Guest Historian Gerry Shannon says, What if an assassination attempt on JFK simply never happened? If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Todayinah site.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy, along with his wife, Jacqueline, complete a successful visit of the city of Dallas, continuing Kennedy's tour of the southern States in the run-up to his re-election campaign in 1964. Incident Along Motorcade Route by Gerry Shannon
Speaking later that day before the Dallas Trade Mart, Kennedy would draw attention to America's future role in both economic and world affairs:
"Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed.
But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom".
Meanwhile, in a bizarre sidebar to the Kennedy visit, Dallas police officials are alerted to an apparent suicide by a male employee at the Texas School Book Depository - which occured moments after Kennedy's motorcade left Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas for the Trade Mart. (When asked by a reporter later, Kennedy admitted he thought he heard " what sounded like a firecracker" when heading to the Trade Mart, before then expressing his condolences to the man's family).
The body was quickly identified of that of Lee Oswald, a former Marine, who recently defected to Russia and had returned to the States. Oswald had sought employment at the Depository, after being recommended there by a friend.
Speaking to Hugh Aynesworth of The Dallas Morning News, Depository manager Roy Truly, clearly shaken, said: "He [Oswald] seemed to be the only one not interested in the President's motorcade... I thought he seemed more distant then usual. That was Lee, he tended to keep to himself. But you sure as hell don't expect him to then go blow his head off".
Dallas police officials said Oswald apparently shot himself through the head with a 6.5 mm caliber Carcano rifle, Oswald's ownership of which they were still trying to determine.
It is thought Oswald's suicide came about after a recent dispute with his estranged Russian wife, Marina. In what is seen by many as a result of the goodwill of the President's visit, donations to the widow and her two children pour in all over the city of Dallas; most notably from a local club owner (who wished to remain anonymous) who donates the weekend profits of his club, The Carousel.
In 1972, President Richard Milhous Nixon appoints the former 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (pictured), as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. Nixon Appoints Irish Ambassador by Gerry Shannon
It is an appointment that barely surprises anyone, Kennedy was long rumoured to be keen for the role following his visit to his ancestral home in 1963 during his sole term. (Kennedy relinquished the Presidency to his Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson in early 1964 due to serious health concerns).
In a statement to the press, Kennedy said: "Though Ireland is not country I was born in, it is the one I hold dearest in my heart. It will be both a tremendous honor and privilege to to serve both countries in the utmost capacity, I am deeply grateful for President-elect Nixon for this opportunity".
The irony of his praise for Nixon is noted by many in the press, given their close election battle in 1960 - and Kennedy's gratefulness was later seen during his support for Nixon during the Watergate crisis.
In his memoir The Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics, Hubert Humphrey, the defeated Democratic candidate of 1968, would say he had it on "good authority" Kennedy believed Nixon would win the election, and as such, Nixon promised him the post if Kennedy made barely any campaign appearances on behalf of Humphrey. (It was then-rumoured Kennedy was bitter Humphrey defeated his brother, Robert, in the bitterly-fought Democratic primaries).
Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline bring tremendous glamour to Irish public life, residing in the American embassy in Dublin but his unprecendented nine-year tenure is best remembered for Kennedy bringing his brilliant diplomatic skills to the table during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. His willingness to engage politicians and representatives of parliamilitaries on both sides draws praise from all quarters, and only heightens the worldwide perception of Kennedy as a peace-maker.
With the Irish peace process having been cemented with the passing of the historic Anglo-Irish Agreement, many rightfully feel it is Kennedy's achievements during that turbulant era that inspired - and ultimately led to - lasting peace and the permanent ceasefire of terrorist activities that remains in place today.
In 1965, in his re-inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy places strong emphasis on foreign issues that influence the lives of everyday Americans and their responsibility to the world they inhabit:Watchmen on the World
"We in this country, in this generation, are--by destiny rather than choice--the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, good will toward men.' That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: 'except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.'"
Historian Robert Dallek notes in his biography, John F. Kennedy: A Life Well Lived, that the lines are in fact taken from a little-known speech that Kennedy did at the Dallas Trade Mart in late 1963. The speech was given during a re-election tour of the Southern states, which many say was pivotal to Kennedy winning a considerable margin of the popular vote. (A feat that had just barely escaped him in the 1960 election).
Indeed, many would later percieve Kennedy's speech as a sign of further emphasis on peace-making during his second term, as demonstrated by his later clashes with the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the gradual withdrawl of troops from Vietnam - and sending low level envoys to the Cuban government by mid-1966. Not to ignore his considerable domestic achievements, such as the passing of the 1966 Civil Rights Bill - and major economic incentives to combat poverty and unemployment).
However, all of these threatened to be overshadowed in the twilight of the Kennedy administration, when the President was struck gravely ill in June 1967 due to long-standing back troubles - forcing Lyndon Johnson to temporarily assume the presidency for over three weeks while Kennedy underwent emergency treatment and a quick recovery. So shocking was the revelation of Kennedy's major health issues and the numerous ailments to treat them (even long before his career in the House of Representatives), that the threat of impeachment loomed large at the outset of his presidency.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.