(CREATOR'S NOTE: This certainly is not a new idea but I want to play this out and take this forward. I plan to be pretty in depth and start with...)

CHAPTER ONE - For the Love of Dallas

President John F. Kennedy is wanting to seek reelection in 1964 but most of his New Frontier Agenda is stalled in Congress. As Kennedy and his political advisers are preparing for the next presidential campaign about his chances for re-election. At the end of September, the President and his campaign advisors, turn towards the West, arranging for him to be speaking in nine different states in less than two weeks before and right after Thanksgiving. The trip(s) are meant to put a spotlight on natural resources and conservation efforts. But JFK also used it to sound out themes—such as education, national security, and world peace—for his run in 1964.

It's decided the first trip will be a tour of Texas' major cities, to reportedly heal a rift with Governor John B. Connally, Jr. and U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough. However, underlying, is an attempt to bring Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson back into the New Frontier's orbit of influence. On November 21st, the President touched down first in San Antonio. Vice President Johnson, Governor Connally, and Senator Yarborough lead the welcoming party. They accompanied the President to Brooks Air Force Base for the dedication of the Aerospace Medical Health Center. Continuing on to Houston, he addressed a Latin American citizens' organization and spoke at a testimonial dinner for Congressman Albert Thomas before ending the day in Fort Worth.


November 22nd called for a rally in Fort Worth outside his hotel, then a flight to Dallas for a motorcade, address the Trade Mart, then fly into Austin for a motorcade, a fundraising dinner at the Austin Municipal Auditorium, and finally a reception at the Governor's Mansion hosted by Governor Connally's wife, Nellie.


As the First Lady of Texas, Nellie Connally had gone to great lengths to prepare both the Sam Houston bedroom for the President and the Pease bedroom for the First Lady as they were adjoining. The Governor and the First Lady also had a surprise for the President and First Lady. Known privately to cope with back problems from his WWII injuries in the South Pacific, the Governor and First Lady had a set of Texas-made rocking chairs, rather comfortable, made for the President and First Lady that was padded by cowhide and leather. They sat on the upstairs East Porch with a yellow bow on the First Ladies chair and a regal blue on the Presidents'.


After speaking at an impromptu rally in front of the hotel that morning, the Presidential party left the hotel and went by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field, President and Mrs. Kennedy disembarked and immediately walked toward a fence where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered, and they spent several minutes shaking hands. One reporter jots down even though a few Confederate flags and homemade Goldwater signs are evident that the President is not afraid and displaying it to the world.


Meanwhile, the motorcade has assembled slowly behind them. A car driven by a Dallas police officer will lead the motorcade. Following him are two groups of motorcycle officers who will form a flying wedge to keep curbside crowds off the street. Next is a white Ford driven by Chief Curry. Riding with Curry is Secret Service Agent Winston Lawson, who has coordinated security. In the backseat are the county sheriff and the head of the Secret Service branch in Dallas.

Five car lengths behind is the presidential limousine, a midnight blue custom-built 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible. The car weighs nearly four tons and is over twenty feet long. It averages less than five miles per gallon. The limousine was flown in the evening before on a cargo plane and guarded overnight by police. Governor Connally and his wife, Nellie, sat in the middle jump seat. The President and First Lady climbed into the backseat. The rear seat is raised by a hydraulic lift so that it rides several inches higher than the jump seat in order to give the people of Dallas a better view of the president. At the rear corners of the limousine are four motorcycle officers. Their main job is to keep the crowds from surging forward toward the president. Traveling directly behind the limo is the Secret Service car: a nine passenger 1955 Cadillac convertible with running boards for the agents to stand on. Behind the Secret Service car is the vehicle carrying Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, a light grey 1962 Lincoln Continental Convertible. Finally, there are other cars bringing up the rear of the motorcade and carrying congressmen, Mayor Earle Cabell, and other officials. Two press buses are at the very back. As the procession gets under way, the motorcade spreads out over ten blocks.


The First Lady received a bouquet of red roses, which she brought with her to the waiting limousine. Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, who had received a received a bouquet of yellow roses (the Texas state flower) were already seated in the dark blue open Lincoln limousine convertible as the Kennedys entered and sat behind them. Since it was no longer raining, the plastic bubble top had been left off. Vice President and Mrs. Johnson occupied another grey Lincoln limousine, two cars behind, in the motorcade along with Senator Yarborough. The procession left the airport and traveled along a ten-mile route that wound through downtown Dallas on the way to the Trade Mart where the President was scheduled to speak at a luncheon.


Mrs. Connally half turned towards the President and remarked, "Mr. President, you sure can't say Dallas doesn't love you." She heard the President reply, "No...No, you are correct Mrs. Connally. The love is definitely evident."


In the Vice President's limo, it was not as cordial, as the feud between Johnson and Yarborough started to flare up again. Yarborough poked the Vice President by saying, "It looks like a new frontier here in Texas. See all these people cheering, Lyndon?" The Vice President who deridingly referred to Yarborough whom he loathed, condescendingly as Senator SFB or "Senator Sh*t For Brains, said back, "Senator SFB, the reason these people are cheering is because they are Texans. And Texans....real Texans are proud and patriotic." Mrs. Johnson tried to interject and stated, "Well it's wonderful weather and the people sure love both the President and you Lyndon." Yarborough said, "Well you are half-right Lady Bird." The Vice President glowered and said, "And you are a half-wit, so I can see why you do not see the full connection SFB!" An uncomfortable silence enveloped the ride and Secret Service Agent Rufus Youngblood couldn't wait for the motorcade to get to the Trade Mart.


The President's limo had just made a wide turn off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m., headed towards the on ramp of Stemmons Parkway which would zip them right over to the Trade Mart, a mere few minutes away. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository, gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza. Right at the moment of the first shot, one of the President's police escorting on motorcycle backfired and the President turned, leaning his body a few inches to the left and at the same time felt a sting and sharp blow in his neck that was searing hot and painful. A second shot rang out as the First Lady started to reach out towards the President in fear, towards her and got a fright when Governor Connally yelled out in sharp pain. The third shot burst into the President's shoulder, yelling out and he instinctively ducked while simultaneously being pushed down by Secret Service Agent Clint Hill came flying over the seats, grabbing the hold of Governor Connally's jump seat for leverage. The convertible limo seemed to stall briefly then gunned and lurched forward as the motorcade began to speed off.


Governor Connally recognized the first shot as a rifle shot. He said he immediately feared an assassination attempt and turned to his right to look back to see the President. He looked over his right shoulder but did not catch the President out of the corner of his eye so he said he began to turn back to look to his left when he felt a forceful impact to his back. He told reporters later, "I immediately, when I was hit, I said, “Oh, no, no, no.” And then I said, “My God, they are going to kill us all.” He looked down and saw that his chest was covered with blood and thought he had been fatally shot. Then he heard the third and final shot. He feared for the President's life and yelled back, "Jack...Jack, are you okay?" He heard a distinctly Boston brogue say, "I'm hurt but we'll get out of this somehow, John."


