by Roy Hodge
During all that has been going on since the chaos of the Marathon bombing in Boston, I have been thinking about another tragic event that played out over several days during the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
President Kennedy was fatally shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas while in a motorcade with his wife, Jacqueline, and Texas Governor John Connally and his wife.
As well as the assassination itself, other prime stories developed, and like the assassination, some of them were shown live on television. We were glued to our television sets from Friday afternoon until after JFK’s state funeral on Monday and beyond.
Dallas Police Department Officer J. D. Tippit, according to the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, was shot and killed by Oswald less than an hour after the assassination of President Kennedy.
On Sunday, two days after assassinating President Kennedy and Officer Tippit, Oswald was being led through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters while being transferred to the county jail when local nightclub operator Jack Ruby stepped from the crowd and shot Oswald.
Ruby was convicted of Oswald’s murder, appealed his conviction and death sentence and was granted a new trial. As the date for his new trial was being set he became ill and died of lung cancer.
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“Sweet Caroline” is a soft rock song which was written and performed by Neil Diamond and officially released on June 28, 1969. In a 2007 interview, Diamond revealed that the inspiration for “Sweet Caroline” was President John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, who was eleven years old at the time.
Diamond sang the song to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007.
“Sweet Caroline” has been played at Boston’s Fenway Park since at least 1997, and has been played in the middle of the eighth inning since 2002.
April 16, 2013, the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, the New York Yankees, longtime Red Sox rivals, announced that they would play the song during their home game, preceded by a moment of silence.
Major League ball parks around the U.S. paid tribute to those affected by the Marathon bombings by playing “Sweet Caroline” over the loud speakers at their ball parks.