Guest Editorial: Release of JFK files is a necessity
Most Americans alive today were small children — if they were on this Earth at all — when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
For those old enough to remember the most vivid and troubling details, that moment left an emptiness in the soul.
That is one reason why the last batch of assassination-related documents long locked away in the National Archives and Records Administration should be made public this week.
Access to these documents would give us all a better understanding of our history.
Yes, there will still be unanswered questions and maybe even painful conclusions and speculations. Conspiracy theorists no doubt will find new intrigue as they read between the lines.
But history demands as complete a record as possible of a horrific and traumatic event — the murder of a U.S. president.
To his credit, President Donald Trump says he will not oppose the release unless there is a "compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification" to keep the final batch locked away.
More than 50 years after the assassination, that needs to be a really high bar.
We're skeptical that a legitimate reason for secrecy still exists and would urge a full release without redaction.
Will we learn much beyond the Warren Commission conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone? Probably not, but this last batch contains files on senior CIA officials from the 1960s who were aware of Oswald's activities before the assassination.
This could add texture to unanswered questions about Oswald's six days in Mexico City several weeks before Kennedy was assassinated, during which time he met with Cuban and Soviet spies.
And we could emerge with new insights on the CIA's operations against Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro during the height of the Cold War.
With the Thursday deadline to release the remaining documents fast approaching, we hope Trump sticks to his original vow to release these documents.
That will mean rejecting the pressure from some whose first, second and third instincts is to indefinitely cloak all government and intelligence activities in secrecy.
And when these documents become public, all of us should be careful not to leap to conclusions and new conspiracies just because many questions will not be fully answered.
Let the documents speak for themselves.
As many of us grow old and gray, the emotional trauma of Nov. 22, 1963, is no longer unbearably raw. Time dulls the pain — especially for Dallas, which for years struggled with the weight of being the city where a young president violently died.
Time, however, doesn't squelch curiosity and the thirst for information about such a dark day. The nation needs these documents to complete the public record about such a horrific event.
Dallas Morning News, Oct. 24