JFK Lancer 1998 Scholarship Winners
Teacher of the Year
Education and The Legacy of JFK
What is the wind that rustles the leaves of an autumn tree? What are
the shadows in the twilight of day? What is the ocean as it rolls to
the shore? What makes the mountain stretch to the sky?
The answer to these questions rests with you and I.
On the thirty-fifth anniversary of the murder of the thirty-fifth president
of the United States, the mysteries and beauty of life share much in
common with the life and death of John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy
enjoyed the process of living; he drank from the full cup of our human
nature; he supped at the table of natural experience; he reveled in the
application of our ability as human beings to define and gibe meaning
to our existence. He saw us as thinking and creative creatures in a wondrous
For President Kennedy art and poetry provided the essence of life, while
intellectual rigor and knowledge based on reason and the laws of the
physical universe, provided the boundaries which define the truth of
Of course tying JFK's entire view of the human experience together would
be the President's love of history as a great teacher and storyteller.
On poetry and the essence of life, President Kennedy spoke of Robert
Frost less than one month before his death:
"This was the special significance of Robert Frost. He brought an
unsparing instinct for reality to bear on the platitudes and pieties
of society. His sense of the human tragedy fortified him against self-deception
and easy consolation. "I have been,"
he wrote, "one acquainted with the night." And because he knew
the midnight as well as the high noon, because he understood the ordeal
as well as the triumph of the human spirit, he gave his age strength
with which to overcome despair. At bottom, he held a deep faith in the
spirit of man, and it is hardly an accident that Robert Frost coupled
poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from
itself. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds
him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts,
poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must
serve as the touchstone of our judgment.
The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes
the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against and
intrusive society and an officious state."
At the University of California at Berkeley in 1962, when speaking of
knowledge and science, JFK said "We must strive to acquire knowledge
and apply it with wisdom." And again "The pursuit of knowledge
itself implies a world where men are free to follow out the logic of
their own ideas." And finally in that same speech our young President
spoke of the vagaries of history:
"The processes of history are fitful and uncertain and aggravating.
There will be frustrations and setbacks. There will be anxiety and gloom...
Yet we can have confidence today in the direction in which history is
moving. Nothing is more stirring than the recognition of great public
purpose. Every great age is marked by innovation and daring - by the
ability to meet unprecedented problems with intelligent solutions. In
a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge
is power; for only by true understanding and steadfast judgment are we
able to master the challenge of history."
Unfortunately President Kennedy recognized, as must we all, that there
are great enemies arrayed against the truth, knowledge, wisdom, and the
beauty of the human experience. Of these enemies JFK identified, in a
speech at Yale, one of the greatest enemies of all, and I quote:
"For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie - deliberate
contrived and dishonest, but the myth - persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy
the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
Ironically myths, the enemy of the truth, have been used as a weapon
by President Kennedy's personal enemies not only to cover up the identity
of the true killers behind his assassination but also their motives.
I'm sure that President Kennedy would identify the struggle of so called
conspiracy theorists or history buffs as warriors or artists fighting
the enemies of truth as those enemies wield their weapons of myth.
We are engaged in a great war, and the spoils of that war, which shall
go to the victor, are not only the ideals of the human experience --
truth and history -- which JFK valued so highly, but the truth behind
the circumstances of his murder.
Is this perhaps a melodramatic overstatement of our contemporary world,
which JFK did not live to see? I think not! If you can kill the President
and get away with it, you can do anything you want. It's not an accident
that the ideals so ably expressed by JFK of how government and those
in government should conduct policy, is now in many ways the direct antithesis
of those policies.
Since the death of the President, we the people have seen a long list
of atrocities conducted by the national security state against humanity.
The sacrificial altar upon which JFK's body and reputation has been laid
is the Rosetta Stone to understanding all that has transcended since
those bloody days in Dallas.
We begin with the murders of the witnesses who held little pieces to
the mystery of JFK's own murder, men like Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig
and woman like reporter, Dorothy Killgallen.
And then as we follow the bloody trail of dead witnesses, the years cascade
one upon another in a long line of injustice, murder, mayhem, and corruption,
conducted not only against the American people, but many other people
of the world - notably the third world. Here is but a short list, and
I am sure an incomplete one, of the horrors that have been visited upon
us and others since the death of our beloved president.
