November 1963- President Kennedy's Schedule - History

November 1963- President Kennedy's Schedule - History

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1President Kennedy first appointment of the day was with Hans Kristian Engen. His Next meeting was on Vietnam. Included in the meeting were Rusk, McNamara, McCone, RFK . The President went to church for All Saints Day and spent the afternoon meeting with aids.
2The President began the day by meeting with a group of businessman making a trip to Europe sponsored by Time Magazine. The President next had a an emergency meeting on Vietnam. A coup had taken place in Viet Nam. The President spent the whole day in meeting on Viet Nam. At the end of the day the President joined his family at Atoka, Virginia.
3President Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy, Caroline and John, Jr. attend Mass at St. Stephens Martyr Church, Atoka, Virginia
4The President began his day by meeting with Walter Heller. He next had a meeting with Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara. The President had a meeting with Governor Carvel of Delaware and Governor Brewster of Maryland. President Kennedy met with Charles Allen and Earl Smith. After lunch the President met with his aids.
5The President had Legislative Leaders Breakfast. He then met with Spencer King, John Martin, Edwin Martin and Ralph Dungan. After Lunch the President received members of the US Industrial Payroll Savings Committee. The Presidents last meeting was a meeting on Berlin
6President Kennedy began his day by meeting with William Benton. He Then had a luncheon meeting with editors and publishers of Ohio newspapers. After lunch the President had a meeting with Walter Reuther.
7The President began his day with a meeting with state chairmen and the chairman, of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. The President next met with Frank Ikard, William Vaughey and Harlold Decker. The President's next meeting was an off the record meeting on wheat. The President next met William True Davis Jr, Ambassador to Switzerland. After lunch the President met the Portuguese Foreign Minister. The President next met with Franklin D Roosevelt Jr, followed by George Ball and Llewellyn Tompson who was followed by Dean Rusk. The President went to the pool a 7:26.
8President Kennedy began his meeting with delegates from the Consultive Committee on Postal Studies. The President next met with Habib Bourguiba the Ambassador of Tunisia. The President next met with Mohammed Yazd a special representative of President Ben Bella the President of Algeria. the President then had a meeting with Dr Glenn Seaborg. The President next held a meeting on a wheat. After Lunch the President met with Archiel House the National Commander of the United Spanish War Veterans. The President then left for New York. In New York the President gave an Address on the foreign aid program at the dinner of the Protestant Council in the Hilton Hotel
9President Kennedy was in New York, there is no record of what he did on this day. By the evening he was with the family in Atoka Virginia
10The President and First Lady motored to St Stephens Martyr Church
11The President, the First Lady, Caroline and John Jr flew to the White House at 9:27. The President and John Jr went to Arlington National Cemetery and took part in Veterans Day Ceremonies there
12The President began his day by meeting with Pedor Theotonio Perriera the Ambassador of Portugal. He then met with the new Ambassador of Uruguay. The President next hosted a off the record meeting on Cuba, that included Robert Kennedy, Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara. The President's next meeting was with Berthold Beitz the General Manager of the German Company Krupp. In the afternoon the President met with his advisors.
13President Kennedy met with Dr Karel Duda the new Ambassador of Czechoslovakia. The President next met with Chester Bowles. The President's next meeting was with Luther Hodges and Joseph Routh and the Chairman of the National Coal Policy Conference. He then met with Henry Fowler, Lawrence O'Brien and Myer Feldman. President Kennedy and his family watch the Black Watch perform on the South Lawn of the White House. The President next hosted a meeting of the Kentucky Crash Program, a program designed to help the most impoverished area in the US. The President next met with Dean Rusk, Christian Herter and McGeorge Bundy. The Presidents the final meeting of the day was with John Hannah the Chairman of the Civil Rights Commission.
14President Kennedy held a Pre-Press Breakfast. At 11:00 the President gave a Press . After the Press Conference the President met with Senators McGee, Moss, Burdick. The President next hosted a Bipartisan Committee on Health Care of the Aged. The President flew to Elkton Maryland to participate in the dedication ceremony of the new turnpike in Delaware and Maryland. The President next flew to New York.
15The President spoke at the convention of the AFL-CIO at the Amerciana Hotel in New York. He then spoke at the Biannual Convention of the Catholic Youth Organization Federation. The President then flew to Palm Beach.
16The President traveled to Cape Canaveral. He inspected the Saturn Control Center. President Kennedy watched a test launch of a Polaris missile by the submarine U.S.S. Andrew Jackson
17President Kennedy and Dave Powers attend Mass at St. Ann's Church, Palm Beach, Florida
18President Kennedy traveled to MacDill Air Force. He then inspected the US Strike Command. President Kennedy next spoke at Al Lope Stadium. The President next addressed to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, Tampa. Next the President spoke to conference of the United Steel Workers. The President next flew to Miami were he spoke at the Inter-American Press Association. After giving another speech the President returned to Washington
19The President received a turkey from the Poultry and Egg Board. The President next met with William Mahoney the US Ambassador to Ghana. After Lunch the President met with representatives of the National Educational Association. He then Met with Dean Rusk and Phillips Talbott. Next President Kennedy met with Howard P Jones the USS Ambassador to Indonesia. The President's last meeting of the day was with Richard Helms and Hershel Peak.
20President Kennedy began the day with what was to be his last Legislative Leaders Breakfast. He then met with Henry Fowler. The President received the 8th Armored Division Citation. The President next met with Senator Smathers and Lawrence O'Brien. Joseph McConnel was the Presidents next appointment, he was the Chairman of the US delegation to the Radio and Space Communication Summit. Next the President met with with Lena Horne, Carol Lawrence, DNC chairman John M. Bailey, Sidney Solomon and James Athy. The President next met with Orville Freeman and Charles Murphy. The President's last appointment before going to the pool for the last time was with the Inter-American Committee Symposium. After lunch the President met with Douglas Henderson the US Ambassador to Bolivia, followed by a meeting with Carl Rowan the US Ambassador to Finland. The Presidents last meeting of the day was with Alexis Johnson, Roger Hilsman and Frank Coffin. In the evening the President and First Lady hosted a Judicial Reception.
21President Kennedy had breakfast with his children. He said goodbye to Caroline when she left for school at 9:15. President Kennedy arrived at his office for the last time at 9:55. His last meeting was Thomas Estes US Ambassador to the Upper Volta, and Charles Darlington the US Ambassador to the Republic of Gabon. The President left the White House for the last time at 10:50 and helicoptered to Andrews Airforce Base where he and the First Lady departed for San Antonio Texas at 11:05 AM. John Jr had accompanied them the the airport. In San Antonio the President partakes in the dedication of the Aerospace Medical Health Center, Brooks Air Force Base. He then went on to Houston. In Houston he makes brief remarks to the League of United Lattin American Citizens at the Rice Hotel in Houston. He then addresses a dinner in honor of Representative Albert Thomas. The President and First Lady then traveled to Ft Worth were they stayed at the Texas Hotel.
22The President was awakened at 7:30. After eating a light breakfast he headed out to the square in front of the hotel and addressed a few thousand people . When someone yelled out were was Jackie- he pointed to their 8th floor suite and said "Mrs Kennedy is organizing herself, It takes her a little longer, but of course she looks better then we do when she does it". The President then took part in a Breakfast in the hotel. The First Couple together with the Vice President and Governor Connaly then proceded to take the short flight to Dallas where Air Force 1 landed at 11:38. At 11:55 the Presidents motorcade left Love Field in Dallas. At 12:30 the first of two shots hit the President, it was followed by a second fatal shot that hit the President in the head. At 1:00 Dr William Clark pronounced President Kennedy dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

After Dallas, Austin Would Have Been JFK's Next Stop on Texas Tour

Over the course of two days in November 1963, President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline were scheduled to visit San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth and Dallas – ending with a stop in Austin.

The Kennedys arrived in San Antonio Thursday, Nov. 21. From there, they traveled to Houston and before packing it in at the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth.

President Kennedy spoke to a crowd the morning of Friday, Nov. 22, just outside the hotel. The President and his wife then proceeded to Dallas, accompanied by Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie.

Austin was the final destination on Pres. Kennedy’s Texas tour. A motorcade was planned through downtown Austin, followed by receptions at the Governor’s Mansion and a fundraising event at the Austin’s Municipal Auditorium.

Don Carleton, executive director of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History says Kennedy’s trip was to raise a considerable amount of money.

“Texas was going to be incredibly important in the upcoming election,” Carelton says. “He needed, like all presidential campaigns, to raise money to fight for reelection. But also the public appearances here, including Austin, were partly more of an early campaign as well.”

Ben Barnes, former Texas Lieutenant Governor of Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, took part in organizing Kennedy’s visit to Texas. He also recalls the aftermath of the president’s death.

“We decided the important thing to do was to give everybody something to do, and to be able to see one another, be able to console one another, comfort one another and express sympathy to one another,” Barnes says.

Barnes says Austinites were not only grieving for Kennedy, but also praying for Gov. Connally to live.

“We had a prayer service at the house chamber at the Texas House of Representatives,” Barnes says, “which was full of people that had tickets to the Kennedy-Johnson dinner that night, members of the legislature and friends of Governor Connally.”

Barnes says Americans witnessed a time of change fifty years later, he’s impressed with the public reflection on President Kennedy’s life and tragic death.

On this day in history November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas launching four days of national mourning

On this day in history… November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United S t ates (1961–63) was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. by Lee Harvey Oswald, while in a Presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas heading towards the Texas School Book Depository. Kennedy was in an open limousine waving at the cheering crowd with First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nelly when three shots in succession erupted, which hit the President, and the Governor. Governor Connally was hit just once, while President Kennedy was hit twice, fatally. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Hospital, where President Kennedy was pronounced dead at 46 years-old, 30 minutes after the shooting. For three days after the shooting, the nation mourned the loss of their young president culminating in a state funeral on November 25.

President Kennedy’s visit to Texas was part of his early re-election campaign strategy, where he hoped in 1964 to win Florida and Texas. Although the president had not formally announced his re-election, he already started touring states. In Texas, Kennedy was looking to bring squabbling factions of the state’s Democratic Party together. President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie left Washington on Thursday, Nov. 21, where they would go on a “two-day, five-city tour of Texas.”

On that fateful day, Friday, Nov. 22, the Kennedys started out in Fort Worth that rainy morning, before taking a thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field, the Kennedys were greeted by the public, with someone handing Jackie a bouquet of red roses. In Dallas, the rain stopped, and the Kennedys joined the Texas first couple the Connallys in a now open top, convertible. They had to travel only ten miles to reach their destination, the Trade Mart Kennedy was supposed to address a “luncheon.”