Mrs. Connally saw her fellow Texans diving and covering their children and a tear formed at the edge of her eyes. She heard her husband groan and she said, "Hold on John. We are going to get you to some help. John don't give up on me!" Then over the roar of the wind as they raced along she heard the words, "Taking Lancer (Kennedy) and Angus (Connally) to Parkland....Repeat Parkland. Lace (Mrs. Kennedy) and Yellow Ribbon (Mrs. Connally) are secure." and knew they were headed for the nearest possible hospital. She stared back in her crouching position and looked at the First Lady. She calmly said, "Jackie....Jackie....if you can hear me it will be alright. We are going to get somewhere safe."


Mrs. Kennedy was stunned. She saw the blood splattered on her pink and blue outfit. Her white gloves were stained as well. She heard the groaning of both her husband and the Governor. She felt like jumping up to try to flee from the scene. She suddenly locked with Nellie Connally's eyes. She heard the reassuring tone of her name, spoken with the same firmness and tone of her mother in Mrs. Connally's voice. She heard the words "We" and "Safe" and somehow that and the sudden arrival of Agent Hill calmed her just enough. She wanted to still jump until she heard a very familiar voice say, "Jackie....uhhh let's get through this here now, okay?" Then she heard the President cough and saw him wince in pain. She covered him and forgot the noise and the fright and just thought back on happier times.


Meanwhile, inside the Trade Mart, all of the businesses are closed. Police are stationed at all entrances, corridors, balconies, and stairways. They are also watching the meal preparations in the kitchen. Seventy plainclothes cops are also on duty, and many of these will be dispersed among the luncheon crowd. It's not just the police who are providing security. Civilians have also been pressed into service. The local newsman who filmed the attack on UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson has been invited to the presidential luncheon. He has also been asked quietly, secretly, to keep an eye out for anyone he might recognize from the Stevenson incident, and to immediately report them to the FBI or Secret Service. Outside, dozens of police officers are on high alert. Cops are also posted on nearby rooftops. Despite the heavy security, a small handful of determined protesters has arrived from the Dallasbased Indignant White Citizens Council. Each person is carrying an antiKennedy placard: YANKEE GO HOME; KENNEDY, KING, AND CASTRO; and HAIL CAESAR. Some of the signs have small Confederate flags attached to them. The protesters have pieces of tape over their mouths: "To show that we are being muzzled," says U.S. Congressman Bruce Alger (R) who chose to stand outside with the protestors. Alger, a bit of a pariah, wore a button saying "LBJ Sold Out to Yankee Socialists!"

Meanwhile, at the Trade Mart, J. Erik Jonsson, president of the co-sponsoring Dallas Citizens Council was handed a note, breathed a heavy sigh, and approached the podium. Carefully he said: "“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?” Jonsson said. “There has been a delay in the arrival of the motorcade. There has been a mishap. We do not know the extent of it or the exact nature. We believe from our report that we have just received that it is not serious. We hope you will keep your seats. As soon as we have something to tell you, believe me, we’ll do it.”

As the limousine sped towards Parkland Memorial Hospital roaring past the Trade Mart as it veered off Stemmons Parkway, Agent Clint Hill looked down. President Kennedy was in great pain from the bullet that struck him in the shoulder and upper back, and he believed that the rib had cracked when Hill pushed him down into the convertible limousine. When Hill looked down, he saw the President had coughed up bright, frothy blood.

Hill also shuddered when he heard fellow Agent Youngblood saying, "Tell Parkland to prepare for Volunteer (Johnson) as well...Victoria (Mrs. Johnson) and Don Quixote (Sen. Yarborough) are secured. Repeat alert Parkland for Volunteer (Johnson)!"

Surely a Texas Twister was fixing to descend on Parkland Memorial Hospital.

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The Saga Continues....
(CREATOR'S NOTE: I hope you all will start replying and giving me feedback. I hope you have enjoyed it so far. ACP)

CHAPTER TWO - Lancer, Angus, Volunteer Down


Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon, Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Labor Secretary W.W. Wirtz, Secretary of the Commerce Luther Hodges, and Secretary of the Agriculture Orville Freeman as well as other administration officials like White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger are on a Boeing 707 used for the Tokyo trip was Aircraft 86972, one of the presidential jets. Each of these planes had a White House code book for radio transmissions to and from Crown (the code name for the White House). Rusk was curious about one radio message, relayed by Salinger, from someone code-named Stranger, on the question of whether to proceed to Dallas or Washington. For about five minutes they searched for the plane's White House code book, but it was not to be found. "We have to know who Stranger is," Rusk said, as they didn't know at that point what was happening in Dallas or who the government was. The decision was made to break the code procedure and find out the identity of Stranger. It turned out to be Major Harold R. Patterson of the White House Communications Agency, an officer whom Salinger knew well.

Patterson looked at Rusk and said, "What do you say, Mr. Secretary?"

Rusk said, "Let's turn back for D.C. With the President and Vice President incapacitated, our government currently rests in the hands of two tottering octogenarians!" Rusk was referring to Speaker of the House John W. McCormack (D-MA.) and President Pro Tempore Carl Hayden (D-AZ.). Rusk was known to neither like nor be liked by either man.

McCormack, Hayden, along with U.S. Congressmen Carl Albert (D-OK.), Carl Vinson (D-GA.), and U.S. Senators Olin D. Johnston (D-S.C.) were entertaining newly appointed U.S. Senator Nancy Kefauver (D-TN) who had been appointed to succeed her late husband, Estes Kefauver, the corruption muckracker who had passed away of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Governor Frank G. Clement (D-TN) wanted to appoint a placeholder and was going to appoint an ally so he could run for the seat. However, President Kennedy who initially planned to name her as the first head of the Art in Embassies Program. Instead Kennedy leaned on Clement to appoint Kefauver to the vacant Senate seat and appointed former New York First Lady, Mary Norton Harriman, wife of Kennedy's Ambassador to South Vietnam, former Governor Averell Harriman (D-NY). Kennedy felt the Scottish-born and bred Mrs. Kefauver would be more pliable to the New Frontier's goals then one of Clement's hacks. Privately, those close to Kennedy say he never forgave Clement for double crossing him and seeking the 1956 Vice Presidential Democratic nomination when Kennedy and Kefauver battled, so spectacularly. Dr. Martin Sweig, an administrative aide and Edmund Fitzgerald, the administrative assistant to the House, had joined them for lunch.


Suddenly, Secret Service Agents appeared in the House Cafeteria. An aide slipped McCormack a note that until the condition of the President and Vice President were determined, he was the de facto head of government. The frail Senator Hayden was his second in command. He was told the Cabinet was racing back to Andrews AFB. The agents suggested the entire group come with them to a secure location.

"My God, My God, what are we coming to," McCormack exclaimed. Nancy Kefauver sobbed suddenly into a lace handkerchief sobbing, "Keef...Keef...oh I need you so." Meanwhile Vinson chomped on an unlit cigar and said, "Olin, it almost feels like the day we heard about that dark day in Warm Springs." Johnston nodded his head saying, "I feel inadequate to comment on how I feel at this moment for myself and for our nation."

Meanwhile in Dallas it was sheer chaos.