1. The death of millions of Southeast Asians and 56,000 Americans
2. The assassination conspiracy of Martin Luther King
3. The assassination conspiracy of Robert F. Kennedy
4. The FBI's war against the Black Panthers and the murder of leaders
like Fred Hampton.
5. The FBI's war against the American Indian Movement and the death of
Anna Mae Aquash
6. The Watergate scandal and the deaths of Dorothy Hunt and those aboard
United Flight #553
7. The Congressional cover-up of J.F.K. and M.L.K murders called the
House Select Committee on Assassination
8. The October surprise and the treasonist theft of the White House
9. The shootdown of Korean Airlines Flight #007
10. The downing of Pan Am #103
11. The shootdown of the Iranian Airbus
12. The illegal sales of weapons to Iraq including biological and chemical
weapons to Sadam Hussein
13. The torture and murder of Panamanian hero, Dr. Hugo Spadafora
14. The deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in the Contra War on
15. The illegal invasion and deaths of thousands of Panamanians
16. The illegal sale of crack cocaine in American cities
17. The illegal gun and drug smuggling through Mena Arkansas
18. The deaths of the boys on the track - Don Henry and Kevin Ives
19. The slaughter of hundreds of thousands in the unwarranted war called
20. The cover-up of Saddam's use of chemical and biological weapons against
American troops called Gulf War Syndrome
21. The murder of Vickie and Sammie Weaver at Ruby Ridge
22. The downing of TWA Flight #800
23. The murder of Vince Foster
24. The slaughter of the Branch Davidians
25. The real story behind the Oklahoma City bombing
I think the record is clear: in an America based on JFK's ideals and
policies these events could never have happened. Let us not forget, when
the pressure to invade Cuba and the missles of October were readied to
unleash a world-wide holocaust, one man resisted the advice of his warlords
and pulled the world back from destruction. Again, it was JFK's love
of life, his commitment to knowledge and truth, and his understanding
of history, that equipped him like no other man, to have saved the world;
for that, friend and foe alike of JFK owe him a debt of gratitude.
And what of these foes of JFK who continue to assassinate his character
and continue to conduct an assault against his memory and ideas? Using
the weapons of myth, disinformation, and misinformation, deliberate lies,
and falsification, they weave their webs of treachery attempting to confuse
a nation whose sense of outrage has been deadened by years of the crimes
of the national security state and its secret government. JFK's death
and all the other victims of the National Security State cry out for
truth and justice.
Their war has been carried to the research community, and all who seek
the truth have been marginalized by double speak and labels like conspiracy
buff or conspiracy theorist. Once again President Kennedy's inaugural
address calls us to citizenship and demands courage from each of us.
The depravity of JFK's enemies are legion in their war against truth.
Here are but a few examples of their heinous work. Here is a book which
blames the victim for being a victim, JFK didn't want anyone on the limousine:
Death of a President . Here is a magazine which attaches a floating head
to an anti-gravity body: the cover of Life magazine, February 1964." Here
is the Zapruder film full of sprouting trees, frozen bodies, magical
movements and mysterious blobs: Image of an Assassination. Here is a
photo of a disappearing wound: "The Fox Photos." Here is a
picture of a magic bullet: "CE 399." Here is a book to rival
Grim's Fairy Tales: The Warren Commission, and here is Grim's Fairy Tales
volume II: Cased Closed. Here is U.S. News and World Report's devotion
to fairy tales: "Cased Closed"
U.S News and World Report 9/6/93. Here is Newsweek's attack on Oliver
Stone and the movie "JFK" Newsweek 12/23/91. On the thirty-fourth
anniversary here came The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymore Hersh. Here's
a really fine piece of work just issued by former HSCA investigator Gary
Cornwall called Real Answers. Finally, in the ultimate in blame the victim
book, Live By the Sword by Gus Russo, not only is the murder of JFK blamed
on the victim and his brother, but the Warren Commission mythology is
laid at the feet of Bobby Kennedy who is charged with not only misleading
the investigation by covering up his own criminal activities which led
to his brother's death.
No matter how hard they try, the Macbeathian stain of JFK's martyred
blood continues to soil their desperate attempts to hide the truth. The
research community is winning, the Assassination Records and Review Board
is winning, the American people are winning, the warriors and artists
for truth are winning because they are following President Kennedy's
dictums regarding existence, knowledge, and the scope of human history.