They never reached there. On route, Kennedy and Connally were both shot, but the president more seriously, with wounds in his head and neck, he “slumped over” into Jackie’s lap, and where she shielded him as the motorcade now sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital. There was little that could be done to save the president, and he received last rites before being announced dead at 1 p.m., a mere half hour after he was shot. In the book “The Kennedy Detail” Secret Service agent Clint Hill recalled, “It has taken me decades to learn to cope with the guilt and sense of responsibility for the president’s death, and I have made it a practice to keep my memories to myself. I don’t talk to anybody about that day.

President Kenney would return to Love Field where barely three hours before he arrived alive, leaving in a casket boarding Air Force One. Inside the “crowded” plane US District Court Judge Sarah Hughes swore in Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson as the 36th US president at 2:38 p.m. Jackie Kennedy was standing by Johnson’s side, still wearing the clothes stained with the president’s blood.

CBS News was the first to report Kennedy had been shot at 12:40 p.m. CT as the network cut into popular soap opera “As the World Turns” to report what had happened to the president. Anchor Walter Cronkite went live at 12:48 p.m. Cronkite announced the president’s death as he took off his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes. There was an immediate outpouring of grief by the nation after news of the assassination broke, as they mourned the loss of an idealized young President. Robert Thompson, “a professor of pop culture and television at Syracuse University” commented, “While we didn’t see the assassination live, the television show about the assassination was a four-day long drama that played on national television.”

Police arrested Oswald, an hour after the shots were fired. Oswald, a Soviet sympathizer with ties to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, had shot Kennedy from the school book depository building, where he recently began to work. Two days later, Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner fatally shot Oswald, as he was being transferred from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail Ruby claimed he wanted to spare Jackie Kennedy any further grief.

The nation proceeded into four days of mourning, culminating three days later on November 25, 1963, when a state funeral was held for the slain president. According to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Jackie Kennedy modeled the funeral after President Abraham Lincoln’s, Lincoln had been assassinated nearly a 100 years before. On Saturday, November 23, as Kennedy’s body was in repose in the East Room of the White House for 24 hours, President Johnson declared the day a national day of mourning. On Sunday, November 24, the President’s coffin was carried by the same horse-drawn carriage as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Unknown Soldier before him, to the Capitol building where his body laid in state for 21 hours, with 250,000 people visiting his casket in the Capitol’s Rotunda.

On that Monday, November 25, one million people gathered on the route of the processional from the Capitol to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, where the funeral was held. Foreign dignitaries from 100 countries, including 19 heads of state came to pay their respects, and millions of Americans and 23 countries watched the assassination coverage and then funeral on TV, which was covered by then three big networks ABC, CBS, and NBC. John B. Mayo in his 1967 book “Bulletin From Dallas: The President Is From Dead” determined that “CBS clocked in with 55 total hours, ABC played 60 hours and NBC — airing an all-night vigil from the Capitol Rotunda on Sunday — broadcast 71 hours of coverage that weekend.”

After the Requiem Mass, as the President’s body was carried from the cathedral, three-year-old John Jr. saluted his father’s casket giving the mourning nation an iconic image to remember. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia after the service Jackie Kennedy and the president’s brothers Robert and Edward lit an eternal flame that remains burning over the President’s gravesite.

In 2010, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick published her book “Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation.” Speaking to PBS’s Newshour about the purpose of the book and looking back at the memory of President Kennedy, she claimed “And what I was trying to get at was how Americans at the moment viewed John F. Kennedy. It seemed to me that, in the decades since his death, there’s been so much historical revisionism, much of it appropriate, that dismantled the hagiography that grew up around him in the immediate aftermath of his assassination.”

Continuing, Fitzpatrick explained, “It had become increasingly difficult for students, for younger people, even people of my own generation, to recover that moment, the kind of idealism and faith that people had and the way that President Kennedy was viewed in his time… So, I was thinking, how can I recapture this? And I went into the archives. I asked the archivist. I remembered the condolence letters. I remembered Mrs. Kennedy thanking the public.”

Historian Alan Brinkley eloquently honored Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his death in 2013, with an article in the Atlantic Magazine, simply titled the “Legacy of John Kennedy” doing just that looking at the mystique of the 35th president that has only grown with time. Brinkley explains the reason why Kennedy remains a legend despite many failed policies and the introduction of far sweeping laws that passed during his successor’s administration. Brinkley writes Kennedy “remains a powerful symbol of a lost moment, of a soaring idealism and hopefulness that subsequent generations still try to recover. His allure-the romantic, almost mystic, associations his name evokes-not only survives but flourishes.”

After the most bruising and ugly presidential election in perhaps American history, the image Kennedy invoked is a sharp contrast to the political reality of today making Brinkley’s conclusion even more powerful. Brinkley expressed, Kennedy’s “legacy has only grown in the 50 years since his death. That he still embodies a rare moment of public activism explains much of his continuing appeal: He reminds many Americans of an age when it was possible to believe that politics could speak to society’s moral yearnings and be harnessed to its highest aspirations. More than anything, perhaps, Kennedy reminds us of a time when the nation’s capacities looked limitless, when its future seemed unbounded, when Americans believed that they could solve hard problems and accomplish bold deeds.” Whether Democrat or Republican it impossible in the era of Donald Trump not to wish for the idealism of the Kennedy era and ponder what if…



Kennedy traveled to Texas to smooth over frictions in the Democratic Party between liberals Ralph Yarborough, Don Yarborough, and conservative Texas governor John Connally. [6] The visit was first agreed upon by Kennedy, Texas native Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Connally during a meeting in El Paso in June. [8] Kennedy had three basic goals in mind:

  1. To help raise more Democratic Party presidential campaign fund contributions [8]
  2. To begin his quest for reelection in November 1964 [9] and
  3. To help make political amends among several leading Texas Democratic party members who appeared to be fighting amongst themselves [10]

The trip was announced in September 1963. The motorcade route was finalized on November 18 and announced soon after. [11]

Route to Dealey Plaza

Kennedy's itinerary called for him to arrive at Dallas Love Field via a short flight from Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth. [12] [13] The motorcade route through Dallas – with Kennedy, Connally, and their wives together in a single limousine, and Johnson and his wife two cars behind – was intended to give Kennedy maximum exposure to local crowds before his arrival for a luncheon at the Trade Mart, where he would meet with civic and business leaders. [12]

The Dallas Trade Mart was selected as the site for the luncheon, and Kenneth O'Donnell, Kennedy's friend and appointments secretary, had selected it as the destination for the motorcade. [12] [13] Leaving from Dallas Love Field, the motorcade had been allotted 45 minutes to reach the Trade Mart at a planned arrival time of 12:15 p.m. The itinerary was designed to serve as a meandering 10-mile (16-km) route between the two places, and the motorcade vehicles could be driven slowly within the allotted time.

Special Agent Winston G. Lawson, a member of the White House detail who acted as the advance Secret Service Agent, and Secret Service Agent Forrest V. Sorrels, special agent in charge of the Dallas office, was the most active in planning the actual motorcade route. On November 14, both men attended a meeting at Love Field and drove over the route that Sorrels believed was best suited for the motorcade. From Love Field, the route passed through a suburban section of Dallas, through Downtown along Main Street, a right turn on N. Houston Street for one block, a left turn on Elm Street passing through Dealey Plaza, and down a short segment of the Stemmons Freeway to the Trade Mart. [14]

Kennedy had planned to return to Love Field to leave for a fundraising dinner in Austin later that day. For the return trip, the agents selected a more direct route that was about 4 mi (6.4 km) some of this route would be used after the assassination. The planned route to the Trade Mart was widely reported in Dallas newspapers several days before the event, for the benefit of people who wished to view the motorcade. [14]

To pass through Downtown Dallas, a route west along Main Street, rather than Elm Street (one block to the north) was chosen, since this was the traditional parade route and provided the maximal building and crowd views. The Main Street section of the route prevented a direct turn onto the Fort Worth Turnpike exit (which served also as the Stemmons Freeway exit), which was the route to the Trade Mart, as this exit was only accessible from Elm Street. Therefore, the planned motorcade route included a short one-block turn at the end of the downtown segment of Main Street, onto Houston Street for one block northward, before turning again west onto Elm, that way they could proceed through Dealey Plaza before exiting Elm onto the Stemmons Freeway. The Texas School Book Depository was (and still is) situated at the northwest corner of the Houston and Elm Street intersection. [15]

The Dallas motorcade used three vehicles for Secret Service and police protection:

  • The first car, an unmarked white Ford (hardtop), carried Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry, Secret Service Agent Win Lawson, Sheriff Bill Decker and Dallas Field Agent Forrest Sorrels.
  • The second car, a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, was occupied by driver Agent Bill Greer, SAIC Roy Kellerman, Governor John Connally, Nellie Connally, President Kennedy, and Jackie Kennedy. [16]
  • The third car, a 1955 Cadillac convertible code-named "Halfback", contained driver Agent Sam Kinney, ATSAIC Emory Roberts, presidential aides Ken O'Donnell and Dave Powers, driver Agent George Hickey and PRS agent Glen Bennett. Secret Service agents Clint Hill, Jack Ready, Tim McIntyre and Paul Landis rode on the running boards.

On November 22—after a breakfast speech in Fort Worth, where Kennedy had stayed overnight after arriving from San Antonio, Houston, and Washington, D.C., the previous day—Kennedy boarded Air Force One, which departed at 11:10 and arrived at Love Field 15 minutes later. At about 11:40, Kennedy's motorcade left Love Field for the trip through Dallas, running on a schedule about 10 minutes longer than the planned 45, due to enthusiastic crowds estimated at 150,000 to 200,000 people, and two unplanned stops directed by Kennedy. [17] [18] [19]


Shooting in Dealey Plaza

Kennedy's open-top 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible limousine entered Dealey Plaza at 12:30 p.m. CST. Nellie Connally, the First Lady of Texas, turned to Kennedy, who was sitting behind her, and commented, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you". Kennedy's reply – "No, you certainly can't" – were his last words. [20] [21] [22]

From Houston Street, the limousine made the planned left turn onto Elm to provide access to the Stemmons Freeway exit. [ further explanation needed ] As it turned, it passed by the Texas School Book Depository, and as it continued down Elm Street shots were fired. About 80% of the witnesses recalled hearing three shots. [23] A Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and three shell casings were also found near an open window on the book depository's sixth floor. [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]

Shortly after Kennedy began waving, a few witnesses recognized the first gunshot for what it was, but there was little reaction from most in the crowd or those riding in the motorcade. Many later said they imagined what they heard to be a firecracker, or a vehicle backfiring. [29] Although some close witnesses [30] recalled seeing the limousine slow down or completely, the Warren Commission—based on the Zapruder film—found that the limousine had traveled an average speed of 11.2 miles per hour (18.0 km/h) over the 186 ft (57 m) of Elm Street immediately preceding the fatal head shot. [31] Texas School Book Depository employee Bonnie Ray Williams testified that he recognized Oswald as someone whom he saw on the sixth floor twice before the assassination took place. [32] [33]

Within one second of each other, Governor Connally and Mrs. Kennedy turn abruptly from looking to their left to looking to their right, beginning at Zapruder film frame 162. [34] Connally, like Kennedy, was a World War II military veteran, and was a longtime hunter he testified that he immediately recognized the sound as that of a high-powered rifle, and turned his head and torso rightward to see Kennedy behind him. He testified he could not see Kennedy, so he then started to turn forward again (turning from his right to his left), and that when his head was facing about 20 degrees left of center, [21] he was hit in his upper right back by a bullet that he did not hear fired. The doctor who operated on Connally estimated that his head at the time he was hit had been 27 degrees left of center. [21] After Connally was hit, he shouted, "Oh, no, no, no. My God. They're going to kill us all!" [35]

Mrs. Connally testified that just after hearing a loud, frightening noise that came from somewhere behind her and to her right, she turned toward Kennedy and saw him raise up his arms and elbows, with his hands in front of his face and throat. She then heard another shot and then Governor Connally yelling. Mrs. Connally then turned away from Kennedy toward her husband, at which point another gunshot sounded, and both she and the limousine's rear interior were covered with fragments of skull, blood, and brain.

