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The Day President John F. Kennedy Was Assassinated

Published November 22, 2013 by Mary McShane

Yesterday, November 21, 2013, in a news report I heard on local television here in Florida, it was speculated that President Kennedy may not have been shot that second time had he not been sitting in an upright position.

The report says he couldn't possibly duck for cover or slump over after being shot the first time, because the corset type back brace he wore kept him sitting up straight. The report speculates that had he not been wearing it, the second shot could have gone anywhere - even to Jackie Kennedy.

Click here to read a well written hub about author William Manchester's research and interviews with the principal players regarding the assassination of John F Kennedy which resulted in his 1967 book The Death of a President.

Newspaper Headlines, The Public Bought Them Hot Off The Press

Front Page of The Washington Reporter

Front Page of The Washington Reporter

The Dallas Morning Sun

Front Page of The Dallas Morning News

Front Page of The Dallas Morning News

President Kennedy's body lying in state. November 1963.

President Kennedy's body lying in state. November 1963.

50 Years Ago on November 22, 2013

Fifty years ago this week, on November 22, 1963 at 12:30 PM EST (11:30 AM Mountain Standard Time), our nation was shocked and very saddened by the Presidential assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, one of the most publicized, photographed, written about assassinations in our nation's history.

Not since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln has there been so much written about a United States Presidential assassination, at that time and even today, fifty years later. People devoured each newspaper account, they tuned in to hear news reports from Walter Cronkite and other news programs, all wanting to hear the latest. Some, like my Aunt Agnes, even hoped and wished that none of it was true.

The Kennedy family was discussed at many a dinner table, including ours. I think we just loved the way they were so likeable. Television being a new invention, Kennedy made the most of it and used it to his advantage. I can remember many a television show interruption because he was coming on TV to make some speech or other.

If not for television, my personal opinion is that I don't think he could have been as powerful a President because he would have had to rely on print media just like all his predecessors.

Now years later, the name Kennedy still conjures up different memories for each person. In our house, they were very much admired, despite a political machine and a rumor mill that churned out one rumor after another in the Kennedy White House years and in the years since his death.

Countless books and other forms of media about the assassination, the President's private life, Jackie Kennedy, and Kennedy politics have been presented in various lights, not all have been favorable. The Kennedy family patriarch, Joseph P Kennedy, did all he could to fight to keep the President's private life rumors under control. When he died, the torch passed to his adult children, John F Kennedy's siblings. It has proven to be a daunting task that even to this day, books are still being written speculating (some emphatically stating as truth) about the President.

The day John F Kennedy was killed was the beginning of what may become a century of never learning the truth because files have been sealed. Regarding the assassination itself, the government is content to say the file is closed altogether. But you would never know that by the books that are published, the movies that are made and the newspaper articles that are still being written today. As far as many Americans are concerned, they still do not have all the answers.

The reason why is because. since 1963, everywhere you turned, people wanted to know more, and media jumped to fill the bill. The American President who used television as a major avenue of communication with the American people to keep them abreast of how he was running our government, was now on every television in the country again, this time in death.

Anonymous Poll

Reading the paper on the way home from work. Where were you November 22, 1963?

Reading the paper on the way home from work. Where were you November 22, 1963?

Countless newspapers were bought as they were hot off the press. The public gathered around their television sets as the public filed past the President's body lying in state, followed by his televised funeral, the first in history. Those who could travel to the nation's capital stood in line for hours to be able to spend less than two minutes walking past the closed draped casket.

In years to come, they tuned in to watch full length feature films and bought millions of copies of books written about the Kennedy Presidency and his family. As sad as it was, the public's ears perked up every time there was mention of the name "Kennedy."

Lee Harvey Oswald in custody after shooting the President.

Lee Harvey Oswald in custody after shooting the President.

Conspiracy Theories

Within hours of the assassination, a description of the shooter was put out on police broadcast. A short time later, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Within two days, on November 24, 1963, he would also be dead, gunned down by a Dallas nightclub owner, Jack Ruby, who was known to have underworld connections with the mob.

