DENVER — This week, the nation is remembering President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. But there’s one Colorado man who can’t forget.
Gerald Blaine – or Jerry, as his friends know him – served as a Secret Service agent in the Kennedy Detail. Wherever Kennedy went, Blaine wasn’t far behind.
“President Kennedy was very personable, he knew all of us by name, he knew our families,” Blaine told FOX31 Denver. “He’d come by and tell his latest joke. He had the best sense of humor in the world, and he was a delight to be with, so as far as we were concerned, it was like losing a member of your family.”
As fate would have it, Blaine had left the president’s side the morning of November 22, 1963. He’d gone ahead to Austin, the president’s next planned stop. He couldn’t be there to try and save JFK. And Jerry’s friends who were there, had a tough time forgiving themselves.
“There are very few jobs you can be a 100 percent failure at. And being an agent on the Kennedy detail, you were a 100 percent failure,” Blaine said.
That one day in November, and the days following, have in many ways defined Jerry’s entire life.
Three years ago, he wrote a book called “The Kennedy Detail,” explaining what all the agents went through. They were dark days. Just ask his wife.
“There was nothing said, you didn’t know what to say, he didn’t know what to say, and you were processing, could this have really happened?” said Joyce Blaine.
Immediately after the assassination, Blaine was assigned to protect the new President, Lyndon Johnson. And that’s when Jerry himself nearly rewrote history. Listen to this: he was outside Johnson’s private residence, standing guard in the middle of the night, and after three sleepless days, he was dazed, and nearly shot the brand new President.
“So I heard a noise and I picked up the Thompson submachine gun, activated it, put it to my shoulder, and around the corner of the house came the new President, so I recognized his profile, he looked at me, and it was dark, but i swear he turned white,” Blaine said.
Blaine is 81 years old and retired now, and lives in Grand Junction. But he still travels around and occasionally gives speeches about the assassination, and he still stays in touch with the few agents who are still alive from back then.
“Unfortunately there aren’t too many of them left, so it gets a little lonely,” Blaine said.
It was a long time ago. But it seems like only yesterday, when you were part of history, and still relive it nearly every single day.
Of course, we asked Jerry about the various conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination. He says he doesn’t believe any of them – and he’s 100 percent convinced, Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone killer.