According to the Warren Commission [36] and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, [37] Kennedy was waving to the crowds on his right with his right arm upraised on the side of the limo when a shot entered his upper back, penetrated his neck and slightly damaged a spinal vertebra and the top of his right lung. The bullet exited his throat nearly centerline just beneath his larynx and nicked the left side of his suit tie knot. He raised his elbows and clenched his fists in front of his face and neck, then leaned forward and left. Mrs. Kennedy, facing him, then put her arms around him in concern. [21] [38]

According to the Warren Commission's single bullet theory, Governor Connally also reacted after the same bullet penetrated his back just below his right armpit. The bullet created an oval-shaped entry wound, impacted and destroyed four inches of his right fifth rib, and exited his chest just below his right nipple. This created a two-and-a-half-inch oval-shaped air-sucking chest wound. That same bullet then entered his arm just above his right wrist and cleanly shattered his right radius bone into eight pieces. The bullet exited just below the wrist at the inner side of his right palm and finally lodged in his left inner thigh. [21] [38] The Warren Commission theorized that the "single bullet" struck sometime between Zapruder frames 210 and 225, while the House Select Committee theorized that it struck at approximately Zapruder frame 190. [39]

According to the Warren Commission, a second shot that struck Kennedy was recorded at Zapruder film frame 313. The commission made no conclusion as to whether this was the second or third bullet fired. The limousine then passed in front of the John Neely Bryan north pergola concrete structure. The two investigative committees concluded that the second shot to hit Kennedy entered the rear of his head (the House Select Committee placed the entry wound four inches higher than the Warren Commission placed it) and passed in fragments through his skull this created a large, "roughly ovular" [sic] hole on the rear, right side of the head. Kennedy's blood and fragments of his scalp, brain, and skull landed on the interior of the car, the inner and outer surfaces of the front glass windshield, the raised sun visors, the front engine hood, and the rear trunk lid. His blood and fragments also landed on the Secret Service follow-up car and its driver's left arm, as well on the motorcycle officers who were riding on both sides of Kennedy just behind his vehicle. [40] [41]

Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill was riding on the left front running board of the follow-up car, which was immediately behind Kennedy's limousine. Hill testified that he heard one shot, then, as documented in other films and concurrent with Zapruder frame 308, he jumped off into Elm Street and ran forward to board the trunk of the limousine and protect Kennedy Hill testified to the Warren Commission that he heard the fatal headshot as he was reaching the limousine, "approximately five seconds" after the first shot that he heard. [42]

After Kennedy was shot in the head, Mrs. Kennedy began climbing out onto the back of the limousine, though she later had no recollection of doing so. [35] [43] Hill believed she was reaching for something, perhaps a piece of Kennedy's skull. [42] He jumped onto the back of the limousine while at the same time Mrs. Kennedy returned to her seat, and he clung to the car as it exited Dealey Plaza and accelerated, speeding to Parkland Memorial Hospital.

After Mrs. Kennedy crawled back into her limousine seat, both Governor and Mrs. Connally heard her repeatedly say, "They have killed my husband. I have his brains in my hand." [20] [21] Mrs. Kennedy recalled, "All the ride to the hospital I kept bending over him saying, 'Jack, Jack, can you hear me? I love you, Jack.' I kept holding the top of his head down trying to keep the brains in." [44]

Governor Connally and a spectator wounded

Governor Connally was seated directly in front of Kennedy and three inches more to the left than Kennedy he was also seriously injured, but survived. Doctors later stated that after the Governor was shot, his wife pulled him onto her lap, and the resulting posture helped close his front chest wound, which was causing air to be sucked directly into his chest around his collapsed right lung.

Bystander James Tague received a minor wound to the right cheek while standing 531 feet (162 m) away from the depository's sixth floor easternmost window, 270 feet (82 m) in front of and slightly to the right of Kennedy's head facing direction and more than 16 feet (4.9 m) below the top of Kennedy's head. Tague's injury occurred when a bullet or bullet fragment with no copper casing struck the nearby Main Street south curb. A deputy sheriff noticed some blood on Tague's cheek, and Tague realized that something had stung his face during the shooting. When Tague pointed to where he had been standing, the police officer noticed a bullet smear on a nearby curb. Nine months later the FBI removed the curb, and a spectrographic analysis revealed metallic residue consistent with that of the lead core in Oswald's ammunition. [45] Tague testified before the Warren Commission and initially stated that he was wounded on his cheek by either the second or third shot of the three shots that he remembered hearing. When the commission counsel pressed him to be more specific, Tague testified that he was wounded by the second shot. [46]

Aftermath in Dealey Plaza

The limousine was passing the grassy knoll to the north of Elm Street at the time of the fatal head shot. As the motorcade left Dealey Plaza, police officers and spectators ran up the grassy hill and from the triple underpass, to the area behind a five-foot (1.5 m) high stockade fence atop the knoll, separating it from a parking lot. No sniper was found there. [47] S. M. Holland, who had been watching the motorcade on the triple underpass, testified that "immediately" after the shots were fired, he saw a puff of smoke rising from the trees right by the stockade fence and then ran around the corner where the overpass joined the fence but did not see anyone running from that area. [48] [49]

Lee Bowers was in a two-story railroad switch tower [49] which gave him an unobstructed view of the rear of the stockade fence atop the grassy knoll. [50] He saw four men in the area between his tower and Elm Street: two men who seemed not to know each other near the triple underpass, some 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 m) apart, and one or two uniformed parking lot attendants. At the time of the shooting, he saw "something out of the ordinary, a sort of milling around", which he could not identify. Bowers testified that one or both of the men were still there when motorcycle officer Clyde Haygood ran up the grassy knoll to the back of the fence. [51] In a 1966 interview, Bowers clarified that the two men he saw were standing in the opening between the pergola and the fence, and that "no one" was behind the fence at the time the shots were fired. [52] [53]

Meanwhile, Howard Brennan, a steamfitter who had been sitting across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, approached police to say that as the motorcade passed he heard a shot come from above, then looked up to see a man with a rifle take another shot from a sixth-floor corner window. He said he had seen the same man looking out the window minutes earlier. [54] Police broadcast Brennan's description of this man at 12:45, 12:48, and 12:55 p.m. [55] [56] After the second shot, Brennan recalled, [ when? ] "This man . was aiming for his last shot . and maybe paused for another second as though to assure himself that he had hit his mark." [57]

As Brennan spoke to the police in front of the building, they were joined by two Book Depository employees who had been watching the motorcade from windows at the southeast corner of the building's fifth floor. [58] One reported hearing three gunshots come from directly over their heads [59] and sounds of a bolt-action rifle and cartridges dropping on the floor above. [60]

Dallas police sealed off the exits from the depository approximately between 12:33 and 12:50 p.m. [61] [62]

There were at least 104 earwitnesses in Dealey Plaza who were on record with an opinion as to the direction from which the shots came. Fifty-four (51.9%) thought that all shots came from the depository building. Thirty-three (31.7%) thought that they came from either the grassy knoll or the triple underpass. Nine (8.7%) thought that each shot came from a location entirely distinct from the knoll or the depository. Five (4.8%) believed that they heard shots from two locations, and 3 (2.9%) thought that the shots originated from a direction consistent with both the knoll and the depository. [23] [63]

The Warren Commission additionally concluded that three shots were fired and said that "a substantial majority of the witnesses stated that the shots were not evenly spaced. Most witnesses recalled that the second and third shots were bunched together". [64]

Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby

Depository employee Buell Wesley Frazier, who drove Oswald to work, testified that he saw Oswald take a long brown paper bag into the building which Oswald told him contained "curtain rods." [65] [66] [67] After Oswald's supervisor at the depository reported him missing, [68] police broadcast his description as a suspect in the shooting at Dealey Plaza. [ citation needed ] Police officer J. D. Tippit subsequently spotted Oswald walking along a sidewalk in the residential neighborhood of Oak Cliff (three miles from Dealey Plaza) and called him over to the patrol car. After an exchange of words, Tippit got out of his car Oswald shot Tippit four times, emptied the bullet casings from his gun, and fled. [69] The long brown bag which Frazier described was also found by six Dallas police officers near the sixth floor window where Oswald was determined to have fired gunshots at President Kennedy and was revealed to be 38 inches long with marks on the inside consistent with those of a rifle. [67]

Oswald was subsequently seen "ducking into" the entrance alcove of a store by the store's manager, who then watched Oswald continue up the street and slip into the Texas Theatre without paying. [70] The store manager alerted the theater's ticket clerk, who telephoned police [71] at about 1:40 p.m. Officers arrived and arrested Oswald inside the theater. According to one of the officers, Oswald resisted and was attempting to draw his pistol when he was struck and restrained. [72]

Oswald was charged with the murders of Kennedy and Tippit later that night. [73] He denied shooting anyone and claimed he was being made a "patsy" because he had lived in the Soviet Union. [74]

On Sunday, November 24 at 11:21 a.m. CST, as Oswald was being escorted to a car in the basement of Dallas Police headquarters for the transfer from the city jail to the county jail, he was fatally shot by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. The shooting was broadcast live on American television. Unconscious, Oswald was taken by ambulance to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where Kennedy had died two days earlier he died at 1:07 p.m. [75] Oswald's death was announced on a TV news broadcast by Dallas police chief Jesse Curry. An autopsy later that day, by Dallas County Medical Examiner Earl Rose, found that Oswald had been killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. [76] Arrested immediately after the shooting, Ruby said that he had been distraught by Kennedy's death and that killing Oswald would spare "Mrs. Kennedy the discomfiture of coming back to trial". [77]

Carcano rifle

An Italian Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle (see 6.5×52mm Mannlicher–Carcano cartridge) was found on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository by Deputy Constable Seymour Weitzman and Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone soon after the assassination. [78] The recovery was filmed by Tom Alyea of WFAA-TV. [79]

