Posted by: maboulette | November 22, 2011


On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in an open-top car through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Two bullets struck the president, the first in his back and throat and the second in the back of his head. Gov. John Connally of Texas, another passenger, was also shot, though he survived. Jacqueline Kennedy and Nellie Connally, the men’s wives, were also in the car but were not injured.

The New York Times reported on the assassination: “Mr. Kennedy apparently was hit by the first of what witnesses believed were three shots. He was driven at high speed to Dallas’s Parkland Hospital. There, in an emergency operating room, with only physicians and nurses in attendance, he died without regaining consciousness.”

About an hour after being pronounced dead, the president’s body was taken from the hospital and loaded onto Air Force One. “Mrs. Kennedy walked beside it,” The Times noted. “Her face was sorrowful. She looked steadily at the floor. … Her hand rested lightly on her husband’s coffin as it was taken to a waiting hearse.”

With Mrs. Kennedy standing by his side, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had been riding in a different car in the motorcade, was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One just 99 minutes after the president’s death.

Police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old former Marine who had once defected to the Soviet Union, for the shooting. Mr. Oswald also killed a police officer as he tried to flee the scene, the authorities said.

The assassination of President Kennedy stunned and horrified the nation. As James Reston wrote in The New York Times, “America wept tonight, not alone for its dead young president, but for itself. The grief was general, for somehow the worst in the nation had prevailed over the best. The indictment extended beyond the assassin, for something in the nation itself, some strain of madness and violence, had destroyed the highest symbol of law and order.”

Two days after the assassination, the Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby killed Mr. Oswald during a nationally televised prison transfer. The New York Times reported that Mr. Ruby was “an ardent admirer of President Kennedy and his family … described as having been distraught.”

The killing of Mr. Oswald added to the confusion surrounding the Kennedy assassination. Many Americans believed that the president was killed as part of a conspiracy. Although the official government investigation, the Warren Commission, determined that Mr. Oswald and Mr. Ruby each acted alone, many alternate theories continue to exist.

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