Kiel presenting program on JFK assassination

Kiel presenting program on JFK assassination

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Most Americans old and young would agree Nov. 22, 1963, remains one of the darkest days in American history and that when John F. Kennedy was gunned down that early afternoon in Dallas, he was in the prime of both his presidency and his life.

The Warren Commission, the government’s official word on the assassination, decided Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in fatally wounding the president and also that Jack Ruby acted alone when he killed Oswald two days later.

On Nov. 17 the public is invited to make its own decisions on exactly what transpired that day, as well as before and after, when Andy Kiel, a nationally known authority on the Kennedy assassination from Wooster, hosts a two-hour slide and video presentation in the large group instruction room at Wooster High School. The program from 7-9 p.m. is free.

Back in 2000, Kiel, retired from a long career as a history teacher at Wooster High School but currently in the building as a long-term substitute, wrote the book, “J. Edgar Hoover, Father of the Cold War,” which examined the career of the longtime FBI director in detail.

In his book Kiel goes into events surrounding the Kennedy assassination, and during his research he interviewed numerous people including eyewitnesses to the shooting. He also has talked to associates of Oswald; Oliver Stone, director of the film “JFK;” Arlen Spector, who before becoming a U.S. Senator was an attorney for the Warren Commission; and others.

With the help of WHS computer science teacher Nathan Greene, Kiel has woven slides and videos into a comprehensive presentation. Todd Patterson will serve as the emcee, and there will be a Q-and-A session afterward.

While pursuing his master's degree, Kiel said he was persuaded by a professor to shift his focus from the assassination to Hoover’s possible role in events surrounding it. Decades later Kiel has given his presentation numerous times in Dallas.

Not surprisingly, he also looks at history from the perspective of a teacher.

“It’s more complex than you would think,” said Kiel, who expects a number of students to attend on Nov. 17. “What you read in a newspaper or on a website, that’s not how history works. A hundred-fifty years ago, how did we know what really happened? By primary sources — people who were there and saw and heard what happened. That’s what I use, primary sources.”

The large group instruction room is on the second floor of Wooster High School, across from the library.