By Gerry Moran
Last week The Kilkenny Observer made for interesting reading regarding the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, on November 22, 1963. I found the article: ‘25 facts about that fatal day in Dallas’ quite engaging. I think it’s fair to say that people my age (elderly folk!) are intrigued by Kennedy’s assassination because prior to 9/11 it was the most historic event we lived through plus it is still a mystery as to who actually killed Kennedy: conspiracy or did Oswald act alone?
One fact that struck me was at the time, 60 years ago, the assassination of a President was not a federal offence and if Oswald had not been shot by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner, he would have been tried in Texas where JFK was killed. Meanwhile, following is a list of uncanny coincidences associated with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the first Catholic President of the United States.
Both were elected to congress in ‘46: Lincoln, from Illinois, was elected in 1846 and Kennedy, from Massachusetts, was elected in 1946.
Both were elected to the presidency in ‘60: Lincoln was elected in 1860 and Kennedy was elected in 1960
Both have seven letters in their last names (Lincoln and Kennedy).
Both were concerned with civil rights: Lincoln felt strongly that all slaves should be freed and issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which legally freed all slaves. Kennedy was concerned with racial equality and was the first to propose what would be the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Both married in their 30s to women in their 20s.
Both lost a son while living in the White House: Lincoln lost his 11-year-old son, William and Kennedy lost his infant son, Patrick.
Both sons’ names, William Wallace Lincoln and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy have 21 letters each (with each first, middle and last name having seven letters).
Both were shot on a Friday: Lincoln was shot on Good Friday April 14, 1865 and Kennedy was shot on Friday, November 22, 1963.
Both were shot in the head.
Both were shot in the presence of their wives.
Kennedy was assassinated in a Lincoln car made by Ford – John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre
Both were assassinated by Southerners: Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth from Maryland and Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald from New Orleans.
Both presidents’ successors were named Johnson: Lincoln was succeeded by Andrew Johnson and Kennedy was succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson.
Both were succeeded by Southerners: Andrew Johnson was from Tennessee and Lyndon B. Johnson was from Texas.
Both successors were born in ‘08: Andrew Johnson was born December 29, 1808 and Lyndon B. Johnson was born August 27, 1908.
Both assassins, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, are known by their three names. Each assassin’s full name is composed of fifteen letters.
Booth ran from the theatre and was caught in a warehouse. Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theatre.
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials: John Wilkes Booth was shot by trooper Boston Corbett. Oswald was assassinated by Jack Ruby while on his way to the county jail on November 24, 1963.
Most of the above is true. Some folks, however, believe that the list provided a way for people to make sense of two tragic events in American history suggesting that it is relatively easy to find meaningful parallels relating any two people or events. Really? Some parallels is all I’ll say.
P.S. Buddy Starcher wrote a song recounting many of these coincidences between the two presidents’ careers and deaths entitled ‘History Repeats Itself’. It became a US Top 40 hit for him during the spring of 1966, and reached Mo. 2 on the Country Chart. Cab Calloway also scored a minor chart hit with the song that same year.