Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

November 22, 2013

50 YEARS LATER

JFK memories still fresh & chilling

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

Is JFK remembered? Fritton’s grandson knew the young president appealed to young America and JFK said, “Ask not what  your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Fritton, wonders, “What would our world, our country and our lives would be like today if Kennedy was still among us.”

•••

Steve Walsh of the Town of Lockport was in music class at DeSales High School when the announcement came over the loud speaker that Kennedy was shot. The ninth-grader was in shock then. Today he wonders if there was a conspiracy and is convinced the United States would not have been trapped the Vietnam quagmire had Kennedy lived.

Walsh, who attended Niagara County Community College before being drafted into the Army in 1970, has researched Kennedy’s commitment to a war in Southeast Asia and concluded, “If Kennedy had not been assassinated, we would not have been in Vietnam.”

Walsh pointed to National Security Action Memorandum 263, dated Oct. 11, 1963 that stated that 1,000 U.S. troops (Advisors) would be withdrawn by Christmas and there would total withdrawal from Vietnam by 1965.

Col. L. Fletcher Prouty of the Joints Chief of Staff released the document four days after the assassination of JFK. That revelation was shocking to Walsh, a retired optician.

•••

Bonnie Tarajos of Lockport was a student at Roberts Wesleyan College studying nursing when the news of the assassination came over the television. Several students boarded in a building which was owned by a husband and wife. 

“We sat on floor in living room watching TV,” she recalled. “We were all crying and upset.”

Bonnie bought the Rochester newspapers revolving around the historical event and saved them for memories.

•••

Carol Covell, who lives on Saunders Settlement Road, will celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary next Friday. Carol and Jack went on their honeymoon in Washington D.C. a week after the assassination. Although it was not part of the original honeymoon plans, they visited JFK’s grave at Arlington Cemetery and saw the eternal flame. 

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