government—the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
A nation would now be less consumed with grief than it was with revenge: an ongoing war in the Middle East, a curtailment of civil liberties in the United States, and a growing predisposition toward self-righteous indignation and the rejection of reasoned discourse.