My first book is currently available at Amazon in both Kindle and print. This story had been running around in my head for many years. My visit to Dallas, Texas and what was the Texas School Book Depository was the catalyst that pushed me to finally write it. As I stood near the so-called “sniper’s perch” I couldn’t connect that space with the “”x” on the street which marked where the target had been.
I remember all too well the day President John Kennedy was assassinated as well as the days that followed. I was ten years old and I saw a man shot on television; a man who subsequently died. No it wasn’t the president. It was the man who was accused but never proved guilty of the crime. Lee Harvey Oswald was 24 years old. All my children are now older than he was when he was gunned down. He had a wife. He had two very young daughters. He was never given the opportunity to defend himself.
I know that President Kennedy was also murdered on the streets of Dallas. He had a wife. He had two small children. He carried the promise of a better America, a peaceful America, and possibly a prosperous America. As an Irish Catholic he was my mother’s hero. He represented what could happen to the child of any immigrant. Perhaps she looked at me and thought maybe someday her child could be president. After the assassination I have no doubt she gave no more thought to that.
I sat with my mother throughout the television coverage of the Presidential funeral. She cried as though a member of our family was being memorialized and buried. It was very disturbing to watch my mother sobbing.
Years later I realized I never saw Oswald’s funeral. When I researched it I was appalled to learn he had no pall bearers. Newsmen covering the event were drafted to assist Oswald’s brother in carrying the casket from the hearse to the grave site. There were no mourning crowds for Oswald. The service was attended by his wife, his children, his mother, and his brother. If he had friends they did not step forward to speak about him. There was no remembering anything good he might have done. Had he been a good son, brother, husband, or father? The implication was that he was a very bad man who beat his wife, disowned his country, and murdered a popular president. Other than that he was a non-entity. It wasn’t until many years later I began to learn more about Lee Oswald. With that came the questions. Had he been the sole assassin? Or had even been part of a conspiracy to kill the president?
Jack Ruby eliminated any possibility of Oswald telling his side of the story. Yes, he had denied shooting the president the entire time he was in custody until his death. Even at the last when he was being coerced to confess he professed his innocence. No deathbed confession from Mr. Oswald, a man who publicly handed out flyers on the streets of New Orleans supporting Fidel Castro; a man who attempted to renounce his US citizenship when he went to the USSR during the “Cold War. This was obviously a man who had no qualms about being in the spotlight for controversial reasons. If he was so anti-Kennedy and had successfully assassinated him why wouldn’t he crow about it? With one bullet Jack Ruby destroyed the opportunity to ask questions that might have provided answers.
The reason’s Jack Ruby gave for his extraordinary actions were as absurd as the act itself. He felt sorry for Jacqueline Kennedy and did not want her to have to return to Dallas for a trial. He did not want people to think Jews were cowards. This might make sense to some people. I do believe most people would find this as illogical as Oswald’s denial of his culpability in the assassination.
All this led to my writing “View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale”. I wondered what might have happened if Oswald had lived to tell his side. Where would we be today? While my book is a work of fiction, drawn from my own imagination and interpretation of events it does raise some interesting questions.
Perhaps someday we will find dusty old files hidden away in a corner of the National Archives. Better yet, maybe somewhere in this wide world someone does know the truth and will speak out providing irrefutable evidence to confirm his story. We can only wait and hope.