[VMP: Landis propaganda article with commentary---sometimes lengthy--- from myself, in brackets "[...]", in bold and italics]
Cleveland museum security guard was JFK secret service agent who witnessed Kennedy assassination [technically, he was a Jackie Kennedy/ First Lady Detail Agent]
JFK was killed by one gunman contends former agent [ Paul Landis is on record as stating one shot appeared to come from the FRONT in TWO reports in the Warren Commission volumes that were later endorsed BY Landis to the HSCA!: "My reaction at this time was that the shot came from somewhere towards the front." [Landis' report dated 11/27/63: 18 H 758-759] ""I still was not certain from which direction the second shot came, but my reaction at this time was that the shot came from somewhere towards the front, right-hand side of the road." [Landis' detailed report dated 11/30/63: 18 H 751-757] ; "Landis confirmed to the committee the accuracy of his statement to the Warren Commission" HSCA Report, pp. 89, 606 (referencing Landis’s interview, February 17, 1979 outside contact report, JFK Document 014571); Gerald Blaine now attempts to massage Landis' memory in his 2010 propaganda book, which obviously influenced this puff piece- pretty lame and disingenous. ]
Paul Landis has replayed the story in his mind tens of thousands of times. He was with the president, as part of the Secret Service detail that trotted with the slow-moving limousine in which President Kennedy rode [uh, Landis did not "trot" with the limousine].
Landis, who now works as a security guard at the Western Reserve Historical Society, a museum dedicated to the history of Northeast Ohio, speaks without a hesitation in his voice as he tells the story of the assassination of an American president.
"I heard the gunshot," Landis said. "It came over my right shoulder." [lame, lame, lame: see above] He was trotting next to the right rear of the follow-up car behind the president's Lincoln Continental limousine [again, he was not- he was embedded to the follow-up car's running board, behind Agent Ready...well, he DID go inside the car to make room for Agent Lawton at Love Field. However, neither Agent Lawton or Rybka, who both jogged briefly beside JFK's limo, got into the follow-up car, although Shift Leader Roberts "mistakenly" placed Rybka IN the car, only to correct the record later: In the shift report of 11/22/63 (separate from the one depicted in 18H739), Roberts placed Rybka in the "center rear seat" between Hickey and Bennett!]. Then quickly ["quickly"? hmmm; interesting], there came a second shot.
Landis said he and the several other secret service agents immediately looked toward the direction of the rifleshot as each man positioned himself to protect Kennedy, who was riding in the backseat of a convertible with the top down [awful job "protecting" Kennedy...and Sam Kinney told me the BACK of JFK's head blew off and he believed there was a conspiracy. To the HSCA: "SA Kinney immediately recognized the first sound as that of gunfire, realizing that it was a "shot from over our right shoulder" which hit the President in the throat. "While Jackie was setting him back up, Connally turns right, then left then pow, pow. The SECOND shot" (hit Connally and)"left Connally's back open." "The THIRD shot hit the President SA Kinney finds the idea of conspiracy plausible" (emphasis added; no mention of any missed shots, as well) [HSCA interview with Kinney, 2/26/78: RIF#180-10078-10493] "Agent Clint Hill: "As I lay over the top of the back seat I noticed a portion of the President's head on the right rear side was missing and he was bleeding profusely. Part of his brain was gone. I saw a part of his skull with hair on it lying in the seat I observed a wound about six inches down from the neckline on the back just to the right of the spinal column. I observed another wound on the right rear portion of the skull." [Hill's 11/30/63 report: 18 H 740-745] "The right rear portion of his head was missing. It was lying in the rear seat of the car. His brain was exposed. There was blood and bits of brain all over the entire rear portion of the car one large gaping wound in the right rear portion of the head." [Hill's testimony before the Warren Commission on 3/9/64: 2 H 138-144]. And, as we all know, Powers and O'Donnell conveyed to Tip O'Neill that they both thought the shots came from the front (High Treason, p. 423 and Groden's The Killing of a President, p. 205 (refering to O'Neill's 1987 book Man of the House, p.211); "Larry King Live", 1/20/92 (interview with O'Neill); "Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy" video (1992-O'Neill); Powers even said as much in his affidavit: 7 H 472-474: Affidavit dated 5/18/64- "I also had a fleeting impression that the noise appeared to come from the front in the area of the triple overpass. This may have resulted from my feeling, when I looked forward toward the overpass, that we might have ridden into an ambush." Agent Johns, riding in the VP follow-up car, said: "The first two sounded [shots] sounded like they were on the side of me towards the grassy knoll" [HSCA interview with Johns, 8/8/78: RIF# 180-10074-10079] In the presidential limo itself, Agent Kellerman: "there have got to be more than three shots, gentleman." [among other provocative things said to the Warren Commission on 3/9/64: 2 H 78]. In addition: "She [Kellerman's daughter] hopes the day would come when these men [Kellerman & Greer] could say in public what they told their families." [3/92 letter to the author from Harold Weisberg, recounting a 1970's contact he had with one of Kellerman's two daughters; To myself: Roy accepted that there was a conspiracy: "I'll accept that." [June Kellerman, Roy's widow, interviewed by the author 3/2/92 & 9/27/92] For his part, Agent Greer said:
"He was puzzled about the single bullet (399) theory. He could not see how one bullet could have caused both Kennedy and Connally such extensive wounds." [HSCA interview with Greer, 2/28/78: RIF # 180-10099-10491]
"And when my eyes came back to the president again, it was a third shot and that was the one that hit him in the head," Landis said.