The Presidential limousine screeched to a halt under the awning. Followed closely behind by the Vice President's convertible. The President, maybe due to loss of blood, had collapsed into his wife lap. Governor Connally had been lifted up and onto a stretcher and raced into the Trauma Room # 2. Mrs. Kennedy sat there trembling and looking down at the President's bloodied but still breathing body. Suddenly, she was stirred simultaneously by the words of Agent Hill saying, "Mrs. Kennedy....Mrs. Kennedy we need to get the President inside!" The urgency of his words were broken by the sudden flash of a second gurney rushing by. Mrs. Kennedy saw Lady Bird and heard her say, "Hang on Lyndon," and it broke her from her haze. "Get him inside now, Clint." said the First Lady suddenly firmly and with a strong voice. The President was lifted onto a stretcher and wheeled inside with the First Lady in tow.



As they were wheeling the President in, Agent Hill saw Agent Youngblood and said, "Rufus, what happened to Volunteer?" Youngblood looked shell shocked and said, "One minute he was talking and the next minute he turned blue in the face." He murmured something and I repositioned. It was when Mrs. Johnson screamed I knew something was wrong with the Vice President!" Agent Youngblood had broken protocol by not using the Secret Service codenames but in the moment it didn't matter. "When we got him out of the car, he wasn't breathing," said Youngblood trailing off.

"What are you saying, Rufus?"

"I'm saying he wasn't breathing, Clint!"

Julian Read, the Press Secretary to the Governor of Texas, joined by Governor Connally's son by his side, who was an aide to Read stepped up in a makeshift room to make an initial statement to the press.

As reporters were yelling questions, Read began his statement by saying, "At this time, President Kennedy and Governor Connally have sustained wounds from what we believe to be an attempted assassination...." As Read read the statement, the images come flooding back: the crowds lining the street; people hanging out of windows to catch a glimpse of the president and his wife; and then, as they drove past the School Book Depository, the pop, pop, pop of the rifle discharging from a sixth-floor window. Read continued on, "The first shot rang out and [Mrs Connally] feels quite sure it did hit the President. Governor Connally turned immediately to see what happened and as he turned he was struck. The President, according to Mrs Connally, tried to lean down but slumped and Mrs Kennedy grabbed him. A moment later Governor Connally slumped and Mrs Connally grabbed him."

Earlier, Read had arrived from the Trade Mart. When the bullets struck the motorcade he first thought it was a motorbike misfiring until he saw people rushing about on either side of the road, and a police motorcycle "scurrying up the grassy knoll". The presidential car disappeared and Read says he wasn't sure what had happened. "Everybody on the bus was asking what was going on." They pulled up to the Trade Mart but didn't see the Presidential car. Merriam Smith of the wire service United Press International [UPI] broke the news that the President and Governor Connally had been shot and potentially Vice President Johnson by commandeering a phone from a staff member in the press pool car. Sent through at 12.39pm, it read: "Dallas, Nov. 22 (UPI) -Three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas." "But," Read says in his book, "[Smith's] initial report carried no detail of the seriousness of the injuries." When they arrived at Trade Mart, the reporters that had been travelling in the bus with Read descended on a bank of phones in the lobby. Read ran to the head table to talk to Erik Jonsson, founder of Texas Instruments, who was hosting the meal and who would later become the city's mayor. As he did so, he passed tables of guests, dressed in their business attire.


Read felt it was the eeriest, eeriest feeling, running into that room and hearing the anticipatory murmur of a crowd waiting for something to happen. He ran up to Erik and said I didn't know for sure but that we thought something had happened to the president - that he may have been shot. He was standing on the podium and he just stared down at me. It could have only been three or four seconds but it seemed like forever. And Jonsson said, 'I think we'll wait a few minutes.' I found out later that after I'd left he turned to the minister who was there to give an invocation and asked him to say a prayer. Read says the murmurs turned to whispers. Some people began crying as the news spread. Others, helpless, milled around. As he walked out of the room, Read noticed a waiter picking up the empty plate from the table where the president was to sit, and with a napkin, he wiped away a tear.

Read saw a friend in her car outside theTrade Mart building and asked her for a ride to Parkland Hospital which housed the nearest emergency room. He was surprised to find a back door to the hospital was unlocked. Read collared a nurse and asked her to take him to Gov Connally. That's when he found Nellie Connally sitting in the hallway outside the trauma room, her head in her hands. Just a few feet away from her sat Jackie Kennedy. Next to her was Lady Bird Johnson, tapping her feet, and staring down the hallways. Read says none of the women were speaking. Read could not overcome the unreal scene of the three wives, absolutely alone in the dark corridor, silently awaiting the fates of their husbands. Nellie and Read stood up and walked down the corridor, so they could talk quietly. She told him that she didn't think Lyndon Johnson would make it.

"Was he shot too," exclaimed Read.

Nellie bit her lip as she caught a glance of Lady Bird.

"No I think it's his heart. I think poor Lyndon heard those shots and in someway, in his state, in a trip he long fought for, his poor old heart just gave out," said Connally.

Then, Read and Nellie drew a rough sketch of the seating arrangement in the limousine. She looked away as she described the sickening experience of feeling blood splattering and sprinkle the interior of the limousine following the final shot at the President. He was also well aware that the press pack would descend on the hospital imminently and start asking questions.


Suddenly, Read was jarred back to reality when a reporter asked Read about the Vice President's condition. At that point, the Assistant White House Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff walked into the room. Read stepped back as Kilduff stepped up and read a statement.

"President Kennedy has sustained serious wounds from an attempted assassination. One of the most serious wounds is to the President's subclavian artery as well as suffering a wound to the neck, fractured collarbone, a cracked rib, and a bruised lung. As Governor Connally's wounds go, a bullet entered the back of the Governor's chest to the left of his right armpit. This bullet struck the fifth rib and shattered it, actually stripping away about 10 cm. of bone starting immediately below the armpit. The right lung was severely lacerated. The bullet exited from the anterior chest, causing a large sucking wound about 5 cm. in diameter just below the right nipple. There was an atypical entrance wound on the dorsal (back of the hand) side of the Governor's wrist and an atypical exit wound on the volar (palm) side. The radius (wrist bone) had been broken into about seven or eight pieces from the passage of the bullet. There was a 1 cm. puncture wound located on the Governor's left thigh some five to six inches above the knee. X rays revealed a small metallic fragment embedded in the left thigh bone, the femur...." Kilduff then steeled himself for the next words he had to speak. "At approximately 1:00 PM, CST, Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson died of an apparent coronary thrombosis. That's all the news I have to report at this time."

The shock was like a stun grenade going off and for a brief second, there was a moment of silence, and Read felt a tear form in his eye. Read went immediately to where he had seen the women before. Both were gathered around Lady Bird Johnson, sitting stunned in a white coat and matching hat, "Lyndon dead....it can't be. Lyndon oh not Lyndon." Meanwhile, Mrs. Kennedy held Mrs. Johnson's hand and said softly, "I can't imagine something worse," even though deep down she knew losing her husband would be more traumatic. Mrs. Connally who worried about her own husband half hugged Mrs. Johnson who was a fellow friend of many years. "We all loved him Bird. He was just Texas through and through," said Mrs. Connally.

As Mrs. Connally consoled her friend, Mrs. Kennedy stepped to the side and wrote something hastily. On it she wrote, "My thoughts have been with you constantly since being told the full truth today," it read. "I am overwhelmed beyond words. Jack and I grieve for you and your daughters and pray that God will sustain you and give all of us the courage and wisdom we need in this dark hour in our nation's history." Kennedy said to Read, "Give this to Mrs. Johnson at some point. Maybe it will give her some comfort." At that point, an aide came to gather Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Connally to take them to another room. As they walked away they heard sad shrieks as Mrs. Johnson began to wail. All of a sudden, she recovered, jumped up and started walking away. "I must go get the girls. I don't want them to hear it from anyone else other than me." And with that, surrounded by Secret Service Agents, Mrs. Johnson departed the hospital.