This footage shows the rifle to be a Carcano, and photographic analysis commissioned by the HSCA verified that the rifle filmed was the one later identified as the assassination weapon. [80] Compared to photographs taken of Oswald holding the rifle in his backyard, "one notch in the stock at [a] point that appears very faintly in the photograph" matched, [81] as well as the rifle's dimensions. [82]

The rifle had been purchased, secondhand, by Oswald the previous March under the alias "A. Hidell" and delivered to a post-office box he had rented in Dallas. [83] According to the Warren Report, a partial palm print belonging to Oswald was also found on the barrel, [84] [85] and fibers found in a crevice of the rifle were consistent with the fibers from the shirt Oswald was wearing when he was arrested. [86] [87]

A bullet found on Governor Connally's hospital gurney and two bullet fragments found in the limousine were ballistically matched to this rifle. [88]

Kennedy declared dead in the emergency room

In a death certificate executed the following day, Kennedy's personal physician, George Burkley, recited that he arrived at the hospital some five minutes after Kennedy and – though Secret Service personnel reported that Kennedy had been breathing – immediately saw that survival was impossible. The certificate listed "gunshot wound, skull" as the cause of death. [89] [90]

Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m., CST (19:00 UTC) after heart activity ceased. Father Oscar Huber administered the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. [91] Huber told The New York Times that by the time he arrived at the hospital Kennedy had died, so that he had to draw back a sheet covering Kennedy's face to administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction. [91] Kennedy's death was announced by White House Acting Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff at 1:33 p.m. [92] [93] (Press Secretary Pierre Salinger was traveling to Japan that day, along with much of the Cabinet.) [94] [95] [96] Governor Connally, meanwhile, underwent surgery.

Members of Kennedy's security detail were attempting to remove Kennedy's body from the hospital when they briefly scuffled with Dallas officials, including Dallas County Coroner Earl Rose, who believed that he was legally obligated to perform an autopsy before Kennedy's body was removed. [97] The Secret Service pushed through and Rose eventually stepped aside. [98] The forensic panel of the HSCA, of which Rose was a member, later said that Texas law made it the responsibility of the justice of the peace to determine cause of death and to determine whether an autopsy was needed. [99] A Dallas County justice of the peace signed the official record of inquest [ when? ] [99] as well as a second certificate of death. [ when? ] [100]

A few minutes after 2:00 p.m, [ further explanation needed ] Kennedy's body was taken from Parkland Hospital to Love Field. His casket was loaded into the rear of the passenger compartment of Air Force One in place of a removed row of seats.

Vice President Lyndon Johnson had accompanied Kennedy to Dallas and been riding two cars behind Kennedy's limousine in the motorcade. He became President as soon as Kennedy died and, at 2:38 p.m., with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side, he was administered the oath of office by federal judge Sarah Tilghman Hughes aboard Air Force One shortly before departing for Washington. [101]


Kennedy's body was flown back to Washington, D.C. [102] His autopsy was performed at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, between about 8 p.m. and midnight EST, Saturday, November 23. It was performed at a naval hospital at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy, on the basis that President Kennedy had been a naval officer during World War II. [103]

On Sunday, November 24, Kennedy's coffin was carried on a horse-drawn caisson to the United States Capitol to lie in state. [104] Throughout the day and night, hundreds of thousands of people lined up to view the guarded casket. [105] Representatives from over 90 countries attended the state funeral on Monday, November 25. [106] After the Requiem Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington in Virginia. [107]

No radio or television stations broadcast the assassination live. Most media crews did not ride with the motorcade, but were instead waiting at the Dallas Trade Mart in anticipation of Kennedy's arrival there. Members of the media who were with the motorcade were riding at the rear of the procession.

The Dallas police were recording their radio transmissions over two different channels. Channel One was used for routine police communications, while Channel Two was dedicated to the motorcade until shots were fired, most traffic on the second channel was Police Chief Jesse Curry's updates on the motorcade's location.

Kennedy's last seconds of traveling through Dealey Plaza were recorded on silent 8 mm film for the 26.6 seconds before, during, and immediately following the assassination. This famous film footage was taken by garment manufacturer and amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder, and became known as the Zapruder film. Frame enlargements from the Zapruder film were published by Life magazine shortly after the assassination. The footage was first shown publicly as a film at the trial of Clay Shaw in 1969, and on television in 1975. [108] According to the Guinness Book of World Records, in 1999 an arbitration panel ordered the United States government to pay $615,384 per second of film to Zapruder's heirs for giving the film to the National Archives. The complete film, which lasts for roughly over 26 seconds, was valued at $16 million. [109] [110]

Including Zapruder, 32 photographers are known to have been in Dealey Plaza that day. Amateur movies taken by Orville Nix, Marie Muchmore (shown on television in New York on November 26, 1963), [111] [112] [113] and photographer Charles Bronson captured the fatal shot, although at a greater distance than Zapruder did. Other motion picture films were taken in Dealey Plaza at or around the time of the shooting by Robert Hughes, F. Mark Bell, Elsie Dorman, John Martin Jr., Patsy Paschall, Tina Towner, James Underwood, Dave Wiegman, Mal Couch, Thomas Atkins, and an unknown woman in a blue dress on the south side of Elm Street. [114]

Still photos were taken by Phillip Willis, Mary Moorman, Hugh W. Betzner Jr., Wilma Bond, Robert Croft, and many others. Ike Altgens, a photo editor for the Associated Press in Dallas, was the only professional photographer in Dealey Plaza who was not in the press cars.

Motion pictures and photographs taken by some of these people show an unidentified woman, nicknamed by researchers Babushka Lady, apparently filming the motorcade around the time of the assassination.

Previously unknown color footage filmed on the assassination day by George Jefferies was released in February 2007. [115] [116] The film was shot over 90 seconds before the assassination, several blocks away. However, it gives a clear view of Kennedy's bunched suit jacket, just below the collar, which has led to varying calculations of how low in the back Kennedy was first shot (see discussion above).

Dallas Police

After the Dallas Police arrested Oswald and collected physical evidence at the crime scenes, they held Oswald at their headquarters, questioning him all afternoon about the shootings of Kennedy and Tippit. They intermittently questioned him for approximately 12 hours between 2:30 p.m., on November 22, and 11 a.m., on November 24. [117] Throughout, Oswald denied any involvement with either shooting. [117] Captain Fritz of the homicide and robbery bureau did most of the questioning he kept only rudimentary notes. [118] [119] Days later, he wrote a report of the interrogation from notes he made afterwards. [118] There were no stenographic or tape recordings. Representatives of other law enforcement agencies were also present, including the FBI and the Secret Service, and occasionally participated in the questioning. [120] Several of the FBI agents who were present wrote contemporaneous reports of the interrogation. [121]

On the evening of the assassination, Dallas Police performed paraffin tests on Oswald's hands and right cheek in an effort to establish whether or not he had recently fired a weapon. [120] The results were positive for the hands and negative for the right cheek. [120] Such tests were unreliable, and the Warren Commission did not rely on these results. [120]

Oswald provided little information during his questioning. When confronted with evidence that he could not explain, he resorted to statements that were found to be false. [120] [122]

FBI investigation

On December 9, 1963, the Warren Commission received the FBI's report of its investigation which concluded that three bullets had been fired‍—‌the first hitting Kennedy, the second hitting Connally, and the third hitting Kennedy in the head, killing him. [123] The Warren Commission concluded that one of the three shots missed, one passed through Kennedy and then struck Connally, and a third struck Kennedy in the head.

Warren Commission

The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 29, 1963, by President Johnson to investigate the assassination. [124] Its 888-page final report was presented to Johnson on September 24, 1964, and made public three days later. [125] It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in killing Kennedy and wounding Connally, and that Jack Ruby acted alone in killing Oswald. [126] [127] The commission's findings have proven controversial and been variously criticized and supported by later studies. [128]

The commission took its unofficial name, "The Warren Commission", from its chairman, Chief Justice Earl Warren. According to published transcripts of Johnson's presidential phone conversations, some major officials were opposed to forming such a commission, and several commission members took part only with extreme reluctance. [129] One of their chief reservations was that a commission would ultimately create more controversy than consensus, and those fears ultimately proved valid. [129]

All of the Warren Commission's records were submitted to the National Archives in 1964. The unpublished portion of those records was initially sealed for 75 years (to 2039) under a general National Archives policy that applied to all federal investigations by the executive branch of government, a period "intended to serve as protection for innocent persons who could otherwise be damaged because of their relationship with participants in the case". [130] [131] The 75-year rule no longer exists, supplanted by the Freedom of Information Act of 1966 and the JFK Records Act of 1992.

Ramsey Clark Panel

In 1968, a panel of four medical experts appointed by Attorney General Ramsey Clark met to examine photographs, X-rays, documents, and other evidence. The panel concluded that Kennedy was struck by two bullets fired from above and behind, one traversing the base of the neck on the right without striking bone, and the other entering the skull from behind and destroying its upper right side. They also concluded that the skull shot entered well above the external occipital protuberance, which was at odds with the Warren Commission's findings. [132]

Rockefeller Commission

The United States President's Commission on CIA Activities within the United States was set up under President Gerald Ford in 1975 to investigate the activities of the CIA within the United States. The commission was led by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and is sometimes referred to as the Rockefeller Commission.

Part of the commission's work dealt with the Kennedy assassination, specifically, the head snap as seen in the Zapruder film (first shown to the general public in 1975), and the possible presence of E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis in Dallas. [133] The commission concluded that neither Hunt nor Sturgis was in Dallas at the time of the assassination. [134]

Church Committee

The Church Committee is the common term referring to the 1975 United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, to investigate the illegal intelligence gathering by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the Watergate incident. It also investigated the CIA and FBI conduct relating to the JFK assassination.

Their report concluded that the investigation into the assassination by FBI and CIA was fundamentally deficient and that facts that may have greatly affected the investigation had not been forwarded to the Warren Commission by the agencies. The report hinted that there was a possibility that senior officials in both agencies made conscious decisions not to disclose potentially important information. [135]

United States House Select Committee on Assassinations

As a result of increasing public and congressional skepticism regarding the Warren Commission's findings and the transparency of government agencies, House Resolution 1540 was passed in September 1976, creating the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) to investigate the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.. [136]

The committee investigated until 1978, and in March 1979 issued its final report, concluding that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. [137] The chief reason for this conclusion was, according to the report's dissent, the subsequently discredited [138] [5] acoustic analysis of a police channel dictabelt recording. The committee concluded that previous investigations into Oswald's responsibility were "thorough and reliable" but they did not adequately investigate the possibility of a conspiracy, and that Federal agencies performed with "varying degrees of competency". [139] Specifically, the FBI and CIA were found to be deficient in sharing information with other agencies and the Warren Commission. Instead of furnishing all information relevant to the investigation, the FBI and CIA only responded to specific requests and were still occasionally inadequate. [140] Furthermore, the Secret Service did not properly analyze information it possessed prior to the assassination and was inadequately prepared to protect Kennedy. [137]

Concerning the conclusions of "probable conspiracy", four of the twelve committee members wrote dissenting opinions. [141] In accordance with the recommendations of the HSCA, the Dictabelt recording and acoustic evidence of a second assassin was subsequently reexamined. In light of investigative reports from the FBI's Technical Services Division and a specially appointed National Academy of Sciences Committee determining that "reliable acoustic data do not support a conclusion that there was a second gunman", [142] the Justice Department concluded "that no persuasive evidence can be identified to support the theory of a conspiracy" in the Kennedy assassination. [5]

Although the final report and supporting volumes of the HSCA was publicly released, the working papers and primary documents were sealed until 2029 under Congressional rules and only partially released as part of the 1992 JFK Act. [143]

JFK Act and Assassination Records Review Board

In 1992, the popular but controversial movie JFK renewed public interest in the assassination and particularly in the still-classified documents referenced in the film's postscript. Largely in response to the film, Congress passed the JFK Act, or "President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992". The goal of the legislation was to collect at the National Archives and make publicly available all of the assassination-related records held by federal and state government agencies, private citizens and various other organizations.

