IRA DAVID WOOD III / Personal Reflections

Personal Reflections

Ira David Wood III

I was in the ninth grade - a French class - in rural Eastern North Carolina -
when the Principal of our school poked his head inside our classroom to make
the announcement that President Kennedy had been shot during a motorcade in
Dallas. The first words I heard came from a guy sitting in the back of the
classroom: "Well, they finally got that nigga'-lovin' sonofabitch."

So it began for me.

I remained, like so many other Americans, glued to the television for the
next four days. I saw it all unfold like a horrible nightmare - replayed
countless times on countless television stations. In many ways, it became a
blur or sorts - with only the occasional sound and sight bites remaining
clear and vivid in my memory.

It was a watershed for my generation. It changed the lives of all my friends
- myself included. I don't think we knew how greatly it would impact our
lives in the years that followed - but the "print" of those few terrifying
minutes in Dealey Plaza honestly changed the world as we had come to know it.

Years later, as a writer, I knew I had to take the project on. I wanted
others to know what it was like to have lived through that turbulent time -
to somehow grasp the event's impact on so many. As someone who lives and
breathes Theatre, a script was the obvious choice. Believe me; I've labored
on the idea. Still, it remains unwritten. There is, finally, an inadequacy
in mere words. How can you encapsulate what really happened? How do you
describe what we all felt when we finally began to look beneath the glitter
and glamour of "Camelot?"

The Chronology? I can only work on it now for a few weeks at a time. After
spending a few days on it, I have to take a hot shower ... to somehow feel
I've cleansed myself of the debris that continues to settle on a world that
seems to want so badly to forget ... or to simply move along.

Our world has turned many times since that tragic day in Dallas. The subject
has become after-dinner conversation on idle nights in order to kindle the
imagination. "I remember where I was when Kennedy . . ." Books on the
subject are now few and far between. It's become part of History. It's been

I have learned that we could sink the Titanic under the sheer weight of what
we don't honestly know about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. How can
that be? A President of the United States is murdered at high noon on a
public street in this country of OURS ... in front of hundreds of people ...
and we still don't really know what happened.

How tragic that our own government doesn't seem to want us to know! "Just
leave it and move on." How many govermental paper shredders clicked on
within moments of those shots in Dallas? And, if so, why?

I'm sorry. I just can't make myself leave the burning question. I've tried.
I just can't. Something is STILL "rotten in Denmark," and I can't get the
scent of it out of my nostrils or my consciousness. Believe me; I'd like
nothing more than to be able to do it - to move on. I just can't.

Perhaps Man wasn't meant to know everything - but I DO believe
that he WAS meant to try..

A friend of mine once said: "What if Oswald DID do it? All by himself?
What then?" I smiled and said: "If someone can prove that to me - beyond a
shadow of a doubt - I'll be the first to say 'thank you' and put it all to
rest." How much I want to be able to do just that - find closure ... no
matter where it leads. There are flowers to smell and Spring rains to take
walks in. There is fine wine to drink and lover's lips to kiss. For all of
our time spent in trying to decipher the Past, there is still the NOW ... the
Present ... and the Future. And I am all about moving forward to every
single Tomorrow.

I just can't do it yet. Not completely.

There IS unfinished business here. We all know it. We're just so afraid of
what will be revealed if and when we are finally able to draw back the
curtain still covering it all. "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."
I'd rather be strong than weak. I'd rather have the honest facts than the
product from someone's vivid imagination. Wouldn't YOU?

A bit of advice: once the self-proclaimed "searchers of Truth" stop feuding
among themselves, we'll finally be able to take those giant strides forward
that the subject so urgently deserves. Until that time, we're fighting a
losing battle on two fronts. It's up to us now.

Edwin Booth, John Wilkes Booth's brother, once said: "History deserves more
than our mere moans." As someone who has lived through other tragic times, I
say "Amen." I just hope I remain one of many voices in "the choir." But, I
have to say that the voices seem to be growing thinner every year, and our
world still has many more revolutions to make. Time is still the Great
Divider. We will see more leaders fall. History WILL repeat itself. We are
NOT immune to the Past or to the lessons it has tried to teach us. Nature
continues to be Man's basic teacher; and wise indeed are those who
discerningly learn from her.

It's a new year. I urge ALL of us to accept the magnificent possibilities of
that fact.

Yours sincerely -
in Peace, Love, and overdue Healing -

Ira David Wood III

(c)2003 Ira David Wood III