Payton Perspective: Remembering JFK 60 years later – it’s time for the public to have all the facts

(Left) President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at Love Field, Dallas, Texas. (Right) Witnesses lay down in the grass immediately following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Bill and Gayle Newman cover their children, Clayton and Billy (hidden) at left. Photographers, including White House Motion Picture Photographer, Lieutenant Thomas M. Atkins (right), film in center. Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Credit: Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

By Allen D. Payton, Publisher

While I usually focus on matters in Antioch and Contra Costa County, on this 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I’m compelled to share my thoughts and views.

That’s because, for all of my life, the government has been lying to us about his assassination on November 22, 1963, and it angers me to this day that we, the American people, still don’t know everything about it, the facts and truth. I was born just five-and-a-half months before and I’ve always felt a connection to him, even though as a baby I knew nothing about JFK, his presidency, policies or life, I’ve taken it upon myself to read and learn about him and that fateful day in American history.

I’m angered by JFK’s assassination, which was clearly a conspiracy, as well as the ensuing coverup and whitewash of the Warren Commission Report. They’ve tried to tell us there was a single gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone, and a single, pristine bullet tore through both Kennedy and Governor John Connally’s bodies. But the testimony of so many eyewitnesses, many of whom were ignored by the commission and excluded from its report, has told us otherwise.

Views of the grassy knoll, the rail line and triple underpass to the west in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza from the seventh floor of the Texas School Book Depository building on Dec. 11, 2020. Photos by Allen D. Payton

A few years ago, my mother and I flew to Dallas to attend my youngest niece’s wedding, and the day before I made it a point, for the first time, to visit Dealey Plaza, the site of the horrible event, as well as the Sixth Floor Museum inside the Texas School Book Depository building. I toured, saw the displays, watched and listened to the videos and found it most interesting that the southwest corner windows were covered with black shades preventing people from looking down upon the infamous grassy knoll. It’s as if they don’t want folks to question the official narrative. So, my mom and I went upstairs to the seventh floor where events are held, walk to the corner and lift the shades to look down upon the place where it’s clear the kill shot was taken.

Views of the Texas Book Depository building from and of the second X on Elm Street, and the grassy knoll and fence on Dec. 11, 2020. Photos by Allen D. Payton

While there, I also stood in the middle of Elm Street on the second X on the ground marking the location where Kennedy was riding in the presidential limousine when he was struck in the head by gunfire. I looked up at both the corner of the Sixth Floor perch of at least one gunman, and over to the grassy knoll and fence above it that still stands to this day.

I walked to the back of the fence that so many people, including a few police officers, ran towards, after at least four shots were fired – including one that struck the front window of the limousine. That fence is the location where people said they saw a puff of smoke rise under the trees and at least one witness said he saw a man take apart a rifle and hand it off to another man in a suit who quickly walked away. As I stood there, as one of my sisters and my eldest niece, who had arrived and joined me in Dealey Plaza, stood nearby, I was moved by emotion realizing that was the place where our president’s life was taken with the fatal headshot. That emotion turned to anger.

Views from behind the fence atop the grassy knoll in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza and the second X on Elm Street on Dec. 11, 2020. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Whose president do the powers that be think he was? Whose government do they think this is? We the people, that’s who! For too long, too many have sat idly by and allowed them to lie to us, cover up their evil deeds and hope we’ll all just go on with our lives – which is what has happened – and maybe even forget. But I won’t. Many people won’t. While I applaud former President Trump for releasing most of the remaining JFK Assassination records, he failed to fulfill his promise to release them all.

As a November 21, 2018 report on reads, “…despite the 25-year deadline established by the 1992 JFK Records Collection Act, not everything came out. Citing national security concerns, President Trump then elected to halt the release of some of the remaining classified files for an additional six months. Now that deadline has passed, and it’s still unclear how many records (or portions of the records) still remain under wraps, whether they will be ever released in full, and what—if any—new information they may contain.”

At that time, sources estimated “some 21,980 documents, totaling more than 368,000 pages, are still being withheld in full or in part” and “through a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the (National) Archives itself put the total number at 22,933 documents (or 442,606 pages).

Since then, President Biden released over 1,000 records in 2021 and earlier this year he “declared that he has made his ‘final certification’ of files to be released, even though 4,684 documents remain withheld in whole or in part. Going forward, agencies will decide any future disclosures that may be warranted by the passage of time. Of roughly 320,000 documents reviewed since the law passed, 99 percent have been disclosed, according to the National Archives and Records Administration. But 2,140 documents remain fully or partially withheld as a result of Mr. Biden’s action…” (See JFK Assassination Records)

But the fact is many of the records “were partially or mostly redacted”. So, we the people still don’t know what’s in them.

Members of the Kennedy family, officials and dignitaries attend graveside services in the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy as honor guard pallbearers lift the casket flag. Credit: Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Who after 60 years could they possibly be trying to protect? Some of our federal government institutions? We’ve already learned we can’t completely trust them. Powerful individuals or their reputations? I say too bad. We have a right to know all the facts and see all the documents related to the events and individuals leading up to, involved in Kennedy’s assassination, and who participated in the cover up after the fact. No more soft-pedaling, no more waiting. The next president must issue an Executive Order and release the remaining documents and we the people need to make it an issue in next year’s campaign.

It’s long past time for the lies and coverup to end. It’s time we the people get to know all the facts and truth, and if some of the people are still alive, bring them to justice because there are no statutes of limitation for capital murder – and should never be for the murder of our president.

the attachments to this post:


View of Dealey Plaza grassy knoll from Sixth Floor Museum 12-11-20

Dealey Plaza view from behind fence 12-11-20

Dealey Plaza view from & of Elm Street 12-11-20

Payton Perspective logo 11-2023


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