She paused only slightly when she saw a hearse draw up from Oneal Funeral Home. Lady Bird paused and thought, "What will I do?"


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Meanwhile in Viet-Nam

U.S. Ambassador to South Viet'Nam, Averell Harriman, was sleeping in his quarters on the morning of November 21, 1963 when he heard the thud of artillery rounds. The aged diplomat opened his eyes and raised his head slightly. He heard more thuds. He slowly raised up. His wife, Mary, didn't seem too concerned.

"Ave...what do you think is going on, darling?"

"Probably some tin pot Colonel didn't receive the Grand Knight Cross of the National Order of Vietnam. So he's launched a coup to make himself President or something. At least things were quieter with the Nhu Brothers," said the Ambassador of the recently deposed and murdered despotic President Diem and his brother, Nhu, his closest advisor, who had been killed a little less than 20 days previously, with the covert support of Harriman and the Kennedy Administration.

"Maybe the Dragon Lady is back to breathe fire," said Mrs. Harriman rolling back over and pulling up the cover around her shoulder in an obvious snarky comment about Nhu's widow who was in exile but had vowed vengeance on the Kennedys and the Harrimans.

"Well my dear, do you wish me to be Saint George to your Margaret the Virgin," said the Ambassador as he padded to the window and lit a cigarette. He stared outside as he drew in breaths of the acrid smoke while staring out towards where the fighting seemed to be coming from. Harriman noticed it was in the direction of the Newport Bridge, (Cầu Tân Cảng), about three miles (five kilometers) from the city center. The Ambassador decided to pad into his office. There he had a secure line and he called Lucien Conein. Harriman knew this French-born C.I.A. agent would know what was going on.

"Bonsoir, monsieur l'ambassadeur. A quel plaisir dois-je cet appel?" said Conein smoothly in his French. Harriman, fluent in a number of languages replied, "Mon cher ami, j'essaie de m'adapter au tonnerre et aux éclairs que ces indigènes asiatiques semblent apprécier." Laughing at the response, Conein switchly just as smoothly into English and stated, "It's General(s) Khánh and Thieu who have decided to remove General(s) Đôn and Minh. Also the ARVN Special Forces is seeking revenge for the executions of General Tung along with his deputy and younger brother, Lê Quang Triệu." The Ambassador knew the Special Forces were specially trained by the United States and asked, "Will they succeed?" Conein replied dryly, "We shall see by tomorrow afternoon, but honestly, we must find a unifying force fast and soon. Or this nation will be the domino that topples the whole of Southeast Asia."


Before dawn on 30 January, Khánh surrounded the military headquarters at Tân Sơn Nhứt Air Base. Meanwhile, Generals Don and Minh had overslept and were unprepared. Despite this, by daybreak, Khánh had taken over the government without a shot having been fired. In his first radio broadcast on the same morning, Khánh assailed the MRC's performance during its three months at the top. He said, "The political, economic, and social situation in the countryside still offers no promising prospect. There has not been one single compensation worthy of the sacrifices accepted daily by the soldiers."

There were only two fatalities from the coup. General Trần Văn Đôn and Captain Nguyen Van Nhung, under whose care, Diem and his brother had been savagely executed and killed during the previous coup. There was initially confusion as various conflicting reports of Nhung's demise surfaced, one source telling journalists that Nhung lived in a cottage within the grounds of Minh's villa and shot himself outside his house.

Meanwhile, Nhung and Don had been arrested. Khánh enacted retribution against Đôn. Khánh arrested both, claiming that they were part of a neutralist plot with the Việt Cộng and taken to Đà Lạt. The generals were interrogated for five and a half hours, mostly about details of their coup which were already known, rather than the original charge of promoting neutralism. The court deliberated for nine hours, and when it reconvened for the verdict, Khánh stated, "We ask that once you begin to serve again in the army, you do not take revenge on anybody." The tribunal then "congratulated" the generals, but found that they were of "lax morality", unqualified to command, and "lack of a clear political concept".arrested both, claiming that they were part of a neutralist plot with the Việt Cộng and taken to Đà Lạt. The generals were interrogated for five and a half hours, mostly about details of their coup which were already known, rather than the original charge of promoting neutralism. The court deliberated for nine hours, and when it reconvened for the verdict, Khánh stated, "We ask that once you begin to serve again in the army, you do not take revenge on anybody." The tribunal then "congratulated" the generals, but found that they were of "lax morality", unqualified to command, and "lack of a clear political concept".

One of Khánh's men took Đôn to the garden of a Dalat villa and forced him to kneel, before executing him with a single gunshot to the back of the head. Đôn's death led to sporadic protests among the Saigon public, who took the killing to be a signal that the remaining members of Diệm's regime would be reinstated to positions of authority. The generals hated Đôn and Nhung, because, at Ngô Đình Nhu's instructions, Đôn had disguised his men in regular army uniforms and framed the army for the Xá Lợi Pagoda raids several months earlier, in August 1963. Nhung was his and Dương Văn Minh's loyalist lieutenant.


Dương Văn Minh was driven to Tan Son Nhut Airport, placed on an Air Vietnam Boeing 727 and flown off to exile in Hong Kong.

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Police in Dallas made a startling announcement. On a tip received from Dallas resident, a Ms. Ruth Paine, two suspects named Lee Harvey Oswald and Wesley B. Frazier were taken into custody by the Dallas Police Department. Both men were employees at the Texas School Book Depository where the alleged shots came from and where the assassination attempt occurred the day before. Oswald is a former U.S. Marine who in 1959 defected to the U.S.S.R. but returned to the United States. It is not believed that the Soviets are directly involved as Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko has been more than compliant and cooperative as has Anatoly Dobrynin, the Soviet Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States. Dobrynin has referred to Oswald specifically as a "nezhelatel'nyy chelovek" or loosely translated, "an undesirable person." Even more little is known about Frazier except he lives with his sister and works at the Texas School Book Depository since September 1963. It was on his reference that Oswald was hired there. Roy Truly, both of the gentlemen's supervisor stated Oswald was rather "manly" and "did a good day's work" and was an above-average employee. Truly seemed less approving of Frazier who he said was soft spoken and "his work is not as satisfactory and spends too much time loitering with Oswald." It's known that the two men live either together or next door to each other.


Meanwhile, Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, accompanied by her two daughters, and escorted by half a dozen members of the Texas Congressional delegation flew back with the Vice President's body on the evening of the 22nd. It had been decided by the White House to give the Vice President a state funeral. The President if able would travel as soon as possible to Washington, D.C. and meanwhile, there became a bit of scrambling within Texas. There was a suggestion made already that there may be a bill sponsored in the United States Congress to change the U.S. Constitution to allow the President to appoint a successor to the Vice Presidency. With the President wounded seriously and the next two individuals in line to the Presidency of elderly age and precarious health, it seemed the sensible thing to do.

