It was a monumental and historic task the Warren Commission undertook 10 months ago and completed last week. The quest for every available shred of evidence surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy led each member of the panel to Dallas. On the spot there FBI agents re-enacted the murder, lining up an open limousine under the cross hairs of the actual rifle used by the assassin. All over the U.S. 15 staff lawyers followed up leads, aided by the full investigative forces of the U.S. and, in Texas, by state and local authorities. More than 20,000 pages of testimony were taken-the panel’s 296,000-word report is itself only a summary of two-dozen 500-page volumes.
The major significance of the report is that it lays to rest the lurid rumors and wild speculations that had spread after the assassination. It also confirms the basic facts assumed since that tragic Nov 22: that Lee Harvey Oswald did it, alone, and that Oswald in turn was killed not in any dark conspiracy to silence him but by another individual, Jack Ruby, who acted entirely on his own. Beyond this, the report adds a welter previously unknown detail about the deed and the labyrinthine trails that led to it.
On the following pages, a member of the Warren Commission Representative Gerald Ford of Michigan, tells how he and his fellow members carried out President Johnson’s mandate to satisfy themselves ‘that the truth is known as far as it can be discovered.’ Accompanying his exclusive article and illuminating its points is the split-second sequence of color pictures-taken as the bullets struck-some of which previously published in Life’s special memorial edition to President John F. Kennedy...
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