Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

The Election of November 1962

Fifty years ago, November 6, 1962, the Tarleton State College Young Republicans and Young Democrats were very busy promoting their candidates for Texas Governor!  The Democratic candidate and winner, John Connally, made a campaign visit to Stephenville, delivering an informative speech at the Stephenville airport, which was attended by many of the Tarleton Young Democrats!  The Republican candidate was Jack Cox, who was a graduate of North Texas State, and was a former State Congressman.

John Connally had a long list of honors.  He entered the University of Texas in 1933, and became the Dean of the Law Fraternity, President of his Law Class, Assemblyman from the Law School, Chairman of the Student Publication Board, President of the Athenaeum Literacy Society, and the honors went on and on.  President John F. Kennedy appointed Connally as Secretary of the Navy in 1960.  He served in this capacity until December 1961.  Connally also received the University of Texas Ex-Students Distinguished Alumnus Award, and was also a Director of the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth!

Everyone will remember that Governor and Mrs. John Connally were in the presidential limousine when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and that Governor Connally was wounded.  Interestingly, last night Dr. Robert McClellan, the last living attending surgeon who was present in Trauma Room 1 in Parkland Hospital when President Kennedy died, came to Tarleton to speak on his memories of the event.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy continues to be a very popular topic, as was indicated by the crowd last night.  Dr. McClellan described in detail the events of November 22-24, 1963.  He was showing a movie on hiatal hernia repair up on the 2nd floor of Parkland when he got the word and proceeded to the ER.  Thinking and hoping that the seriousness was not as bad as reported, the first person he saw was Jackie Kennedy sitting with bloodied clothes in a chair outside Trauma Room 1.  The ER nurse indicated to the Secret Service to let Dr.McClellan into the room.  Two other doctors were already in the room, and Dr. McClellan was asked to hold the retractor while the other doctors tried to clamp off one of the wounds.  From the time Dr. McClellan arrived in the ER until President Kennedy was pronounced dead was about 7 or 8 minutes.  Dr. McClellan believes that two bullets entered President Kennedy from two different directions, supporting the conspiracy theory.  However, we will have to wait until 2029, when the complete 1976 House Special Select Committee on Assassinations report will be fully released, to find out all the details that the committee found.

In the question answer session at the end of the talk someone asked about Governor Connally.  Dr. McClellan said that the governor had a chest wound and was treated by several doctors, but his injuries took a backseat to the happenings  of the President of the United States!  The photo above shows the newly elected Texas Governor John Connally and Tarleton President E.J. Howell, when Connally visited campus on April 21, 1963, just a few months before the Kennedy assassination! 

…A Memorable Time for Many!

Grassburr, 1963. 
JTAC November 6, 1962. 
Stephenville Empire Tribune, November 6, 2012.

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