The next evening under heavy guard, President Kennedy arrived back in Washington, D.C. at Andrews AFB. Escorted by the First Lady and met by his brothers, the Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy as well as Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. The flag draped bier bearing the body of the deceased Vice President was under the dome of the U.S. Capitol. It was determined that there would be a formal lying in state held at the United States Capitol, then on Monday, November 25th would be transferred to National City Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington, D.C. for a church service. After that, the deceased Vice President and his family would be flown to the Johnson Ranch where he would be buried in the Johnson Family Cemetery. Meanwhile, Governor Connally, severely wounded stated he would ask his oldest son Mark to attend the funeral. Originally, his wife, Nellie said she would remain with the Governor but he refused, encouraging and finally begging her to promise, she would fly to his former political ally and mentor's funeral to represent the family and as the Governor said, "The Family of Texans."


The day of the funeral, the Capitol Rotunda was crowded with members of Congress, the Supreme Court, Hill staffers, politicos, and the Kennedy family. Two old rivals, former Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower both arrived together in the same limousine with their families. Mrs. Johnson had a dignified but pained look upon her face. She looked lonely and yet at peace somehow. Senators Hubert H. Humphrey and Ted Kennedy huddled and conversed in hushed tones. Meanwhile Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and First Lady Kennedy accompanied by her daughter Caroline looked shocked. Some, familiar with the Attorney General's thoughts, were thinking it was the outpouring of love shown for Johnson. For those who knew the First Lady well they think she realized how close her husband and herself even came to being in that very casket. From the U.S. Capitol the body was taken by horse-drawn caisson

Right before the service began, the biggest surprise came, when President Kennedy, in a wheelchair, arrived to bid a final goodbye to the man who had helped him win the White House. Also arriving at the funeral were men who had sought to try to displace Johnson including former Vice President Richard M. Nixon, Massachusetts Governor and Nixon's former running mate Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and others. But the arrival of the wounded Commander in Chief coming to say goodbye to his lieutenant was the most poignant moment at that point.

As everyone settled down, the Reverend Billy Graham, the world renowned evangelist and close spiritual advisor to many including Johnson, stood up in the pulpit. Graham readily acknowledged the Vice President’s rough, blustery, calculating, bullying side, but he also saw a warm and tender Lyndon Johnson, who, like himself, was genuinely concerned for his country. Graham conceded that the Vice President's aims were more for a personal than political reason. Graham reminisced, " “it was a …very deep conviction that he had, that he wanted to do something for the underprivileged and the people that were oppressed in our society, especially black people. I used to think it was sort of a political thing, [but] I visited the ranch a number of times and he always had that compassion. He would fill his car up with little black children and take them for rides and stop at the store and buy them candy and pick them up in his arms!” It was when Graham delved into the Vice President's spiritual walk that a side of him rarely seen was revealed. Graham surmised it was Johnson’s memory of a mother who had hoped he would be a preacher, to follow in the steps of her own grandfather, also burdened the president’s complex soul. “He wanted to live up to his mother’s goals,” observed Graham, whose own upbringing had taught him something of what that could mean. “I think he had a conflict within himself about religion. He wanted to go all the way in his commitment to Christ. He knew what it meant to be ‘saved’ or ‘lost,’ using our terminology, and he knew what it was to be ‘born again.’ And yet he somehow felt that he never quite had that experience. I think he tried to make up for it by having many of the outward forms of religion, in the sense of going to church almost fanatically, even while he was president. Sometimes he’d go to church three times on a Sunday.” Graham recalled that “a number of times I had prayer with him in his bedroom, or in the Senate Majority's office, and later the Vice President's office, usually early in the morning. He would get out of bed or up from his desk and get on his knees while I prayed. I never had very many people do that.” Afterwards the military honor guard that had escorted him all day escorted him down the steps and into a waiting hearse. A motorcade of black limousines whisked the Johnsons away to Andrews AFB, while the Kennedys returned to the White House in a black limousine. Air Force Jet 26000 which previously had carried the Vice President arrived in San Antonio, Texas and then whisked them by smaller Air Force jets to the Johnson family ranch for burial.


Lady Bird Johnson grimly accepted flag from her husband's coffin and said quietly, "You're home now, Lyndon. Maybe now you will rest."

Meanwhile, the Kennedys had boarded Air Force One and flown to Massachusetts after the funeral, the family compound at Hyannis Port.

The country is soon assured to see the President recuperating slowly, but cheerfully in typical Kennedyesque way, on board his yacht and the most endearing image after those horrifying days was a President cradling his daughter in his arms, looking ahead to the future.

Ambassador Averell Harriman and his lieutenant, Deputy Ambassador Cyrus Vance, had sent off a coded message to Washington, D.C. on the morning of November 27, the day before Thanksgiving, that said simply "The Crown Has Returned!" Meanwhile, Admiral Harry D. Felt, the commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), had sent a similar recorded message saying, "The King Sails By Day." Both messages meant something crucial to a volatile South Vietnam. From 1926 to 1945, he was Emperor of Annam. During this period, Annam was a protectorate within French Indochina. He abdicated in 1945, however returning from 1949 until 1955, Bảo Đại was the chief of state in a state that was covering all of South Vietnam and a portion of the southern North Vietnam. The State of Vietnam was a constitutional monarchy Falsely presented as a puppet of the French, in 1955, his own Prime Minister, Ngo Dinh Diệm called for a referendum to remove Bảo Đại and establish a republic with Diệm as president. The campaign leading up to the referendum was punctuated by personal attacks against the former emperor. His supporters had no way to refute them, as campaigning for Bảo Đại was forbidden. The October 23 referendum was widely reckoned as fraudulent, showing an implausible 98% in favor of a republic. As it turned out, the official results showed that the total number of votes for a republic exceeded the total number of registered voters by some 380,000—an obvious sign of fraud. Bảo Đại wished to avoid any further bloodshed and calmly went into exile. After the bloody overthrowing of Diệm and his brother Nhu, then the counter-revolution against those rogue Generals by General(s) Khánh and Thieu, they knew from Harriman's insistence that there needed to be some stability. So General Thieu approached the former Emperor and asked him would he be willing to return to South Vietnam to be restored as a constitutional monarch. Thieu knew Bao Dai held great influence among local political figures in the Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên provinces of Huế. The Communist government of North Vietnam sent representatives to France hoping that Bảo Đại would become a member of a coalition government which might reunite Vietnam, in the hope of attracting his supporters in the regions wherein he still held influence. The question now for Ambassador Harriman was to see if Emperor Bảo Đại backed by General(s) Nguyễn Khánh and Nguyen Van Thieu would be able to bring stability to South Vietnam. One thing was sure, the populace seemed to be enthusiastic in their celebration of the return of their monarch.

One day in October 1963, Buell Wesley Frazier, an employee at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, was paged by his supervisor, William Shelley.

“I was working, filling an order. Mr. Shelley asked me to come in his office, where he was sitting with a young man. He said, ‘He is going to be working with us, I want you to teach him how to fill an order, teach him everything that you can do.’ For several days, Lee was just like my shadow,” Frazier recalled. “Everywhere you would see me, Lee was right there. One day, I said, ‘I think it’s time we find out what he has learned.’ Lee didn’t back off, he wasn’t scared. He was very eager to learn, and he learned very quickly. The questions he would ask were good questions.”

The new hire was 23-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald.