The JFK Act also mandated the creation of an independent office, the Assassination Records Review Board, to review the submitted records for completeness and continued secrecy. The Review Board was not commissioned to make any findings or conclusions regarding the assassination, just to collect and release all related documents. From 1994 until 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board gathered and unsealed about 60,000 documents, consisting of over 4 million pages. [144] [145] Government agencies requested that some records remain classified and these were reviewed under section 6 criteria of the JFK Act. There were 29,420 such records and all of them were fully or partially released, with stringent requirements for redaction.

A staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy's brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained. Boswell refuted these allegations. [146] The board also found that, conflicting with the photographic images showing no such defect, a number of witnesses (at both the hospital and the autopsy) saw a large wound in the back of Kennedy's head. [147] The board and board member, Jeremy Gunn, have also stressed the problems with witness testimony, asking people to weigh all of the evidence, with due concern for human error, rather than take single statements as "proof" for one theory or another. [148] [149]

All remaining assassination-related records (approximately 5,000 pages) were scheduled to be released by October 26, 2017, with the exception of documents certified for continued postponement by succeeding presidents under the following conditions: (1) "continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military, defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations" and (2) "the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure." There was some concern among researchers that significant records, particularly those of the CIA, might still remain classified after 2017. [150] [151] Although these documents may include interesting historical information, all of the records were examined by the Review Board and were not determined to impact the facts of the Kennedy assassination. [152] President Donald Trump said in October 2017 that he would not block the release of documents. [151] On 26 April 2018, the deadline set by President Trump to release all JFK records, he blocked the release of some records until October 26, 2021. [153] [154]

Many conspiracy theories posit that the assassination involved people or organizations in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald. Most current theories put forth a criminal conspiracy involving parties as varied as the FBI, the CIA, the U.S. military, [155] the Mafia, Vice President Johnson, Cuban President Fidel Castro, the KGB, or some combination of those entities. [156]

Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Gallup polls have also found that only 20–30% of the population believe that Oswald had acted alone. These polls also show that there is no agreement on who else may have been involved. [157] [158] Former Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi estimated that a total of 42 groups, 82 assassins, and 214 people had been accused in various Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories. [159]

The assassination evoked stunned reactions worldwide. The first hour after the shooting was a time of great confusion before the President's death was announced. The incident took place during the Cold War, and it was at first unclear whether the shooting might be part of a larger attack upon the United States. There was also concern whether Vice President Johnson, who had been riding two cars behind in the motorcade, was safe.

The news shocked the nation. People wept openly and gathered in department stores to watch the television coverage, while others prayed. Traffic in some areas came to a halt as the news spread from car to car. [123] Schools across the United States dismissed their students early. [160] Anger against Texas and Texans was reported from some individuals. Various Cleveland Browns fans, for example, carried signs at the next Sunday's home game against the Dallas Cowboys decrying the city of Dallas as having "killed the President". [161] [162]

However, there were also instances of Kennedy's opponents cheering the assassination. A journalist reported rejoicing in the streets of Amarillo, with a woman crying out, "Hey, great, JFK’s croaked!" [163]

The event left a lasting impression on many worldwide. As with the preceding attack on Pearl Harbor of December 7, 1941, and, much later, the September 11 attacks, asking "Where were you when you heard about President Kennedy's assassination" would become a common topic of discussion. [164] [165] [166] [167]

The VC-137C SAM 26000 that served as Air Force One at the time of the assassination is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The 1961 Lincoln Continental limousine is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. [168]

Jacqueline Kennedy's pink suit, the autopsy report, the X-rays, and President Kennedy's blood-stained clothing are in the National Archives, with access controlled by the Kennedy family. Other items in the Archives include equipment from Parkland Hospital trauma room Oswald's rifle, diary, and revolver bullet fragments and the windshield of Kennedy's limousine. [168] The Lincoln Catafalque, on which Kennedy's coffin rested in the Capitol, is on display at the United States Capitol Visitor Center. [169]

In 1993 the three-acre park within Dealey Plaza, the buildings facing it, the overpass, and a portion of the adjacent railyard – including the railroad switching tower – were incorporated into the Dealey Plaza Historic District by the National Park Service. Much of the area is accessible by visitors, including the park and grassy knoll. Elm Street is still an active thoroughfare an X painted in the road marks the approximate spot at which the shots struck Kennedy and Connally. [170] The Texas School Book Depository and its Sixth Floor Museum draw over 325,000 visitors annually, and contains a re-creation of the area from which Oswald fired. [171] The Sixth Floor Museum also manages the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial located one block east of Dealey Plaza. [172]

At the direction of the deceased president's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, some items were destroyed by the United States government. The casket in which Kennedy's body was transported from Dallas to Washington was dropped into the sea by the Air Force, because "its public display would be extremely offensive and contrary to public policy". [173] The Texas State Archives has the clothes Connally was wearing when he was shot. The gun Ruby used to kill Oswald later came into the possession of Ruby's brother Earl, and was sold in 1991 for $220,000. [174]

Dealey Plaza and Texas School Book Depository in 1969, six years after the assassination


After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, his body was flown back to Washington, [8] and taken to Bethesda Naval Hospital for the autopsy. [9] [10] At the same time, military authorities began making arrangements for a state funeral. [11] [12] Army Major General Philip C. Wehle, the commanding general of the Military District of Washington (MDW) (CG MDW), and retired Army Colonel Paul C. Miller, chief of ceremonies and special events at the MDW, planned the funeral. [13] [14]

They headed to the White House and worked with the president's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, also director of the Peace Corps, and Ralph Dungan, an aide to the president. [13] [15] [16] [17] Because President Kennedy had no funeral plan in place, much of the planning rested with the CG MDW. [13] House Speaker John W. McCormack said that the president's body would be brought back to the White House to lie in the East Room the following day and then taken to the Capitol to lie in state in the rotunda all day Sunday. [18]

The day after the assassination, Vice-President, Lyndon B. Johnson, after taking office as the 36th President of United States, issued Presidential Proclamation 3561, declaring Monday to be a national day of mourning, [19] [20] and only essential emergency workers to be at their posts. [21] He read the proclamation over a nationwide radio and television broadcast at 4:45 p.m. from the Fish Room (currently known as the Roosevelt Room) at the White House. [19] [22]

Several elements of the state funeral paid tribute to Kennedy's service in the Navy during World War II. [23] They included a member of the Navy bearing the presidential flag, [23] the playing of the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," and the Naval Academy Glee Club performing at the White House. [24] [25]

After the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital, former President Kennedy's body was prepared for burial by embalmers from Gawler's Funeral Home in Washington, who performed the embalming and cosmetic restoration procedures at Bethesda. [26] [27] Then, President Kennedy's body was put in a new mahogany casket in place of the bronze casket used to transport the body from Dallas. [26] [28] The bronze casket had been damaged in transit, [26] and was later disposed of by the Air Force in the Atlantic Ocean so that it would not "fall into the hands of sensation seekers." [29]

President Kennedy's body was returned to the White House at about 4:30 a.m. EST on Saturday, November 23. [30] [31] The motorcade bearing the remains was met at the White House gate by a U.S. Marine Corps honor guard, which escorted it to the North Portico. [30] The pallbearers bore the casket to the East Room where, nearly one hundred years earlier, the body of Abraham Lincoln had lain. [30] President Kennedy's casket was placed on a catafalque previously used for the funerals of the Unknown Soldiers from the Korean War and World War II at Arlington. [32] Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy declared that the casket would be kept closed for the viewing and funeral. [33] The shot to President Kennedy's head left a gaping wound, [34] and religious leaders said that a closed casket minimized morbid concentration on the body. [35]

First Lady Kennedy, still wearing the blood-stained suit she wore in Dallas, [30] had not left the side of her husband's body since he was shot. [36] Only after the casket was placed in the East Room, draped with black crepe, [37] did she retire to her private quarters. [38]

President Kennedy's body lay in repose in the East Room for 24 hours, [2] attended by an honor guard including troops from the 3rd Infantry and from the Army's Special Forces (Green Berets). [39] [40] [41] The Special Forces troops had been brought hurriedly from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, at the request of U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was aware of his brother's particular interest in them. [40]

First Lady Kennedy requested two Catholic priests to remain with the body until the official funeral. [42] [39] A call was made to The Catholic University of America, and Msgr. Robert Paul Mohan and Fr. Gilbert Hartke, two prominent Washington, D.C., priests, were immediately dispatched for the task. [43] A solemn Mass was celebrated for family in the East Room at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 23. [39] Fr. M. Frank Ruppert of St. Matthew's Cathedral Parish would celebrate a mass in the East Room the following day. [44] After the Mass, other family members, friends, and other government officials came at specified times to pay their respects to President Kennedy. [45] [39] This included former U.S. Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. [46] The other surviving former U.S. president at the time, Herbert Hoover, was too ill to attend the state funeral, [47] and was represented by his sons, Herbert Hoover Jr. (who also attended the funeral) and Allan Hoover (who went to the services in the US Capitol rotunda). [48] [49]

In Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, crowds stood in the rain, keeping a vigil and paying quiet respects. [50] It rained all day in Washington, befitting the mood of the nation. [51] [52] [53]

On Sunday afternoon about 300,000 people watched a horse-drawn caisson, which had borne the body of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Unknown Soldier, [54] [44] carry Former President Kennedy's flag-covered casket down the White House drive, past parallel rows of soldiers bearing the flags of the 50 states of the Union, [55] then along Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol Rotunda to lie in state. [56] The only sounds on Pennsylvania Avenue as the cortège made its way to the Capitol were the sounds of the muffled drums and the clacking of horses' hooves, including the riderless (caparisoned) horse Black Jack. [54] [57]

