During my time as an archivist and later executive director at a Cold War deep history / JFK assassination non-profit, there were two dates which we held aloft as goalposts of survival: the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, on 22 November 2013, and today, 26 October 2017, the day that, at long last, the remaining files on the JFK assassination would be – as a 25-year-old law dictates – released. Now that we are here (and I am not), what incredible morsels will be found inside these three thousand documents? What earth-shattering revelations will stand exposed?
Having spent 2005 through 2009 immersed in the millions of pages that were already released, I can safely say: probably nothing , or at least nothing that would be considered earth-shattering on its own. At best, the unseen pages will help connect disparate dots in the murky patchwork that constitutes modern American history; history, after all, isn’t made of paper: it’s made of people, an always-fluctuating dichotomy of conflict that more often than not stands in stark contrast to the written record.
Unless I’m very mistaken — and I’ll be the first to admit if and when I am — the biggest story out of the files will be that they are now no longer invisible. Beyond that, it and the stories they tell will—unfortuntately—fade into obscurity as something else shiny and new barrels forth in our landscape of the new new new, now now now.
Reading: A DEATH IN BELMONT, by Sebastian Junger.