Meanwhile Oswald says, "After I was employed at the Texas School Book Depository, they gave me a fellow worker to help guide me. But he became a buddy and though he was a little slow, he seemed to need a strong figure to guide him in life, which is a role I quickly filled," said Oswald.

Oswald has told Dallas authorities he would get a ride from Frazier so he could spend weekends with his wife, Marina, and their two young children, who lived in the Dallas suburb of Irving, just down the road from where Frazier lived.

But Frazier maintains that his relationship with the shy, subdued Oswald was “strictly business,” not personal.

“On the way home, we never stopped to have a beer or talk about the weekend,” Frazier said. “We just left work, went straight out to Irving and I dropped him off. I knew Lee was married, I knew his wife and that they had a daughter. I didn’t want to take any more time away from his family.”

Frazier said that rumors of them being seen together at doughnut shops and rifle ranges around town are false. “We never went anywhere together,” he said. Oswald however said, "Wesley seemed to really take a liking to me and I liked him. I enjoyed his company in many ways."

Already there are rumors starting to circulate the two men may have had more than meets the eye in a relationship of an unnatural way. Also, Oswald and Frazier reportedly have been seen a few times, closer than usual, in a dark corner of the Carousel Club.

Both Oswald & Frazier have made accusations against the Dallas Police Department of brutality.

Dallas police Capt. Will Fritz, who was in charge of the homicide department, came into the room with a typed statement. He handed Frazier a pen and demanded he sign it. It was a confession. Frazier and Oswald's story is similar in these accusations and they both refused.

“This was ridiculous,” Frazier said. “Captain Fritz got very red-faced, and he put up his hand to hit me and I put my arm up to block. I told him we’d have a hell of a fight and I would get some good licks in on him. Then he stormed out the door.”

The investigation is continuing. One issue Frazier has been asked about is a package another TSBD saw Oswald getting out of the backseat of Frazier's car.

When Fritz asked Frazier about it, he said Oswald had said he had bought curtain rods for his apartment. The unknown witness said, "Must have been a lot of curtain rods. Maybe for a love nest."

As Tennessee's Junior Senator, Nancy Kefauver (D) enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder and drank from a mug of hot tea, a white-maned gentleman approached her solitary table in the Senate Dining Room. Walking up to the table almost like a pentitent child approaching a school teacher, New York's Junior Senator, Kenneth Keating (R) said, "Nancy, may I have a seat?"

Kefauver smiled and said, "Kenneth by all means. I haven't seen you since .... well since ...." and Senator Keating interjected "Since we laid Estes to rest," finishing the difficult words for the new widow. "Yes....that day. What can I do for you Kenneth," asked Senator Kefauver.

"Well Nancy, as you may or may not know, Estes and I were working on a piece of legislation that I think is more important than ever right now," said Keating. He was referring to the Kefauver-Keating Amendment whereby the text so far had read: "In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the said office shall devolve on the Vice President. In case of the inability of the President to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the said powers and duties shall devolve on the Vice President, until the inability be removed. The Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then be President, or, in case of inability, act as President, and such officer shall be or act as President accordingly, until a President shall be elected or, in case of inability, until the inability shall be earlier removed. The commencement and termination of any inability shall be determined by such method as Congress shall by law provide." However the areas not reached yet were:

  • the Senate official who was to receive any written declaration under the amendment
  • the period of time during which the Vice President and Cabinet must decide whether they disagree with the President's declaration that he is fit to resume his duties
  • the time before Congress meets to resolve the issue between the President, Vice President, and the Cabinet
  • the time limit for Congress to reach a decision
Senator Kefauver stated, "Kenneth seeing as what has happened, I do believe we need to also add in a provisio for the President to be able to name his," and Senator Keating interjected, "Or hers," to which Senator Kefauver smiled. "But the President should be able to name a successor to their office." Senator Keating agreed to this but then furrowed his brow and stated, "The problem is that young Kennedy wannabe from Indiana is now trying to make this issue his issue."

Keating was referring to Senator Birch Bayh (D) of Indiana who succeeded Estes Kefauver as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendment. He had joined with U.S. Congressman Emmanuel Celler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee had co-sponsored, S. J. Res. 1 and H.J. Res. 1 in the House and Senate.

Senator Kefauver batted her eyelashes and pinched Kenneth's cheek, as she arose, saying, "Then we will just have to get them to see our way in the committee process or on the floor." With that the widow Senator whisked from the room while Keating chuckled and said to no one in particular, "That's one Scottish lass who learns fast."

A few days later, a Pan American World Airways, Flight # 214, originating in Puerto Rico prepared to board at Baltimore's Friendship Airport.

A short, dark-haired gentleman in a suit, not very much unlike the regular passengers you saw on a Pan Am flight slowly walked towards the Boeing 707 Clipper Jet, accompanied by his wife, bundled in a fur coat. He was accompanied by an aide who held an umbrella over the man and his female companion. The short statured man was U.S. Senator John Tower (R) who was accompanied by his wife, Joza. The aide was a Young Republican working an fellowship at the Republican National Committee, an urbane Illinois gentleman who was a Navy veteran, named Don Sundquist.

"Now tell me again, why I am getting on this here plane, Donald?" asked the somewhat agitated Senator.

"Because Senator (Hugh) Scott is facing a tougher than expected reelection and you are the swingingest politician in the country. You were elected to Johnson's seat. The first Republican U.S. senator from Texas since Reconstruction, The third Republican from the former Confederacy since Reconstruction, The first Republican from the former Confederacy ever to win a Senate seat by popular vote...."

"Spare me the history lesson," growled the Senator as they reached the steps of the Pan Am Clipper Jet. "Just remember the last time the Cun-feder-acey (the Senator slurred and drew out the words in his twang) went to Pennsylvania it didn't do so well for us."

The aide smiled and said, "Maybe so, Senator, but the Yankee won and we need this Yankee to win. An aide to Senator Scott named James Corbett will meet you once you land in Philadelphia."

A crack of thunder after a flash of lightning made the young Navy veteran duck.

"Relax, Donald, we ain't in war. At least not yet," and with that, Senator and Mrs. John G. Tower boarded Pan Am Flight # 214, Clipper Trade Wind for the short flight.

Once on board, the Senator and his wife settled into their first class seats. The Senator ordered a scotch, neat, and pinched ever so slightly the bottom of the flight attendant as she turned to walk off. When his wife shot him a look, he grinned sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders. At 8:24 p.m., Flight 214 departed for Philadelphia with 75 passengers and eight crew members on board. Because of high winds in the area, the crew chose to wait in a holding pattern with five other airplanes, rather than attempt to land in Philadelphia. At 8:58 p.m., while in the holding pattern, the aircraft exploded. The crew managed to transmit a final message – "Mayday, mayday, mayday ... Clipper 214 out of control ... here we go" – before crashing near Elkton, Maryland. All 81 people on board were killed.