The widow, holding her two children by the hand, led the public mourning for the country. [5] [58] In the rotunda, Former First Lady Kennedy and her daughter Caroline knelt beside the casket, which rested on the Lincoln catafalque. [59] [5] [60] Three-year-old John Jr. was briefly taken out of the rotunda so as not to disrupt the service. [59] [61] former First Lady Kennedy maintained her composure as her husband was taken to the Capitol to lie in state, as well as during the memorial service. [62]

Brief eulogies were delivered inside the rotunda by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Speaker McCormack. [63] [64] [65]

President Kennedy was the first president in more than 30 years to lie in state in the rotunda, the last being William Howard Taft in 1930, [66] and the first Democrat to lie in state at the Capitol. [67] In fact, he was one of only two Democratic presidents to lie in state at the Capitol the other being LBJ, in 1973. [67]

Public viewing Edit

In the only public viewing, thousands lined up in near-freezing temperatures to view the casket. [4] Over the span of 18 hours, 250,000 people, [68] [69] [5] [70] some waiting for as long as 10 hours in a line up to 10 wide that stretched 40 blocks, [71] personally paid their respects as former President Kennedy's body lay in state. United States Capitol Police officers politely reminded mourners to keep moving along in two lines that passed on either side of the casket and exited the building on the west side facing the National Mall. [54] [71]

The original plan was for the rotunda to close at 9:00 p.m. and reopen for an hour at 9:00 the next morning. [72] [73] Because of long lines police and military authorities decided to keep the doors open. [71] At 9:00 p.m., when the rotunda was supposed to close, both Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy returned to the rotunda again. [74] More than half the mourners came to the rotunda after 2:45 a.m., by which time 115,000 had already visited. [54] [73] Military officials doubled the lines, first to two abreast, then to four abreast. [71]

NBC broadcast uninterrupted coverage of the people passing through the Capitol rotunda during the overnight hours. [75] [76] [71] [77] Reuven Frank recounted that NBC News vice-president Bill McAndrew ordered pictures of the crowds passing through the rotunda all night, which provided a calming effect. [77] While anchoring the Today show from an NBC Washington studio the next day, Hugh Downs said that the numbers made it "the greatest and most solemn wake in history." [78] CBS Washington correspondent Roger Mudd said of the numbers: "This outpouring of affection and sympathy for the late president is probably the most majestic and stately ceremony the American people can perform." [79] Jersey Joe Walcott, a former heavyweight boxing champion, passed by the bier at 2:30 a.m. [72] [80] and agreed with Mudd, saying of former President Kennedy, "He was a great man." [81]

Arrival of dignitaries Edit

As Former President Kennedy lay in state, foreign dignitaries—including heads of state and government and members of royal families—started to arrive in Washington to attend the state funeral on Monday. [82] [83] [84] Secretary of State Dean Rusk and other State Department personnel went to both of Washington's commercial airports to personally greet foreign dignitaries. [85] [84] [86]

Queen Frederica of the Hellenes, and King Baudouin I of the Belgians were just some of the other members of royalty attending. Some law enforcement officials, including MPDC Chief Robert V. Murray, later said that it was the biggest security nightmare they ever faced. [82] [88]

As people were viewing the casket, military authorities held meetings at the White House, at MDW headquarters, and at Arlington National Cemetery to plan Monday's events. [89] First, they decided that the public viewing should end at 9:00 a.m. EST [73] and that the ceremonies would begin at 10:30 a.m. EST. [90]

Unlike Sunday's procession, which was led by only the muffled drum corps, [91] Monday's was expanded to include other military units. [92] [93] [94] Military officials also agreed to requests from Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline Kennedy. [89] They agreed that the Marine Band should lead the funeral procession, [89] [95] which would include two foreign military units—10 pipers from the Scottish Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) marching from the White House to St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Cathedral, [96] a group of 30 Irish Defence Forces cadets—at the request of Mrs. Kennedy—performing silent drill at the grave site, and placement of an eternal flame at the grave. [97] [98] The cadets came from the Curragh Camp, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. [92] The cadets traveled with Irish President Éamon de Valera, and together they paid tribute to Kennedy's Irish ancestry. [92]

Approximately one million people lined the route of the funeral procession, from the Capitol back to the White House, then to St. Matthew's Cathedral, and finally to Arlington National Cemetery. [99] [5] Millions more followed the funeral on television. [100] [101] Those who watched the funeral on television were the only ones who saw the ceremony in its entirety. [102] The three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, used at least 50 cameras for the joint coverage in order to allow viewers to follow the proceedings in their entirety from the Capitol to Arlington. [103] In addition, the networks' Washington bureau chiefs (Bob Fleming at ABC, Bill Monroe at NBC, and Bill Small at CBS) moved correspondents and cameras to keep them ahead of the cortège. [103] [104]

The day's events began at 8:25 a.m., when the MPDC cut off the line of mourners waiting to get into the rotunda. [105] They did so because a large group tried to break into the line and the MPDC were not able to sort out those who had already been in line, many of whom had waited for five hours. [71] [70] Thirty-five minutes, later, the doors closed, ending the lying in state [71] the last visitors passed through at 9:05 a.m. [105]

At 10:00 a.m., both houses of Congress met to pass resolutions expressing sorrow. [68] [106] In the Senate, Maine Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith laid a single rose on the desk Kennedy had occupied when in the Senate. [107]

Procession to cathedral Edit

After Jacqueline Kennedy and her brothers-in-laws, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, visited the rotunda, the coffin was carried out onto the caisson. [90] At 10:50, the caisson left the Capitol. [108] Ten minutes later, the procession began, [105] making its way back to the White House. As the procession reached the White House, all the military units except for the Marine company turned right off Pennsylvania Avenue and onto 17th Street. [109] A platoon of the Marine company turned in the northeast gate and led the cortege into the North Portico. [109]

At the White House, the procession resumed on foot for roughly 0.9 miles (1.4 km) to St. Matthew's Cathedral, led by Jacqueline Kennedy and the late president's brothers, Robert and Edward (Ted) Kennedy. [110] They walked the same route that John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy often used when going to Mass at the cathedral. [44] [110] This also marked the first time that a first lady walked in her husband's funeral procession. [111] The two Kennedy children rode in a limousine behind their mother and uncles. [112] The rest of the Kennedy family, apart from the president's father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., who was ill, [113] waited at the cathedral. [114]

The new president Lyndon B. Johnson, his wife Lady Bird, and their two daughters Luci and Lynda also marched in the procession. [102] Johnson had been advised not to do so because of the potential risk in the wake of Kennedy's assassination. [115] Johnson recounted his experiences in his memoirs, saying, "I remember marching behind the caisson to St. Matthew's Cathedral. The muffled rumble of drums set up a heartbreaking echo." [116] He told Merle Miller: "Walking in the procession was one of the most difficult decisions I made. The FBI. and the Secret Service felt. it would be injudicious and unwise for the American president to expose himself by walking along the avenue with all the buildings on each side. I. concluded. that it was something I wanted to do, should do, and would do, and did so." [115] When he moved into the oval office the next day, there was a letter from Mrs. Kennedy on his desk, which began "Thank you for walking yesterday. " [115]

Not since the funeral of Britain's King Edward VII, in 1910, had there been such a large gathering of presidents, prime ministers, and royalty at a state funeral. [117] [118] In all, 220 foreign dignitaries from 92 countries, five international agencies, and the papacy attended the funeral. [119] [6] [120] The dignitaries including 19 heads of state and government and members of royal families. [117] Most of the dignitaries passed unnoticed, following respectfully behind the former first lady and the Kennedy family during the relatively short walk to the cathedral along Connecticut Avenue. [6] [121] It was also one of the greatest turnout of heads of state and government in American history. [122] NBC Producer Reuven Frank recounted in his autobiography that everybody in the NBC Control room gasped when seeing the heads of state marching on foot, as many of them had just read Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August, which opened with the funeral of the British king. [77]

As the dignitaries marched, there was a heavy security presence because of concerns for the potential assassination of so many world leaders, [123] [124] the greatest being for French President Charles de Gaulle, who had specific threats against his life. [125] [85] Under Secretary of State George Ball manned the operations center at the State Department with the goal of ensuring that no incident occurred. [86] He recounted in his memoirs, The Past Has Another Pattern, that he "felt that it was imperative that a responsible official remain at the center of communications, ready to deal with such an emergency." [86] He manned the operations center with his deputy for political affairs, U. Alexis Johnson. [86] Rusk recounted that the biggest relief came when de Gaulle himself returned to Paris. [85]

NBC transmitted coverage of the procession from the White House to the cathedral by satellite to twenty-three countries, including Japan and the Soviet Union, [103] allowing hundreds of millions on both sides of the Iron Curtain in Europe to watch the funeral. [126] [127] Satellite coverage ended when the coffin went into the cathedral. [128] In the Soviet Union, their commentators said that "the grief of the Soviet people mingles with the grief of the American people." [128] There was no coverage in East Germany, where television audiences had only a soccer match to watch. [128] In Ireland, coverage of the funeral was broadcast live by the television service, Teilifís Éireann to the Irish audience via Telstar satellite. The Irish audience were only able to see the 25 minutes that showed President Kennedy's coffin being brought to St. Matthew's Cathedral. The Irish television audiences also did not see all of the footage live but Michael O'Hehir's audio commentary remained available to them throughout. In Britain, coverage of the funeral was broadcast by both the BBC and ITV who also screened the funeral live via Telstar. [129] [130] The BBC's leading news commentator, Richard Dimbleby, gave live commentary of the funeral on BBC-TV, [131] while ITN journalist and broadcaster, Alastair Burnet gave live commentary of the funeral on ITV.