Nov. 22, 1963, had been cloudy earlier in the day, but by the time president and Mrs. Kennedy had seated themselves in their limousine, the sun had appeared. The president wanted the hardtop of the convertible removed so as to enable the crowds that had gathered along the Dallas parade route to better see him [See my forthcoming book 'Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy": Agent Kinney was adamant with me that HE was solely responsible for the removal of the bubbletop. In addition, JFK had used the top before in good weather conditions and, in fact, seemed to prefer the configuration that afforded the MIDDLE section open with the front and back pieces of the top in place. While not ultra prevalent, JFK's use of the top was MUCH more than many think it was].
Kennedy was in Dallas to shore up Democrat support. In the motorcade with him were Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird. The Johnsons were Texans. Noting the crowd that had welcomed the president, Mrs. Johnson had mentioned its size, telling Kennedy how much he was admire[d] by her fellow Texans.
Also in the motorcade was Texas Gov. John Connally, who was also wounded by the gunman ["gunman": more bias], who fired from the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository building.
Landis said once the president was shot, there was bedlam. Those who lined the motorcade route dived ["dove"]to the ground, and Secret Service agents and police pulled their weapons [Agent Hickey, who manned the AR-15 rifle, was the only agent--- in the motorcade---- who drew a weopon], looking frantically for who was behind the gunshots.
The president grimaced, grabbing his neck, then slumped. Mrs. Kennedy, sitting next to her husband, climbed out her seat and crawled over the trunk of the car to retrieve a piece of his skull that had been shot away [exactly- as Sam Kinney stated, this was the piece of the REAR of JFK's head, thus indicating that the fatal headshot originated somewhere from the front!]. Moving pictures from that day in Dallas show Mrs. Kennedy moving toward the trunk while Secret Service agent Clint Hill ran toward the presidential car.
"We got off the running boards (of the trailing car) and moved up to take a position by his car," Landis said. Photographs and films show his movements as Landis described them [What?!?!? Unless the writer is refering to when the procession stopped blocks before the shooting, this is totally false].
For more than 30 years, Landis, whose full head of white hair is combed neatly, much as it was during his service for the president, has lived in a Cleveland suburb, electing to say very little about his position as a member of what has become known as the Kennedy Detail. He said over the years, once people realize where he was the day the President was killed, conversations immediately turn to the assassination. He service began began during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower [poor writing- high school diploma?].
Few people in Cleveland have known of Landis' former position in the Kennedy White House Secret Service detail. Few people knew the quiet man guarding the museum's objects and artifacts of history actually guarded the President of the United States on a fateful day in history.
On the day of the interview, he was comfortable with talking of all aspects of the assassination. Remembering the scene at Dallas' Dealey Plaza, where to make a tight turn, the presidential limousine driver had to slow the big car to about 11 miles an hour. It was at that time, the shots sliced through the air.
Landis said within seconds after the gunshots, the limousine driver floored the accelerator of the big car [AFTER---after---the shooting was all over; Greer was awful in his response to the assassination], speeding to the nearest medical facility, Parkland Hospital. During the drive, Kennedy's wounded head was cradled in his wife's lap. At the hospital, Mrs. Kennedy had to be coaxed from the vehicle as she sat almost silently, staring into space [lame writing; yuk].
Landis, who at the White House was usually assigned to guard Mrs. Kennedy and the two children, Caroline and John Jr., sat in a hospital hallway with the grieving First Lady, while doctors worked to keep the president alive.
"She just sat staring into space," Landis said, his eyes clear and focused as he remembered the scene. He told the story as if he were watching a film of that crime unroll in his brain [see my last comment].
He recalled the blood and tissue from her husband's wounds were evident over the First Lady's dress as trails of blood ran down her legs. It was the same dress she wore back to Washington hours later, electing to not change clothes.
"I want America to see," she would say, hours after the President's body was removed from Dallas for the flight back to Washington, D.C. It was the day America changed. It was the day the nation, itself, was wounded.
