I Carried Oswald's Casket

Mike Cochran recalls getting the scoop as AP's Fort Worth reporter
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2013 8:36 AM CST
Mike Cochran, largest in frame, acts as pallbearer at the interment of Lee Harvey Oswald at the Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery.   (AP Photo/Gene Gordon)

(Newser) – With only a mother, brother, widow, and two young daughters as mourners at a Fort Worth, Texas, burial in November 1963, the task of carrying the casket fell to the only others in attendance: a handful of reporters, including the AP's Mike Cochran. "Fifty years later, I remain a reluctant and minor footnote in American history," he writes for the AP. Though his initial response was "'Hell no!'" a rival changed his mind, saying, "Cochran, if we're gonna write a story about the burial of Lee Harvey Oswald, we're gonna have to bury the son of a bitch ourselves." And so, "on a gloomy November afternoon, I helped carry the inexpensive wooden casket of Lee Harvey Oswald to a grave on a slight rise dotted with dying grass," Cochran writes.

"The ceremony itself was as brief as it was simple," Cochran recalls. Before the body was laid in the ground at 4:28pm, "her eyes red and swollen, Marina Oswald stepped beside her husband's casket and quietly whispered something." When Cochran interviewed her later—which the reclusive widow granted only after learning of his pallbearer role—she said, "I think about it a lot. I try to forget. It is very difficult. It is like a nightmare. ... I have nightmares." Some 20 years later, she told Cochran, "For a while I thought it would all blow over, just go away. But now I accept the fact that I must live with this the rest of my life," adding, "I may still be naive, but I'm not stupid." Click for his entire piece. (Read more JFK assassination stories.)

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