Texas Governor John B. Connally was asleep and still recovering at the Governor's Mansion when he received a call late on the evening of December 8th. The white slim-line phone by their bed rang and his wife Nellie picked up the receiver. When she heard it was Howard V. Rose, the Governor's Chief of Staff, she roused the Governor from his sleep. "Honey it's Howie on the phone." The Governor cradled the phone with his good arm in the large king size oak bed he was in and said, "Howie, what's going on? Why so late with a call?" Rose intoned in his slow and methodical voice, "Guv'nah....there's been a plane crash. Senatah Tower was aboard with his wife. It was a Pan Am Clipper. It went down. Lightning strike. No sur'vivahs!" The news hit Connally like a bolt of lightning. "Guv'nah....we will need to be makin' an appointment soon to fill that seat. I thought you'd want to know as soon as possible. I shall send an appropriate message to the Tow'ah children." The Governor, mind already spinning, said, "Yes, good thinkin' Howie. Also send a Texas State National Guard jet to bring the pipsqueak and his wife's bodies back to Texas. I didn't like that drunken SOB, but he was a Son of Texas." With that he handed the phone to Nellie who replaced it on the receiver. He told her the news. Nellie Connally just sighed and said, "When will these deaths stop? Has Texas not had enough tragedy for a generation." Governor Connally rubbed his jaw and said, "Tragedy or opportunity, it's all in how you look at it Nellie. One thing is for sure, I'll have a ton of individuals wanting to be named the next Senator to Lyndon's old seat."

Can't John Tower catch a break? He dies in a plane crash with his daughter IOTL, and now he dies in a plane crash with his wife ITTL...

On a serious note, wonder how this will affect the Texas Republican Party going forward...
Morning had barely broken but the phones had been ringing all night. Governor Connally was not the only one awake. Suddenly, the hottest ticket in town was who would Governor John Connally appoint to the interim slot and who would be elected in the Special Election. Former Texas Republican State Chairman Thad Hutcheson, himself a former Senate candidate in 1957 and a wealthy attorney from Houston, was on the phone to Governor Connally. "Governor, let me get straight to the point. I believe the people of Texas made it very clear that they desired a representative from each party when they elected Senator Tower. And I believe that the people of Texas wish to maintain the status quo." Governor Connally grinned from ear to ear and said, "Well tell me Thad, who do you think should fill that gap? Would you like to be the one who gets the nod?" Hutcheson demurred, "John, my campaigning days are behind me, but there's always Jack Cox, Anne Armstrong, Fred Meyer, and George H.W. Bush." Connally enjoying the mentions said, "Well what about ole' Bruce Alger. He sure makes you boys in the Republican Party look good." Connally was of course referring to the bombastic, arch-conservative controversial Congressman. Hutcheson replied, "I wouldn't be so inclined, John." Governor Connally decided to let Hutcheson off the hook for the moment and said, "Well Thad, should I take a gander your way, I'll take these names and your name into consideration. Be sure to give Caroline my best." With that the Governor chuckled and said, "Jack Cox....the SOB actually suggested Jack Cox as a possibility."

No sooner had Governor Connally hung up the phone then the Chair of the Texas Democratic Party Executive Committee, Frank G. Erwin, was on the next line. The Governor who was good friends with him greeted his friend, "Well Frank I see you are up mighty early." Erwin quickly responded, "Yes I am John and you have to get up early to beat them liberals like Ralph Yarborough and Don Yarborough from filling your mind with thoughts of New Frontierism. If you ask me it's New Socialism!" Connally chuckled, "Calm down Frank, I ain't turned red on ya'. Hell I ain't even pink. But I do suppose you have some names to suggest to me don't you?" Erwin replied, "Why yes I do, Governor. And I think Congressman (Jim) Wright, Attorney General (Waggoner) Carr, his predecessor (Will) Wilson, Mayor (Earle) Cabell and maybe even former Governor (Price) Daniel would be all safe choices to consider. But whatever you do, I need to save you from yourself." Connally smiled and said, "By whatever do you mean Frank. Scared I'll name you?" Erwin scowled into the phone and said, "No. We need to avoid an appearances of special considerations or familias, a Latin phrase you college boys understand. So no Nellie, no Wayne (Connally), no Merrill (Connally), not that young Speaker boy Ben (Barnes) and by Jehosephat, not YOU!" Erwin had referred to Connally's wife, his two brothers, one who was a State Senator and the other was County Judge in Wilson County where the Connallys hailed from. He also was referring to the wunderkid at that time of Texas politics, Speaker of the State House of Representatives Ben Barnes. Connally grinned like a Cheshire cat and said, "Well that sure narrows the field, Frank. Thanks for the thoughts. I'll definitely heed most if not all of your advice." Erwin asked, "Who you going to name then?" With that Connally quickly got off the phone saying "You'll see."


Connally picked up the phone before another one came through. "Bird, sorry to call you so early." Mrs. Johnson sipping on a mug of warm coffee said, "It's okay John. I was up early in the garden. What do you need?" Connally sighed and said, "I sure miss Lyndon. As much as a jackass he could be, he seemed to always know the right path." Mrs. Johnson smiled and nodded into the phone, "Yes, I know. He had a bird dog way about him. I suppose this is about who is going to replace John Tower in the Senate seat." Connally sighed and said, "You see right through me. Bird, may I come over for a visit? I know Nellie would love to see you and frankly I need to bend your ear." Mrs. Johnson said, "John, you're the Governor. I am just a widow. Let me come see you." Connally said, "Okay Bird, but I am going to send the helicopter over to get you. We will have lunch together and maybe a businesswoman like you can help me see the way Lyndon thought. He always said you were his smartest political advisor." Mrs. Johnson smiled and said, "I appreciate that, John. Let me get a shower and I'll throw on a frock and come down to see you and Nellie." The Governor before hanging up said, "Pack a bag. You can bring the girls and spend the night with us." As the Governor hung up the cradle of the phone, he planned to tap the mind and the brain that had brought Lyndon Johnson from a small school house to control of the U.S. Congress and almost the White House.
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In Suite 3505 of the Chanin Building in New York City, the brain trust of the conservative movement gathered. At the meeting were Congressman John Ashbrook (R) of Ohio, F. Clifton White, Senator Barry Goldwater (R) of Arizona's speechwriter, John Grenier, the former Alabama Republican Party chairman and the committee's southern regional coordinator, was responsible for the Republican organization in the South, Peter O'Donnell, the new Texas Republican Party chairman, U.S. Congressman Bruce Alger, Bruce McCabe, the Research Director who lead a team of economists and political scientists to formulate policy positions and speeches. McCabe worked under longtime Goldwater adviser Denison Kitchel, who officially worked as the campaign manager of Goldwater's Senate re-election and had joined the group. Finally, they were joined by William F. Buckley, editor of the National Review and James J. Kilpatrick, editor of the Richmond News Leader and a well known segregationist.

Ashbrook began the meeting by saying, "Damned Pan Am and damned all the luck. What a time for Tower to go get himself killed," he said hitting his fist into his palm.

O'Donnell spoke back saying, "You think that's bad. Now we have Lyndon, Junior appointing the successor and you just know he will run for the seat himself."

Alger feeding off the nervous energy in the room said, "I'll run, let me run. I'll pulverize him like a cow paddy."

O'Donnell shot a pained look at Alger and replied, "Really Bruce, you think you can do that? Hell we already will be spending over our limit just to keep you in a House seat, if it's worth the effort."

Buckley, who was on the phone, leaned over and replied drolly, "Gentleman what's done is done. One of Trippe's planes has tripped us up. What we should do is make sure that the Man (Goldwater) stops flying himself everywhere on his own. We need to find an acceptable candidate but we can sacrifice Carthage to protect Rome."

