Home » General subjects. Excelsior, you Fathead! » JEAN SHEPHERD — KENNEDY assassination Part 4

JEAN SHEPHERD — KENNEDY assassination Part 4


JFK photo

Recorded below, from my EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!:

 A portion of Shepherd’s eulogy

given the night he returned to the air after

the non-stop news coverage of the

Kennedy assassination and funeral.


“I remember the first time I heard about Kennedy, and I suppose many of you remember… I’ve always been a Kennedy man. And–for probably different reasons than you can always state–how you like a certain person–very hard to know all the personal things that make you lean towards a man–make you believe in a man, and so on. The one thing that I have always noticed about Kennedy, that appealed to me specifically, was that Kennedy was a realist. And being a realist in today’s world is very dangerous. Because realism is not a thing that is easily accepted by Americans in the 1960s. And I always felt sorry for Kennedy because I recognized the fact that Kennedy did not give people a soft pap that most of them somehow wanted–on both sides of the political fence…”

[Shepherd talked about Kennedy’s intelligence, humor, zest–all of which make people nervous.

He talked about the problems of being a president in a democratic system.]

AR 8255-3D



“Here was just this little, simple grave–and–it was just a hole in the ground–there was this little, simple bronze coffin. And there was a quick shot, which they cut away from, I don’t know whether you saw this or not–but it was one of the most poignant shots of all. It was a little moment after the funeral party had left Arlington and–the cars were winding back up the drive over the bridge, back over the river to Washington. And the four soldiers were still standing guard over the grave. You saw  coming down from the lower left hand corner, two workmen. did you see them? dressed in overalls? Just two workmen with baseball caps, and they were coming to do the inevitable.”

John_F_Kennedy_eternal_flame_after_2013_upgrade_-_2013-05-30(Eternal flame, 2013)

“And I have a–tonight I have a feeling inside of me–there is a great sense of–apprehension–I suppose you might say–a kind of feeling of–I hate to say fear, because it’s not that clearly defined. It’s a kind of free-floating thing–a strange unreasonableness–a fanaticism that brought about this unbelievable weekend–is not only still around but is slowly beginning to grow in this land.”

JFK photo



1 Comment

  1. The apprehension Shep said he felt as a good way to describe the feeling I had. Though I must say that the fanaticism he mentions was there long before the Kennedy killing. Lincoln was killed by a fanatic. the three other presidents who were killed by bullets were killed by lone people bearing personal grudges or felt victimized by the government and personalized their anger to the president. Here I think Shep missed the mark by not capturing the unique history of American, having lost four presidents and nearly lost three others to assassin’s bullets. I would have like to hear his take on the violent currents that run so deep in our history.

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