Two hundred admirers of the late civic activist and historical researcher John P. Judge fostered his legacy during a memorial service May 31 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D), a next door neighbor and close friend, described Judge as an extraordinary truth-seeker in the spirit of the ancient Diogenes. Kucinich continued, “What better place for it than Washington, DC — the capital of smoke and mirrors?”
Kucinich, 67, was a longtime member of the House until 2013 who said he often benefited from Judge’s insights about why American democracy and the economy have deteriorated in recent decades. Kucinich said he intends to keep hundreds of emails from Judge on current and historic events. “One day, they’ll be put to good use.”
Other eloquent tributes followed. Judge died April 15 at age 66 following a stroke two months previously.
Speakers portrayed, sometimes using music or photos, how the Washington-reared only son of two doting Department of Defense employees embarked on a lifelong quest to explore the nation’s “hidden history.” The search began during his days as a student at University of Dayton beginning in 1965, just as the Vietnam War was ratcheting up.
Judge’s late mother had been a Pentagon specialist in planning to fulfill the nation’s personnel needs via the draft. One of Judge’s disclosures was that his mother, Mary Cooley Judge, was instructed just three days after Kennedy assassination to revise upward the Pentagon’s personnel needs for the Vietnam War-era draft under incoming President Lyndon Johnson.
Judge’s major effort of recent years was leading the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), which showcased serious alternatives to official accounts of the JFK assassination and such other notable deaths during the 1960s as those of Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Judge presided at COPA’s 20th annual conference last November in Dallas, which I attended for three days along with 300 other researchers. The focus was on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. The program’s title was “50 Years is Enough! Free the Files, Find the Truth.”