Those who are under 50 years old probably will not know that Parkland was the name of the hospital in Dallas, Texas where President John F. Kennedy was taken after his assassination. That day was November 22, 1963. I remember the day very well myself, but there were several details in the film which I had not known.

President JFKCredit: Google


Actual footage was shown throughout the story which added to the heightened interest I had in this film. The story moved back and forth quickly from Parkland Memorial Hospital to the Secret Service offices, to the Oswald family, to the photographer who had taken the only moving film of the fateful event. When the name Abraham Zapruder was mentioned, I knew immediately who that was. He was the amateur photographer, and the Secret Service went immediately to his office to ask for the film. When Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) hesitated, the official said “I am no longer asking.”

Some poignant scenes were viewed when it was revealed that Lee Harvey Oswald had a brother Robert, a decent man with a wife and two children, who was drawn into the humiliation of admitting to the Police that he was Oswald’s brother. Marguerite Oswald, Lee Harvey’s mother, was portrayed as a somewhat unbalanced character who believed that her son was a secret U. S. spy who was wrongfully accused of killing the President. Being in a somewhat impoverished state, she demanded that the government should provide a new home for her and her daughter’s family, away from Dallas and the possible dangers to them.

                                                        Lee Harvey Oswald ShotCredit: Google                                  

                                                                 Lee Harvey Oswald Shot

An interesting point was raised. One FBI agent had Lee Harvey Oswald under surveillance for 18 months prior to that tragic day for his strange subversive activities. Oswald had even visited their offices the previous week threatening to blow up the building. He was within their grasp and nothing was done. It was astounding to learn that the agent was ordered to destroy the dossier they had on Oswald after the killer himself was shot.

The Emergency Room scenes were quite bloody as the young medical team struggled to save Kennedy’s life. Young Dr. Jim Carrico (played by Zac Efron), in the absence of his superior, was called upon to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to his patient by pressing on his chest with both hands for a lengthy time. He finally had to be told to stop after the meter showed that the patient’s monitor had flat-lined. It seemed that all of the medical personnel had blood on their clothing from their efforts. Marcia Gay Harden, who played the nurse in charge of Trauma Room 1 was shown denying entrance to Oswald when he was brought in. He was sent to a different room; she did not want him in the room where President Kennedy had died.

      LBJ Sworn in as PresidentCredit: Google                                              

                                                     Lyndon B. Johnson Sworn in as President                                                           

Our world was never the same after John F. Kennedy died. He had brought so much hope and youth and vigor to the country, inspiring young men to be involved in politics and to devote their lives to the service of others. Those of us who lived through those times know that a comparable national hero has not emerged since then.

The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
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