Grenier looked at Buckley dumbfounded and said, "Is that what you Yankee boys plan to do is walk through the South again to win your war, while leaving disaster and mayhem in your wake?"

Buckley cheekily replied, "All the way to Georgia if that's what it takes!"

Before any of the southerners could reply, White interjected, and said, "This Ivy Leaguer has made one hell of a point. The future for our group lies in the West, gentlemen, not in the shattered remains of Dixie and not back east."

O'Donnell said, "I highly doubt that. I challenge you to chart a path to the White House without the South!"

Buckley who was chatting to someone else on the phone said, "I'll accept your challenge. Pistols at dawn or shall we have scabbards on the poop deck?"

Ashbrook said, "No matter what the path, it will run through Ohio. Gentlemen we need to get Barry ready to run against this Massachusetts clam digger and son of a rum runner!"

Buckley chuckled and said, "But enough about the Cabots and Lodges." Buckley obviously knew he meant Kennedy but the dig at the Commonwealth's Governor and former U.S. Senator and scion of one of Massachusetts long serving families was meant to be be a playful jibe.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. strode into the Oval Office and motioned for the President to sit. The President had positioned a chair close to his and the two men gripped hands as soon as Lodge sat down.

"Mr. President you don't look worse for wear. If anything you seem to have recovered much of your punch," said the legendary Boston Brahmian.

"Well Governor, as you know, I already battled the Japanese in the South Pacific then I had to battle you twice, and each time won, so what was an assassin going to do to me," said the President with a wry grin.

"Twice? I seem to remember you boxed my ears once in 1952 as recompense for the boxing my grandfather gave your grandfather," said Lodge with a mischevious grin.

"Maybe so, but in 1960 you sure were the better candidate than Lyndon, Dick, and I put together," said the President.

"I highly doubt that," said Lodge.

"That's not what TIME magazine reported. In fact you are once more on the cover. That's quite a lucky 'er thing you have there Cabot," said the President.

"What can I say. Henry Luce loves me. Maybe not his wife, but he likes me."

"Mr. President, you survived recently two gunshots and I am having to deal with a gummed up State House in Boston. How may I be of service to my Commander in Chief," asked President Kennedy.

"Well Cabot it's like this, I wanted to know are you going to run in 1964 or would you like to go overseas to Saigon? I believe your father enjoyed the Far East," said the President.

"Is old Ave tiring of the tropical heat," quizzed Lodge.

"Well he does prefer penthouses on Park Avenue to the villas of Vietnam, yes," said the President.

For fifteen minutes they discussed South Vietnam and the return of Bao Dai. They discussed the U.S. presence there and the best possible options for Southeast Asia. Lodge had been a U.S. Senator, an Ambassador to the United Nations, turned down being Eisenhower's running mate in 1952 and lost narrowly out on being Vice President as Nixon's running mate in 1960. Finally, the elder statesman smiled and then set his jaw firmly and stated.

"Mr. President, right now I am the Governor of Massachusetts. And my focus is on governing our wonderful Commonwealth that you and I and our families have called home," said Lodge.

"Very well Cabot, I believe you. Give Emily my best," said the President. "And give my best to Jacqueline and the little ones." And with that Lodge knew his quick moment with the President was over and he got up and left.
It appears that there's more that meets the eye than previously thought about attempted assassin(s) Lee Harvey Oswald and Wesley Buell Frazier.

Reportedly Frazier and Oswald were involved in a homosexual relationship. Frazier after nearly a month in jail has finally broken down, with his attorney present, and has reportedly turned state's evidence against his former lover. Frazier's attorney is alleging that the former Marine, who lived in the U.S.S.R. and attempted renounce his citizenship at one point. Oswald also is married to a Soviet emigre' who lived separately from him, Marina Nikolayevna Oswald. She had provided the prosecutors with two pictures, one of Frazier and Oswald in what some could say is somewhat of an intimate or relaxed pose. A second one shows a shirtless Oswald with two other men. Though their faces are cropped off, the jawline and facial structure clearly is Fraziers'. It's unknown who the third one is. The other is of Oswald holding a rifle, taken by Frazier. How Oswald's wife obtained them is unknown atm.


At this point it is reported that Oswald will be transported to a maximum security location and separated from the facility that Frazier is being held in. It's unknown what plea deal was worked out for Frazier.
At the Johnson Ranch, in Bulverde, Texas, Speaker Ben Barnes strode hand in hand with Texas First Lady Nellie Connally, along with Lady Bird Johnson and Governor John B. Connally of Texas. It appears that Connally will be naming his trusted lieutenant to succeed Tower in the Senate. That means Connally won't be seeking election to the office in a Special Election but needs the Johnson seal of approval to give Barnes the boost he will need to succeed. The four walked, followed by Texas Rangers and other aides, to an estimated crowd of 450 that had gathered in the unusually warm December weather to make the announcement.

A gaggle of reporters also are on hand as Governor Connally strode up to the microphones to make his prepared statement.

"It has been my distinct honor to work alongside a number of wonderful Texans. Senator Tom Connally, Speaker Sam Rayburn, our dearly departed former Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as his wife who is a wonderful businesswoman and wonderful Second Lady who was First in all our hearts here in Texas. Then we have this young and rising young legislator, Ben Barnes, who is an integral part of assisting me in passing my agenda for a brighter and better Texas. Texas needs a vibrant voice in the U.S. Senate. They need a voice that is passionate and yet experienced. They need a Texan who will take the courage of Davy Crockett with the understanding of Sam Houston and be a voice that resounds throughout all the land...."

Meanwhile, Texas attorney Don Yarborough had gathered with U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough watching the press conference live, through a satellite uplink, which was unusual and unique. Yarborough, though not closely related to the Senator had called a press conference for later that day, to announce his candidacy. Senator Yarborough was going to endorse him and they had buttons made saying YARBOROUGH FOR SENATE - KEEP A GOOD THING GOING FOR TEXAS, TWICE!"


"He's laying it on thick, Don, but I am sure we can take that young Ben and beat him good," said the Senator to his new protégé. "Ralph, I hope you are right. Texans I think need solutions not savants or political son-in-laws," alluding to the fact that Connally called Barnes the "son in law I wish I had."

Connally continued on with his statement, "It is in the advice of many whom I have sought and heard from that one name....ONE NAME....seems right for Texas. A person who represents the future for Texas. A person who will be the voice of those who so often never had a voice. A voice that will make Texas great once more in Washington, D.C. Therefore, it is my distinct honor to name as your next United States Senator from Texas, with these here credentials, United States Senator designate Claudia Alta Johnson, or as we know her, Lady Bird."

With that Lady Bird Johnson strode to the microphone and stated, "Thank you Governor. It is my humble honor to step into this role and to serve as Texas' voice and next U.S. Senator. And invoking a moment of personal privilege, I am announcing here and now that this won't be just a quick moment for Texas. I will seek election to finish this term and continue to run and with your trust, Texas, be the Senator you deserve!"

The shock reverberated around the nation. When Barnes was asked why he had arrived, he smiled and said, "It's not everyday I get to have my arm held by the next U.S. Senator of Texas!"

The next day, at a sunny day at Houston Airport, Lady Bird Johnson boarded a TWA jet, sent specifically by Texas billionaire Howard Hughes who owned TWA, to fly to Washington, D.C. to be sworn in as the Junior U.S. Senator from Texas.