It could have been a conspiracy to kill Vice President Johnson, too. It could have been a foreign country behind the assassination [see last comment...]. In the early hours of the crime that shook America and much of the rest of the world, no one knew how deep was the crime or who might be involved.
When asked if there was psychological counseling for any of the Kennedy Detail, Landis answered in a soft voice. "No, that wasn't even thought of and heard of," he said, adding that he and other agents were in psychological pain.
The next year, 1964, Landis left the Secret Service, attributing his change to the assassination itself.
However, in 2010, fellow former agent Gerald Blaine penned a book on the Secret Service agents who were assigned to protect President Kennedy and his family. It was that book, "The Kennedy Detail," which prompted the White House agents to gather and share their stories with each other for the first time [NOT for the first time: many of them spoke to William Manchester, the HSCA, and myself, among others, most of whom were DEAD by the time Blaine began writing his book--- because of my 22-page letter to his best friend Clint Hill--- in the Summer of 2005]. They found their gathering therapeutic, where each man [Lawson, Landis, Grant, Hill, Blaine, Wells, and Chandler; that's all] recounted how the assassination had impacted his life.
"Up until then, I never said much about the Secret Service or of working on the presidential detail in 1963," said Landis, as he recounted that time in his life. However, it was also Blaine's book that provided a therapy for Landis and his former colleagues. "That's the best thing that happened to me since the assassination."
The book also spawned a documentary, "The Kennedy Detail," produced by the Discovery Channel. In the documentary, the Secret Service members who were with President Kennedy when an assassin's bullets took his life are shown speaking with each other, sharing their stories, and finding support from their own group [more lame writing].
Landis said he was no longer haunted by the events of that day, which many sociologists said robbed America of its innocence. Landis, dressed in a blue sweater and checkered blue and white shirt, sat easily in one of the rooms of the museum. With his legs crossed, he spoke easily of the Kennedy Detail and of what he saw and heard that November day in Dallas [Blaine and Hill are making a mint and smiling all the way to the bank- they seem just fine these days, thank you very much. Hill's SECOND book is coming out in the fall of 2013 and Blaine's Hollywood movie is coming out at the same time..."we're in the money, gotta love that money"...].
Strangely, in one of the corners of the museum, which also houses a collection of vintage automobiles, is a Lincoln Continental car eerily reminiscent of the one the President was riding in when bullets struck him and wounded Gov. Connally [uh, it's not that much of a resemblance; sorry].
In part of the interview with Landis, he stopped at the car and looked at it as he has no doubt done thousands of times in his security walk through the museum [PRETTY MUCH THE SAME THING LANDIS AND THE OTHER AGENTS DID ON 11/22/63: stopped and looked at the car! What's more, Landis, Hill, Ready, and Bennett, all follow-up car agents, where among the nine agents involved in the drinking incident of 11/22/63. For his part, Landis stayed out until 5 am and had to report for duty 8 am. [18 H 687]Perhaps that is why some of the agents wore sunglasses that day...].
Of the man whom the U.S. government said killed Kennedy, Landis would say only that he believed Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman. He said he was aware of conspiracy theories, but dismisses them [although his two reports and contact with the HSCA only fueled the fire to them: thanks, Paul].
Oswald, arrested later by Dallas police on the day of the assassination, was, hours later, murdered by a Dallas bar owner, Jack Ruby. Ruby, armed with a pistol, had walked into the Dallas police station and fired a bullet into Oswald as police paraded Oswald from one area to another so that news photographers could get pictures [lame writing].
The murder of Oswald was broadcast on live television as the networks cameras were focused on the man who denied killing Kennedy, saying only he was "a patsy" for the assassination.
For Landis, memories of the assassination are never far away. Forty-eight years later, he said they surface at times. The day marked a turning point in his life and his career. The day marked a turning point in the life of the United States when the President of the United States was gunned down in front of a crowd of thousands of people as they applauded his visit to Dallas.
At the museum, Landis daily walks the quiet hallways where history is exhibited on its walls. However, Paul Landis is walking history, having been close to the President of the United States [not close enough] when bullets streaked through the sunlit air of Dallas, finding a gunman's mark .
It is a story which still rivets the attention of those old enough to remember that day in 1963 when a gunman killed President John F. Kennedy. It also holds the attention of millions more who have since followed the story, which still has the power to give birth to books, documentaries, movies, studies and conspiracy theories [and much money to line the pockets of Landis, Hill, Blaine, etc]. In many ways, the assassination of President Kennedy wounded the entire country, including Paul Landis and his fellow Secret Service agents whose job it was to protect the life of the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States. [and they failed miserably...now buy their book and see their movie! :O)]