The widow, wearing a black veil, led the way up the steps of the cathedral holding the hands of her two children, [132] with John Jr., whose third birthday fell on the day of his father's funeral, [133] on her left, and Caroline on her right. [117] Because of the funeral and the day of mourning, the widow postponed John Jr.'s birthday party until December 5, the last day the family was in the White House. [134]

Funeral Mass at cathedral Edit

About 1,200 invited guests attended the funeral Mass in the cathedral. [135] The Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cardinal Cushing, celebrated the funeral Mass at the cathedral where Kennedy, a practicing Catholic, often worshipped. [44] [136] [132] Cardinal Cushing was a close friend of the family who had witnessed and blessed the marriage of Senator Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953. [137] He had also baptized two of their children, given the invocation at President Kennedy's inauguration, and officiated at the recent funeral of their infant son, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy. [137]

At the request of the First Lady, the Requiem Mass was a Pontifical Requiem Low Mass [135] —that is, a simplified version of the Mass, with the Mass recited or spoken and not sung. [135] Two months later, Cardinal Cushing offered a pontifical Solemn High Requiem Mass at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and choirs under the direction of Erich Leinsdorf performing Mozart's Requiem setting. [138] Entire mass was recorded live and later released with double LP set by RCA Records. [139]

There was no formal eulogy at the funeral Mass (the first presidential funeral to feature a formal eulogy was that of LBJ. [67] ). [140] [141] However, the Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, the Most Reverend Philip M. Hannan, decided to read selections from Kennedy's writings and speeches. [136] Bishop Hannan had been asked to speak by Mrs. Kennedy. The readings included a passage from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes: "There is an appointed time for everything. a time to be born and a time to die. a time to love and a time to hate. a time of war and a time of peace." [142] [140] He then concluded his remarks by reading Kennedy's entire Inaugural Address. [142] [141] [140]

Jacqueline Kennedy requested that Luigi Vena sing Franz Schubert's Ave Maria as he did during the marriage. [137] [6] For a few moments, she lost her composure and sobbed as this music filled the cathedral. [6]

Father Leonard Hurley, a Catholic priest, provided the commentary for the funeral mass for the networks. [143] [144]

Burial Edit

The casket was borne again by caisson on the final leg to Arlington National Cemetery for burial. [145] Moments after the casket was carried down the front steps of the cathedral, Jacqueline Kennedy whispered to her son, after which he saluted his father's coffin [136] [112] [146] the image, taken by photographer Stan Stearns, [147] became an iconic representation of the 1960s. NBC News vice-president Julian Goodman called the shot "the most impressive. shot in the history of television" it was set up by NBC Director Charles Jones who was working for the pool. [148]

The children were deemed to be too young to attend the final burial service, so this was the point where the children said goodbye to their father. [149]

Virtually everyone else followed the caisson in a long line of black limousines passing by the Lincoln Memorial and crossing the Potomac River. Many of the military units did not participate in the burial service and left just after crossing the Potomac. [150] Because the line of cars taking the foreign dignitaries was long, the last cars carrying the dignitaries left St. Matthew's as the procession entered the cemetery. [145] [151] The burial services had already begun when the last car arrived. [6] Security guards walked beside the cars carrying the dignitaries, [152] with the one carrying the French president having the most—10. [125] [153]

A detachment of 30 cadets from the Irish Defense Forces, performed, at the request of Jackie Kennedy, a silent solemn graveside drill known as the Queen Anne Drill. [97] [98] This is the first, and only, time that a foreign army has been invited to deliver honors at the graveside of a US President. [154] [155]

The burial services ended at 3:15 p.m. EST, [105] when the widow lit an eternal flame to burn continuously over his grave. [156] At 3:34 p.m. EST, [145] the casket containing his remains was lowered into the earth, [156] as "Kennedy slipped out of mortal sight—out of sight but not out of heart and mind." [145] Kennedy thus became only the second president to be buried at Arlington, [157] after Taft, [157] which meant that, at that time, the two most recent presidents to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda were buried at Arlington. [66] Kennedy was buried at Arlington exactly two weeks to the day he last visited there, when he came for Veterans Day observances. [158] [159]

The remains of John F. Kennedy lying in repose in the East Room of the White House on November 23, 1963.


The 1963 NFL Draft was held December 3, 1962, at Chicago's Sheraton Hotel & Towers. With the first pick, the Los Angeles Rams selected quarterback Terry Baker from Oregon State, the Heisman Trophy winner. [2] [3]

Effects of the JFK assassination Edit

In Week 11 on November 24, just two days after the assassination of President Kennedy, the NFL played its normal schedule of games. League commissioner Rozelle said about playing the games: "It has been traditional in sports for athletes to perform in times of great personal tragedy. Football was Mr. Kennedy's game. He thrived on competition." [4] Attendance at games went unaffected despite the assassination. [5] [6] Although the choice to play the games was protested, and Rozelle had also eventually regretted the decision, [7] he stated that Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, had urged him to allow the games to be played. [8]

However, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins had sought postponement of the games. [9] [10] Eventually, the game between the two teams in Philadelphia saw acts of kindness from both sides. Before the game, each of the Eagles players contributed $50 to the family of Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit, who was killed by the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. [11] After the game ended, players on the Redskins asked Coach Bill McPeak to send the game ball to the White House, thanking Rozelle for allowing the games to be played that weekend, [11] saying that they were "playing. for President Kennedy and in his memory." [12]

No NFL games were telecast, since on the afternoon of the 22nd, just after the president had been pronounced dead, CBS President Frank Stanton ordered that all regular programming be pre-empted until after Mr. Kennedy was buried. Normal programming, including the NFL, was replaced by non-stop news coverage, broadcast without commercials.

Conference races Edit

Both conference races were undecided until the final games of the regular season. In the Eastern, the Browns were 7–1–0 after eight games, but on November 10, the Browns lost 9–7 at Pittsburgh, while the Giants beat the Eagles 42–14, to tie New York and Cleveland at 7–2–0. When the Giants won again and the Browns lost, the former had the lead.

The Western race was close as well. The Bears were 5–0 and the Packers 4–1 entering Week 6 Green Bay won at St. Louis, 30–7, while Chicago lost 20–14 at San Francisco, tying the Bears and Packers for the lead at 5–1. Both teams continued to win, and then met in Chicago in Week 10 on November 17, where the Bears prevailed decisively, 26–7. [13] [14]

The Week 11 games took place two days after the Kennedy assassination. Although the fourth-year American Football League (AFL) postponed its schedule, the NFL chose to play, although the games were not televised due to round-the-clock network TV coverage of the assassination aftermath. The Giants lost at home to St. Louis, 24–17, while Cleveland beat visiting Dallas 27–17, to give the three teams identical 8–3–0 records. The Bears were losing at Pittsburgh, until Roger Leclerc kicked a field goal to get a 17–17 tie, and to stay half a game ahead of Green Bay.

In Week 12, Green Bay's win was denied when the Lions tied the game 13–13 with a last-minute touchdown in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, [15] while Chicago averted another loss by tying Minnesota 17–17 on Sunday. The three-way tie in the East was pared down when Cleveland beat St. Louis 24–10, and New York won 34–27 over Dallas.

Week 13 saw both the Bears and Packers winning, while Cleveland lost to Detroit, 38–10. New York won 44–14 over Washington, but at 10–3–0, New York was trailed by Pittsburgh, which had an unusual 7–3–3 record, and the final game of the season would match the Steelers and Giants at Yankee Stadium.

Under the rules of the day (ties discarded), a Pittsburgh win over the Giants would have resulted with New York at 10–4–0 (.714) and the Steelers at 8–3–3 (.727) and the trip to the championship game. [16] The Steelers had won the first meeting in Pittsburgh 31–0 on September 22. In a game that decided the conference title, New York beat Pittsburgh 33–17, and the Steelers fell to fourth in the East. [17]

In the Western race, Green Bay needed to win on the road and for Chicago to lose at home. The Packers played Saturday at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco and beat the league-worst 49ers, 21–17. The Bears' 24–14 win over Detroit at Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon was announced to the Packers during their flight home, ending their pursuit of a third consecutive league title. [18]

Although the Packers' 11–2–1 record without Hornung was the second-best in the league and one of the best in their history, the two losses to Chicago kept them in second place in the West. Green Bay played in the consolation Playoff Bowl in Miami against East runner-up Cleveland on January 5. [19] [20]

Week Western Eastern
1 3 teams (Chi, Det, Min) 1–0–0 3 teams (Cle, NYG, StL) 1–0–0
2 Chicago Bears 2–0–0 Tie (Cle, StL) 2–0–0
3 Chicago Bears 3–0–0 Cleveland Browns 3–0–0
4 Chicago Bears 4–0–0 Cleveland Browns 4–0–0
5 Chicago Bears 5–0–0 Cleveland Browns 5–0–0
6 Tie (Chi, GB) 5–1–0 Cleveland Browns 6–0–0
7 Tie (Chi, GB) 6–1–0 Cleveland Browns 6–1–0
8 Tie (Chi, GB) 7–1–0 Cleveland Browns 7–1–0
9 Tie (Chi, GB) 8–1–0 Tie (Cle, NYG) 7–2–0
10 Chicago Bears 9–1–0 New York Giants 8–2–0
11 Chicago Bears 9–1–1 Tie (Cle, NYG, StL) 8–3–0
12 Chicago Bears 9–1–2 Tie (Cle, NYG) 9–3–0
13 Chicago Bears 10–1–2 New York Giants 10–3–0
14 Chicago Bears 11–1–2 New York Giants 11–3–0

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

The Death of a president

John F. Kennedy began his presidency in one of the most turbulent times in American history. The Cold War was in full swing and the nation divided. The country needed JFK. The young, virile Jack and his radiant wife Jacqueline embodied the American dream and the hopes of a nation. He was to lead the nation to a bright future and the world to a united front. He could do no wrong.

All was brought to an untimely end November 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was shot twice and killed.

The AP bulletin, moving only minutes later, filled the airwaves and newswires. For the first 24 hours afterward, the only images available were three AP photographs. They dominated the world media.

Immediately following the assassination, AP General Manager Wes Gallagher asked his best writers to create a memorial volume. Saul Pett, Sid Moody, Hugh Mulligan and Tom Henshaw worked quickly to produce the instant best-seller, “The Torch is Passed.” They dedicated it to those who might one day find, in their words, “an insight and a wisdom and a workable moral out of these events which so far elude us who lived them.” In what follows, we have drawn directly from their account.

FRIDAY, NOV. 22, 1963
President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline touch down in Dallas to a crowd of Texans awaiting their arrival. Mr. Kennedy had always made it a point to greet the crowd, and the first lady was no different. One well-wisher gives Mrs. Kennedy a bouquet of flowers, blood-red roses.

At 12:20 p.m. on Nov. 22, the Dallas bureau of The Associated Press was its usual noisy self, with no signs of excitement except that all knew President Kennedy was in town. The bureau had just sent on the news wires an insert telling of the warm reception given JFK and his wife Jackie on arrival at Dallas’ Love Field.

In preparation for the president’s visit, Chief of Bureau Bob Johnson had dispatched any and all staffers with camera experience to cover JFK’s tour of downtown Dallas. One such staffer, James Altgens, known to everyone as “Ike,” had started his day at 4:45 a.m. as the Wirephoto operator until, at 6:45 a.m., he shifted to act as newsphoto editor. At 11 a.m. he took up station as an AP photographer covering the presidential motorcade.

Back at the bureau, as Johnson was returning to his desk from the adjacent Times Herald newsroom, Executive Editor Felix McKnight of the Times Herald yelled to him. “We hear the President has been shot but we haven’t confirmed it!”

Johnson hurriedly typed out the slug and dateline for a bulletin. He had just reached the dash that follows the AP logotype when the phone rang.

On the other end of the line was Ike announcing that the president had been shot. Johnson asked, “Ike, how do you know?” Ike replied, “I saw it. There was blood on his face. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed him and cried, ‘Oh no!’” Astonishingly, Ike had captured it on film.

Listen to Bob Johnson recount that moment from his oral history in the AP Corporate Archives.

