Thursday, June 6, 2013


The sorrow begins. And the greatness. On June 3rd, 1963, Pope John XXIII -- Catholic history's most revolutionary pope -- dies of cancer at age 81. In an attempt to wrest control of the US money supply from the Federal Reserve Bank, John F. Kennedy announces June 4th the creation of Treasury Department Silver Certificates -- another brick in the wall for those counting. At a little-noticed June 5 meeting in Washington DC, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Texas Governor John Connally convince the President to come to Dallas, probably sometime in the fall. At American University on the 10th, Kennedy makes the bravest presidential speech of the 20th Century, calling for an end to the Cold War and an end to dreams of a Pax Americana. Next day in Alabama, Governor George Wallace refuses entry to Vivian Malone and James Hood, two Negro students trying to enroll at the University of Alabama. After threatened with arrest by the Kennedy Justice Department and the federalizing of the Alabama National Guard, Wallace steps aside. That night JFK goes on TV calling for a "moral revolution" and announcing his intention to help lead the Civil Rights Movement instead of fighting it. Also on the 11th across the world, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death at the center of Saigon, protesting South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem's persecution of Vietnamese non-Catholics. On the 12th, in the first domestic execution of the decade, Medgar Evers, NAACP's most powerful man, is assassinated on the front lawn of his home, shot in the back. (Evers would be buried at Arlington one week later.) The Moscow-Washington Hotline -- the "Red Phone" -- is installed in the White House June 20th. A new pope is chosen on the 21st: Pope Paul VI, friendly to long-established power, a man who would do much to end John XXIII's liberatory hopes. JFK in Berlin on the 26th. And the last few days of a miracle month, Ireland.