Former JFK Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine is certain that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone on November 22, 1963, when he gunned down the president. But everything that happened since then has been considerably less certain for Blaine and his brethren.
When your job is protecting the most powerful man on earth, and he is assassinated, there is little room for consolation. Blaine and the other agents put the event that changed a nation in the recesses of their minds, somewhere where they didn't have to talk about it. But, of course, they did have to talk about it. And 47 years later they are doing that. The author will be at Books & Books discussion his book, The Kennedy Detail, on January 24. Read the second part of a our two part interview (check out first part here) after the jump.
Do you and the former secret service detail for JFK still carry feelings of guilt about the assassination?
There are not many jobs where you can be a 100 % failure, but being on
the Kennedy Detail was one of them. It was our responsibility and we
failed. We never discussed the assassination with each other or our
families until the "Discovery Channel" filmed a reunion in Dallas in
June of (last) year.
How do you put what happened in perspective? Can you learn from it or do
you just have to accept that somebody is intent on a bad thing and
willing to pay the ultimate price there is little chance of stopping
I could not have stated it any better than you did. There are
individuals with psychopathic personalities that rise up at times in our
history and strike. Unfortunately a lot of people cannot accept this
fact and over react. In a democratic society their victims are
exposed. This is especially true for the office of the president since
the nation temporarily collapses when such an event occurs.
After so many years, and so much speculation, why was it important to
tell your story and that of the secret service agents working the
Kennedy Detail now?
There are not many of us left to tell the factual story. It was the
extremity of the theories and shock on our part that 82% of the young
people between the ages of 18 and 29 believe the assassination was a
conspiracy that caused us to produce our facts of what happened. With so
many young people mistrusting our institutions and government it is not
healthy for the nation's future.
What was the most surprising thing that you discovered in writing this book?
That all agents felt the same guilt, anger, and failure.This included
agents who had only worked for a very short time with President Kennedy.
He was respected by all of the agents.
Was the assassination of JFK the defining moment of all the secret
service agents' lives who were on the Kennedy Detail? And if it is, how
do you learn to deal with that?
The agents lived with this their whole lives and it was not until we
started discussing the emotional aspect of the assassination did we
start the healing process. Unfortunately it took us a long time to do
it and many of our brothers had passed away before last year's reunion.
Gerald Blaine will be at Books and Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables)
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at 8 p.m. on January 24. The event is free. Call 305-442-4408 or visit