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, by Lee Harvey Oswald. The next day, the newly sworn-in Lyndon B. Johnson issued his first presidential proclamation. In a statement that was broadcast on both television and radio, he declared November 25, 1963, the day of President Kennedy&rsquos funeral, a national day of mourning. Johnson praised the late president, but also directed the American people to look to the future:

He upheld the faith of our fathers, which is freedom for all men. He broadened the frontiers of that faith, and backed it with the energy and the courage which are the mark of the Nation he led.

A man of wisdom, strength, and peace, he moulded and moved the power of our Nation in the service of a world of growing liberty and order. All who love freedom will mourn his death.

As he did not shrink from his responsibilities, but welcomed them, so he would not have us shrink from carrying on his work beyond this hour of national tragedy.

He said it himself: &ldquoThe energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.&rdquo

Across the country, schools, businesses, and government offices closed in observance of the day of mourning. Many watched the funeral on television, while others heeded President Johnson&rsquos call to attend memorial services.


Now, therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America, do appoint Monday next, November 25, the day of the funeral service of President Kennedy, to be a national day of mourning throughout the United States. I earnestly recommend the people to assemble on that day in their respective places of divine worship, there to bow down in submission to the will of Almighty God, and to pay their homage of love and reverence to the memory of a great and good man. I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in this day of mourning and rededication.

November 1963- President Kennedy's Schedule - History

A ir Force One touched down at Dallas&rsquos Love Field at about 11:30 on the morning of November 22, 1963. On board was President John F. Kennedy who was beginning the first day of a planned two-day trip to Texas. Within minutes, the president and his wife Jackie took their places in the rear seat of the presidential limousine and joined a motorcade that would escort America&rsquos leader to his death.

The young president had been in office less than three years. The highlight of his tenure had occurred in October a year earlier when nuclear war had been averted by the diffusion of a confrontation with the Soviet Union over their deployment of missiles in Cuba.

President Kennedy and Jackie arrive
in Dallas, 11:25 AM 11/22/63
Click picture to see
the assassination site
His trip to Texas was a political one &ndash an attempt to mollify a factious division within the Texas Democratic Party that might threaten his run for re-election the following year. Accompanying the president in his open limousine was the Democratic Governor of Texas, John Connally, and his wife Nellie. Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife Lady Bird rode in a following limousine accompanied by Texas Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough.

The motorcade (led by Dallas police, interspersed with Secret Service cars and followed by press cars) slowly made its way through the streets of Dallas to the accompaniment of cheering crowds that filled the sidewalks. By 12:30 it was approaching its end as it slowed to make a sharp left-hand turn in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building. Suddenly the festive atmosphere was shattered by the sound of three shots and immediately replaced with horror and chaos.

As spectators ran or fell to the ground in self-protection, the motorcade accelerated to top speed and raced to near-by Parkland Hospital. The president was dead, Governor Connally wounded.

The president&rsquos assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fled the scene. About forty-five minutes later, Oswald was confronted by a police officer on a Dallas street. Oswald shot and killed the officer and then ran into a near-by movie theater where he was captured. Two days later, Oswald himself became the victim of an assassin&rsquos bullet as he was being escorted from police headquarters to the Dallas County Jail.

"Suddenly there was a sharp, loud report &ndash a shot."

Lady Bird Johnson made a tape recording of her recollections of the president&rsquos assassination two or three days after the event. We join her story as the motorcade leaves the airport:

The streets were lined with people.- lots and lots of people &ndash the children were all smiling, placards, confetti, people waving from windows. One last happy moment I had was looking up and seeing Mary Griffith leaning out of a window and waving at me.

Then, almost at the edge of town, on our way to the Trade Mart where we were going to have the luncheon, we were rounding a curve, going down a hill and suddenly there was a sharp, loud report &ndash a shot.

It seemed to me to come from the right above my shoulder from a building. Then a moment and then two more shots in rapid succession. There had been such a gala air that I thought it must be firecrackers or some kind of celebration.

Then the lead car, the Secret Service men were suddenly down. I heard over the radio system &lsquoLet&rsquos get out of here, &lsquo and our man who was with us, Ruf Youngblood, I believe it was, vaulted over the front seat on top of Lyndon, threw him to the floor and said, &lsquoGet down.&rsquo Senator Yarborough and I ducked our heads.

The car accelerated terrifically fast &ndash faster and faster. Then suddenly they put on the brakes so hard I wondered if we were going to make it as we wheeled left and went around the corner. We pulled up to a building. I looked up and saw it said &lsquoHospital.&rsquo Only then did I believe that this might be what it was. Yarborough kept saying in an excited voice, &lsquoHave they shot the President?&rsquo I said something like, &lsquoNo, it can&rsquot be.&rsquo

Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as
president aboard Air Force One
Jackie Kennedy stands at his side
3:38 PM 11/22/63
As we ground to a halt &ndash we were still in the third car &ndash Secret Service men began to pull, lead, guide and hustle us out. I cast one last look over my shoulder and saw, in the President&rsquos car, a bundle of pink just like a drift of blossoms, lying on the back seat. I think it was Mrs. Kennedy lying over the President&rsquos body.

They led us to the right, the left and onward into a quiet room in the hospital - - a very small room. It was lined with white sheets, I believe.

People came and went &ndash Kenny O&rsquoDonnell, Congressman Thornberry, Congressman Jack Brooks. Always there was Ruf right there, Emory Roberts, Jerry Kivett, Lem Johns and Woody Taylor. There was talk about where we would go &ndash back to Washington, to the plane, to our house. People spoke of how wide-spread this may be. Through it all, Lyndon was remarkably calm and quiet. Every face that came in, you searched for the answers you must know. I think the face I kept seeing it on was the face of Kenny O&rsquoDonnell who loved him so much.

It was Lyndon, as usual, who thought of it first. Although I wasn&rsquot going to leave without doing it. He said, &lsquoYou had better try to see if you can see Jackie and Nellie.&rsquo We didn&rsquot know what had happened to John. I asked the Secret Service men if I could be taken to them. They began to lead me up one corridor, back stairs and down another. Suddenly I found myself face to face with Jackie in a small hall. I think it was right outside the operating room. You always think of her &ndash or someone like her, as being insulated, protected &ndash she was quite alone.I don&rsquot think I ever saw anyone so much alone in my life.

I went up to her, put my arms around her and said something to her. I&rsquom sure it was something like, &lsquoGod, help us all,&rsquo because my feelings for her were too tumultuous to put into words.

And then I went to see Nellie. There it was different, because Nellie and I have been through so many things together since 1938. I hugged her tight and we both cried and I said, &lsquoNellie, its going to be all right.&lsquo And Nellie said, &lsquoYes, John&rsquos going to be alright.&rsquo Among her many other qualities, she is also tough."

Lady Bird Johnson&rsquos remembrance of the assassination is located in the National Archives, NLLBJ-D2440-7a Manchester, William, The Death of a President (1967) United States Warren Commission, Report of the President&rsquos Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1964).

Remembering President Kennedy in Cecil County in Nov. 1963

On Nov. 14, 1963, more than 5,000 people gathered at the Mason Dixon Line to watch President John F. Kennedy, Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes and Delaware Governor Elbert N Carvel dedicate the Northeastern Expressway, the area’s first modern-day toll road. A helicopter brought the nation’s leader to the famous old line where a speakers stand was set-up for the ceremony. The Delaware National Guard played “Hail to the Chief” while the president walked to the stand to offer remarks.

After snipping the ribbon and unveiling a marker on the state line, the president shook hands while returning to the helicopter. At the door of the craft, he waved to the crowd before disappearing inside. While the bird faded into the eastern horizon, the area was bathed in a dramatic sunset as people headed back to their cars on this chilly Thursday afternoon, the Morning News reported. The chopper’s flight took him to the Wilmington Airport where he climbed aboard a DC 8 for a trip to New York. Our 35th president’s 62 minutes visit to the region was over.

As traffic began zipping along the superhighway for a fast trip through the county, people realized that the dream of many years was a reality. For years plans had been underway to provide a second thoroughfare to absorb some of the increased traffic on Pulaski Highway (Route 40). Economic development experts talked with great excitement about the opportunities the new road would bring to the county. Motorists were excited for they could rush along without one traffic light halting a journey between Baltimore and Wilmington, papers noted. On Route 40, which ran parallel to the new Interstate and had served as the main route for auto travel along the northeast corridor, service stations, motels, and restaurants reported that business was off nearly half the weekend after the fast road opened.

There was such optimism in the nation as the morning of November 22, 1963, dawned on the Chesapeake Bay. At 7:00 a.m. on that quiet morning in Elkton, Patrolman Jerry Secor signed on duty, noting the weather in the police blotter. It was mild on this Friday, but a thick fog blanketed the town. On this Friday shift, things were subdued as he responded to three unremarkable calls, duly chronicling them in the official record book.

Then abruptly at 1:30 p.m. everything changed in the Eastern Shore town, the nation, and the town. Officer Secor, in a careful hand, dutifully penned an entry in the Elkton Police docket: “1:30 p.m. President Kennedy shot and killed in Dallas Texas.” For the remainder of that heartbreaking day, there is something about the unsettling quiet reflected in the complaint log as a deep dark, sadness penetrates the town and no calls come in for the remainder of the overnight shift. Law-breaking had apparently come to a standstill as everyone — late-night regulars in Elkton’s noisy bars, teens out looking for a little mischief, and other wayward types — stayed glued to television sets, trying to comprehend the terrible event in Texas.

At Stanley’s Newsstand the morning papers had all been sold so it was time to get ready for the afternoon arrivals from Wilmington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. However, the daily routine was disrupted too, as people sought whatever news they could get. Phil Stanley worked for his father in the family business, and he recalled that the Baltimore News American issued a special. As darkness closed in on Cecil County, the teenager stood outside the movie theater and A & P near the corner of North Street and Railroad Avenue hawking newspapers.

By the time the last light of Nov. 22 gave to way to the night his newspapers were all gone. There was one late paper that carried the racing results and it came by train. That paper, too, which was the last one circulated each day had news of the assassination in the regular edition. It too sold out.

In the schools, the children were generally informed about the tragedy shortly before dismissal. Of course, the children were all talking about the news, trying to comprehend the meaning of it all.

The county’s weatherman, H. Wirt Bouchelle, recorded Friday’s meteorological conditions, confirming the observations of the police. The temperature climbed to an unseasonably high of 63 degrees F. while sinking back to 40 overnight. There was no precipitation that gloomy day in Cecil County.

Throughout the county, it was particularly quiet as that unusually dark night got underway, perhaps not unlike the evening of 9/11, as people rushed home to learn more details of the tragedy in Dallas from broadcasters and peer out at the stillness of the night, the sky and roads void of activity. Activities throughout the county quickly ground to a near halt as bewilderment and disbelief paralyzed Cecil and the nation.

Practically everyone recalled that only eight days earlier that President Kennedy had visited the county to open the northeastern expressway. In 1964 I-95 was officially renamed the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway.


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