Revisiting the assassination of JFK, as more of the last files are opened

Nov. 22, 1963, was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, when a young president who had captured the imagination of the world was gunned down sitting with his wife in a motorcade driving through the heart of Dallas, Texas. The assassination of John F. Kennedy shook the confidence of a country that had emerged less than a generation earlier, triumphant from World War II, and set the stage for the social upheavals of the rest of the decade. The official explanation for the assassination was that a nonentity named Lee Harvey Oswald had carried off the murder entirely on his own — for reasons that have never been fully explained. This left many Americans unsatisfied and gave rise to the modern industry of conspiracy-mongering that still defines much of American political discourse.

The various investigations and reports on the case amounted to uncounted millions of words, some of which have been locked away in government archives for more than half a century, holding secrets that could never have seen the light of day during the Cold War. It’s hard to imagine that they contain new information that will make a difference to anyone still living. But to professional researchers, historians and the undying band of assassination buffs still poring over the film shot by Abraham Zapruder in Dealey Plaza — and to ordinary citizens who care about their country’s history and the integrity of its political institutions — the promise of clearing up the remaining questions about that awful day in 1963 is a matter of consuming interest.

The National Archives is releasing another 676 government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s the third public release so far this year.

Last week, President Donald Trump ordered all remaining records released to the public. He also directed agencies to take another look at their proposed redactions and only withhold information in the rarest of circumstances.

This represents the first in a series of rolling releases pursuant to Trump’s directive.

Most of Friday’s release comprises 553 records from the CIA that previously were withheld in their entirety. There also are records from the Justice and Defense departments, the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the National Archives. (Yahoo News/AP)

Here’s a look back at that dark day.

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Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F. Kennedy, front, right, exits the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, at 8:45 a.m., Nov. 22, 1963. He is on his way to greet crowds and make a speech. At right holding hat and wearing raincoat is Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. (Photo: AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President Kennedy shakes hands with people in a crowd in Ft. Worth, Texas, on the day of his assassination, Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

First lady Jacqueline Kennedy is all smiles as she attends a breakfast held by the Chamber of Commerce in Fort Worth, Tex., Nov. 22, 1963. Seated at the dais from left are, Lady Bird Johnson, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Mrs. Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy. Man at podium is unidentified. (Photo: Ferd Kaufman/AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie greeting crowd at Love Field upon arrival for campaign tour on day of his assassination. (Photo: Art Rickerby/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through the streets of Dallas, Texas prior to the assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. Included as an exhibit for the Warren Commission. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline smile as they drive with Governor John Connally of Texas from Love Field airport, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo: AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

A crowd awaits the presidential motorcade just prior to the assassination of President Kennedy at Dealey Park in Dallas, Texas. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F Kennedy in the presidential limousine before his assassination. His wife Jacqueline is next to him and Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie sit in front. (Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Secret servicemen standing on running boards follow the presidential limousine carrying President John F. Kennedy, right, rear seat, and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, left, as well as Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife, Nellie, in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963. Moments later, President John F. Kennedy was shot by an assassin. (Photo: Jim Altgens/AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F. Kennedy waves from his car in a motorcade approximately one minute before he was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Riding with Kennedy are First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, right, Nellie Connally, second from left, and her husband, Texas Gov. John Connally, far left. The National Archives has until Oct. 26, 2017, to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy’s assassination, unless President Donald Trump intervenes. (Photo: Jim Altgens/AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Seen through the limousine’s windshield as it proceeds along Elm Street past the Texas School Book Depository, President John F. Kennedy appears to raise his hand toward his head within seconds of being fatally shot in Dallas, Nov 22, 1963. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy holds the President’s forearm in an effort to aid him. Gov. John Connally of Texas, who was in the front seat, was also shot. (Photo: Jim Altgens/AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F. Kennedy slumps down in the back seat of the Presidential limousine as it speeds along Elm Street toward the Stemmons Freeway overpass after being fatally shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy leans over the president as Secret Service agent Clinton Hill rides on the back of the car. (Photo: Jim Altgens/AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Spectators drop to the ground after shots are fired at Dealy Plaza during the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on Nov.22, 1963. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

The limousine carrying mortally wounded President John F. Kennedy races toward the hospital seconds after he was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Secret Service agent Clinton Hill is riding on the back of the car, Nellie Connally, wife of Texas Gov. John Connally, bends over her wounded husband, and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy leans over the president. The National Archives has until Oct. 26, 2017, to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy’s assassination, unless President Donald Trump intervenes. (Photo: Justin Newman/AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Police officers with guns ready look up the building where the shot came from that killed U.S. President John F. Kennedy while he was riding in an open limousine through downtown Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo: AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

The presidential limo sits outlsie Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas after the Nov. 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. (Photo: Reuters)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

People are lining the street as the hearse bearing the body of slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy leaves Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, to be flown to Washington on Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo:AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Mourners pray on their knees in the pews and aisles of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

New Yorker reacting in shock to news of assassination of President John F. Kennedy. (Photo: tan Wayman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

President John F. Kennedy’s murderer Lee Harvey Oswald during a press conference after his arrest in Dallas on Nov. 22, 2963. Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby on 24 Nov. 24, 1963 on the eve of Kennedy’s burial. (Photo: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

The view from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, from which Lee Harvey Oswald is thought to have assassinated President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963. This photograph was taken approximately one hour after the assassination. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

District Attorney Bill Alexander holds an affidavit charging Lee Harvey Oswald with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

A Dallas policeman holds up the rifle used to kill President John F. Kennedy at police headquarters in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald has been charged with the murder. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Marina Oswald is shown with her mother-in-law, Marguerite Claverie Oswald, in the police station in Dallas where her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald is accused in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963. Men are unidentified. (Photo: AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson (C) takes the presidential oath of office from Judge Sarah T. Hughes (2nd from L) as President John F. Kennedy’s widow first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (2nd from R) stands at his side aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, just two hours after Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. Attending the swearing in are Assistant Presidential Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff (L-front), Special Assistant to the President Jack Valenti (L-Rear), Congressman Albert Thomas (2nd from L-Rear) and Congressman Jack Brooks (Far R). (Photo: JFK Library/Cecil Stoughton/The White House/Reuters)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

The casket containing the body of slain President John F. Kennedy is moved to a Navy ambulance from the Presidential plane which arrived from Dallas, Texas, where Kennedy was assassinated, to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Nov. 22, 1963. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is behind on the elevator. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, his brother, is beside her. Lawrence O’Brien of the White House staff is at the right. Secret Service men are directly behind the casket. (Photo: AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Her stockings and dress soiled, widowed first lady Jacqueline Kennedy reaches for the door of the ambulance carrying the body of her slain husband at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Nov. 22, 1963. The late President’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, accompanies her at right. The first lady had just arrived from Dallas with her husband’s body aboard a presidential jet. (Photo: AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

The new president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, speaks at Andrews Air Force Base upon his return to Washington from Dallas, where President John F. Kennedy was shot to death, Nov. 22, 1963. Beside him is new first lady, Lady Bird Johnson. (Photo: AP)

Revisiting the assassination of JFK

Commuters in New York read of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, 22nd Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo: Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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