Saturday, April 22, 2006

LBJ makes Surprise Visit to JFK’s grave

In the summer of 1964, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson stopped in Virginia to visit the Pentagon (supposedly to pin medals on soldiers) and then told his driver to stop at the National Cemetery in Arlington. LBJ apperently got out of his limo and stood at JFK’s grave for a moment of prayer for the first time since JFK’s burial. Here is the citation of the newspaper article reporting the event:

Frank Cormier, Washington Correspondent for AP, “Johnson Makes Surprise Visit to Kennedy’s Grave,”
AP wire service, published in the Times Picayune, New Orleans, 7/22/1964.

The date of this article was 7/22/64. The date of his JFK graveside visit was July 21, 1964, the day Mary Sherman’s murder was discovered. What happended that day? Why did LBJ go to the Pentagon instead of summoning the military brass to the White House as usual? Why did LBJ stop at JFK’s grave? Was this LBJ’s epiphany? Was LBJ informed of the Mary Sherman murder, the contamination of the polio vaccine, and the secret government laboratory on the grounds of the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in New Orleans, and the use of radiation to mutate monkey viruses, all in a single briefing session that morning? Did he finally realize the dimensions of the problems that Kennedy faced? Was there a new problem that was so politically explosive that he didn’t want to discuss it in the White House? Is this why soldiers with machine guns (see Chapter 14 of Mary, Ferrie & the Monkey Virus - available from were sent to the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in New Orleans to guard the facility while the linear particle accelerator equipment was removed, and relocated, and the secret lab scrubbed clean?

It was an interesting week for LBJ. A few days earlier, Robert Kennedy demanded that LBJ put him on the Democratic ticket as VP. LBJ refused. By the end of the week, RFK announced his candidacy for the Senator of New York at the Democratic National Convention, placing him in the national electorate, and positioning him for the 1968 Presidential Election.