Saturday, March 2, 2013

Blue Angels flyover may be cancelled by budget cuts

Staff Writer
Published: 01 March 2013 10:42 PM

The current fight in Washington over $85 billion in automatic budget 
cuts could have some odd consequences — affecting, among many other 
things, Dallas’ official commemoration next fall of the 50th anniversary 
of the JFK assassination.

Ruth Altshuler, co-chair of the committee coordinating the event, told a 
Dallas civic group Friday that plans for a flyover by the legendary Navy 
air team the Blue Angels during those ceremonies were now, well, up in 
the air.

To honor President John F. Kennedy, who was a Navy veteran, plans called 
for the Blue Angels to fly over Dealey Plaza during the 40-minute 
commemoration of his death there on Nov. 22, 1963.

The air team was slated to perform the Missing Man formation used to 
honor the memory of a fallen comrade.

The Blue Angels cancellation would apparently be one of dozens over the 
next few months. News stories over the past weeks have quoted Navy 
officials as saying that if the budget crisis can’t be resolved, the 
Pensacola, Fla.-based Angels would be among the first casualties.

Altshuler emphasized that the situation was fluid.

“We still want it to happen. They still want it to happen. But at the 
moment, we don’t know. It’s all a budget matter,” she said.

An appearance at the ceremonies by the 73-member U.S. Naval Academy Glee 
Club apparently will not be affected. Altshuler told the audience of the 
Dallas Friday Group that the glee club’s Dallas expenses were being 
underwritten by private donations.

Her remarks were part of an hourlong discussion at the Crescent Hotel on 
the effect of the assassination on the city of Dallas.

Another panelist, Gary Mack, curator of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey 
Plaza, addressed the five-decade-long controversy over whether Lee 
Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting the president.

Mack said he once considered himself a conspiracy theorist and even now 
has questions about the shooting. Nonetheless, he said, he believed the 
case against Oswald is overwhelming.

“There is no hard evidence that there was anyone else. There really is 
not,” he said.

Mack also defended commemoration organizers who have been criticized for 
plans to close Dealey Plaza to demonstrators during the official ceremonies.

“There are legitimate questions [about the assassination], but there is 
a time and place to ask them. The November event is not that time and 
place,” he said.

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