How do you tell an enemy of President Kennedy? Easily, if they have honestly
studied this case and still tell you Oswald did it, you can be sure they
are not one of the good guys.
The ultimate answer then, my friends in search for the truth of President
Kennedy's death, lies in the search itself, for it reaffirms the value
of JFK and it confounds his enemies. Those of us who follow this path
help to bring light to the darkness, and we bring ourselves to the poetry
of JFK's beloved Robert Frost and a true commission with the beauty of
the human spirit and life itself.
And what of the future? Must we continue the struggle? JFK would expect
that we must; he would expect that we should, in his words,
"bear any burden and pay any price."
Thus, we must continue to research; we must continue to educate and teach
those who are victims of the myth makers who rise from the legions of
JFK's enemies, and for those of us who are professional educators, we
must continue the battle in the classroom. Thus, it will be that the
future generation of Americans who depend on us to hand down their true
historical heritage will be empowered to seek the world President Kennedy
envisioned. In summary, I leave you once again, with the words of President
Kennedy: "I do not know whether the Battle of Waterloo was actually
won on the playing fields of Eton. But it is no exaggeration to say that
the struggle in which we are now engaged may well be won or lost in the
classroom of America."
In closing, my friends: What makes the mountain stretch to the sky? The
answer to this question rests with you and I !
Gardner, Gerald. The Quotable Mr. Kennedy. Popular Library Eagle Books
Edition, June, 1963. Harrison, Mureen and Steve Gilbert. John F. Kennedy
Word for Word. Excellent Books. La Jolla, California, 1993.
Sorensen, Theodore C. Let the Word Go Forth. Delacorte Press,1988
Student of the Year
What the JFK Presidency Means to Me
The presidency of John F. Kennedy is the best tool for examining the
exercise and structure of power in recent history. From the way Kennedy
could manipulate reporters with his personality, to, more importantly,
the way the media ultimately manipulated the public perception of his
death, the exertion of journalistic power is prominent in every aspect
of the Kennedy legacy. The assassination and cover-up also provide an
excellent framework for the examination of the power structure for clandestine
The assassination and cover-up are perhaps the best example in modern
history of how easily public opinion can be formed through the exertion
of power. When the leader of a country is assassinated, and the material
evidence provided defies common sense, and yet the explanation is widely
uncontested, an amazing manipulation has taken place.
The first step in the study of the death of JFK is to examine the event
itself. Though it is possible to deduct from the Warren Report and mainstream
media coverage that a cover-up has taken place, it is impossible to determine
the exact nature of the deceit. A detailed inquiry into exactly what
happened and how it was covered up is necessary before any inquiry can
be into which factions were at work.
Trying to determine which factions are at work in the death of JFK is
the most difficult and time-consuming part of understanding the assassination.
There is a popular misconception among people who doubt the validity
of the single bullet theory that either
"the CIA" or "organized crime" or "the Cubans" killed
Kennedy. Researching the assassination not only shows the impossibility
of any one of the mentioned factions doing everything concerning the
assassination and cover-up, but also shows the impossibility of making
clear distinctions between the factions of clandestine America.
The difficulty in distinguishing between these factions requires that
an immense effort be put into understanding the underlying power structure.
The Kennedy assassination is perhaps the easiest place to see all of
the elements of the same power structure working together in a precise,
calculated, and amazingly effective way.
Recognizing this power structure and attempting to understand its capabilities
leads to the aspect of the assassination that interests me the most,
which is the manipulation of the public. The nature of the media conglomerate
and the feasibility and relative ease of dominating public opinion are
some of the most frightening things our society has ever had to deal
It is this aspect of the Kennedy assassination that concerns me because
it presents fundamental problems in public awareness of the things that
are objectively horrible. Although I am extremely worried about the power
structure that still exists in America, I am more concerned with the
fact that anyone who questions the validity of the cover of Life magazine
is labeled a "conspiracy nut."
The Kennedy presidency, even with the countless books written about it,
is still the presidency the country understands the least. Attempting
to understand the process that took place in order to produce this deceit
is the aspect of the Kennedy presidency that means the most to me.