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Who shot JFK?

1st Place-$50

By Vivian Vuong, San Gabriel HS

The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, remains an unsolved mystery that has been pushed to the back of our minds over the years. Was it really the lone gunman theory—Lee Harvey Oswald—or the result of a conspiracy where the CIA and FBI were involved? A great deal of controversy surrounds the case. Therefore, if I was able to go back in time, I would travel to Nov. 22, 1963, and freeze frame John F. Kennedy’s assassination to find out the truth that lies beneath it all.

Kennedy’s death shocked the nation and many felt that he would have gone on to achieve greatness as a president. The death of Kennedy happened like an old black-and-white killer movie. Kennedy was riding in the back of an open-top limousine through the downtown area of Dallas when the assassination happened. A piercing bang echoed in Dallas and it put the whole world in silence. Kennedy was shot in the back of the head by a sniper and was later pronounced dead. The police then arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, at a nearby theater and by the next morning he was booked for the murder of the president.

Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin or wrongfully accused? At a glance, it may sound like an open-and-shut case. However, if one takes a closer look, many people who witnessed the murder of Kennedy said that they heard shots from places besides the book depository room, where Oswald was said to be.

All the evidence we have collected is not enough to prove who killed Kennedy. The theories will never be proven and the case will always be left unsolved unless I travel back and discover the truth and possibly stop it all from happening. This is the reason I would want to go back 40 years from now to that November day to witness who killed John F. Kennedy.

I’d laugh with him
2nd Place-$30

By Teodora Nikolova, Cleveland HS

It’s Sept. 21, 1997. I am quietly and softly awoken by Dad, which is unusual since he yells for me to get up every other morning. However, this morning is not like the rest. I slowly drag myself to the living room—messy hair, puffy eyes, wondering what’s going on and why everyone is so solemn and quiet. Then I see my mom who’s crying on the sofa. I don’t really remember who told me the news that my grandfather had died.

A few months before, my grandfather had gone to the hospital to check how he was doing health-wise, when the doctors discovered that there was something wrong with his heart. He had never had a proper physical examination, therefore nobody knew about the heart problems he had had going back as far as his childhood. When they did find out about these problems it was too late. His heart and any other major organs around it could not be saved. His liver, kidneys and even his lungs were slowly falling apart and he was told that he had less than a year to live.

Everyone decided it was best if he was put in a hospital and had his health monitored constantly. However, as time passed the complications progressed. He had to have injections twice a day to keep his heart going and he couldn’t walk or do anything that would cause his heart to work harder. There was nothing that could really be done to save him. My family knew that and he knew it as well; he hated us seeing him in such a helpless position. One night, my grandfather had had enough; the pain stinging his heart wouldn’t let him sleep and he knew it would soon give in. Slowly he made his way out on the corridor and jumped out of the two-story window.

The unbelievable news hit me like a wet towel. Hearing it at the age of 11 didn’t give me a chance to fully comprehend and grasp the idea. I was sad but I didn’t cry. I didn’t attend the funeral. However, I did see him in the coffin before he was taken away. At that time, he didn’t look dead to me. He was just peacefully sleeping. I strongly believed that he would wake up in a few days and everything would just go back to the way it had been. I anticipated that moment, but sadly, it never happened. I’m not 11 anymore. Five years have passed and a lot has happened. Some nights when the insomnia gets me, I stay up and imagine what it would be like if he was still alive. He never got to see my family and me move to America. He never saw me graduate from middle school or read the stories I wrote for him, knowing that we share the same passion for writing. And most of all, I wish I could go back in time and prevent everything from happening. I wish I could even go as far back to when he was younger and tell him about the disease taking over his heart. The least I wish I could do is spend a little more time with him and laugh at the jokes he would tell my cousin and me. Unfortunately, I know I can’t go back in time. He’s dead and he’ll always be dead, but I’ll always remember him. In the end all I’m left with are the memories.

Sailing back to grandpa’s time

3rd Place$20

By Karen Yun, San Gabriel HS

Each day, I live my life cherishing the moments I share with the people I love because I never know when something can happen to them. If all of a sudden, something tragic happens to a person you care about, all that is left are the memories you had with them and these reminiscences stay with you forever. On the other hand, what can you do if someone that was supposed to be an important part of your life passes away before you even got a chance to build memories with him?

If I was given an opportunity to travel back in time to any time period or to witness any event, I would journey to Hong Kong, China during the 1980s because that was the time when my paternal grandfather was healthiest, blissful and alive. When I was a year old, my grandfather died of a lung infection. Nothing would be better than having a chance to get to know my grandpa. While my grandfather was alive, I only spent about a month with him because that’s how long he stayed during his trip here in the United States. Afterwards, he went back to China, where shortly afterward, he passed away.

Since my grandfather’s death, I have always felt that I was deprived of the opportunity to know him. I have always wondered what kind of person my grandfather was. Because my parents have a hard time talking about my grandfather, so many questions pop into my mind. Have I acquired any of his personality traits or do I show any resemblance to him? Did my grandfather value education as much as I do?

During my voyage back in time, I would spend all my time getting acquainted with my grandfather. It would be nice to know what kind of hobbies he enjoyed and what life lessons I could learn from him.

I would take the time to spend a casual day with him being aware of the way he carries himself. We would first go out and eat dim sum for lunch. Then I would lead my grandfather down the busy streets of China, stopping by stands in the local food market. To finish the day, we would sit in the park and enjoy a long pleasant conversation about what we see happening in our futures.

I know that time cannot be erased and there is nothing that I can do about the past. If I had the chance to sail back to any time period, I would certainly want to witness my grandfather when he was alive and the one thing I would do is build memories of him that don’t exist in me today.