Some Americans feel that because of the Kennedy brothers' relentless pursuit of the Mafia, the Teamsters (Hoffa) union and Castro, and constant allegations against the Russians that Oswald was hired to be the front man to kill Kennedy.

Others think that Jack Ruby was instructed (hired) to kill Oswald, because he was a weak link who might talk to reveal a plot, buckling under the Secret Service and FBI interrogation.

The theories have gone on for years and despite the final decisions of noted investigations and commissions, people will continue to have their own theories. Since most of the records have been ordered sealed until long after the death of the last Kennedy, the generation who does learn of the truth behind the assassination will probably not care too much, viewing it as ancient history because it didn't happen in their lifetime.

Anonymous Poll

Warning: This Video May Be Disturbing - The Zapruder Video

Everyone's reaction was similar. Disbelief.

Her reaction was similar to what many Americans felt when they heard the news of Kennedy's Assassination.

Her reaction was similar to what many Americans felt when they heard the news of Kennedy's Assassination.

Disbelief

After all these years, some people are still questioning what they have been told and weighing what evidence that has been released.

They are still talking about this man who many came to love, even idolize, along with his wife Jacqueline Kennedy (Onassis) and their family who lived in our White House in an era that was called Camelot.

Unlike any other event in history, many people remember exactly where they were on that day and around that time, because that is when their world stopped. Our nation was shaken to the core that, even with all the security, Secret Service men and dry run trips before official journeys, an assassination could happen again.



Your Answers Are Anonymous

Some Video of The Funeral - 40 minutes

The Denver Post and The New York Times

Front Page of The New York Times, November 22, 1963

Front Page of The New York Times, November 22, 1963

Front Page of Denver Post, Friday, November 22, 1963

Front Page of Denver Post, Friday, November 22, 1963

Memories from Life Magazine and TIme Life Films

John John salutes his father's casket

John John salutes his father's casket

Kennedy Memorbilia

We Remember Good Times

No mourning today. This hub was written to acknowledge the anniversary date, but also to remember this President, his wife and children, all gone now except for one.

What better way than to remember in pictures!

President, Jackie and Caroline at the White House

President, Jackie and Caroline at the White House

Diana Sawyer's Interview with Jackie Kennedy

Jackie plays with baby John John

Jackie plays with baby John John

Caroline tags along with her mother as she heads for a morning reception

Caroline tags along with her mother as she heads for a morning reception

Caroline has a tea party with her father, The President

Caroline has a tea party with her father, The President

John John at the helm

John John at the helm

The Kennedy children visit in the Oval Office

The Kennedy children visit in the Oval Office

Carolina riding her horse Macaroni

Carolina riding her horse Macaroni

Congressman Jack Kennedy on his boat

Congressman Jack Kennedy on his boat

 First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her children John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy riding. Photograph distributed by the White House for the children's birthdays, 1962.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her children John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy riding. Photograph distributed by the White House for the children's birthdays, 1962.

Caroline Kennedy, US Ambassador to Japan (uploaded 11/2013)

Age Question

Do You Remember Where You Were The Day Kennedy Was Shot?

I was sixteen years old, a senior in high school, but was home from school that day because I had a bad chest cold. I remember I couldn't call my friends because all the phone lines were busy with people calling each other on the phone.

I remember my father going to the newsstand to buy a newspaper and he came home with ten newspapers, saying he wanted everyone to have their own copy. We still have a couple copies of that newspaper in the family. School let out early that day, and my sisters all came home within an hour of hearing the news.

There were ten of us in our family, Mother, Father, and eight daughters. All of us were crying. We were an Irish Catholic family mourning the death an Irish Catholic President whom we felt we had come to know and love like family.

People Around the World Remember

The Washington Post invited readers to comment on their website. Here is a sample of what some people wrote:

Isabel from India wrote:

“I was in grade 6 in a small village in deep southern India. That early afternoon I was sitting under a coconut tree in the school yard, and was studying for an approaching exam. Suddenly I saw my elder sister who was also in the same school, two grades ahead of me, running across the yard, crying, and sobbing. It took me sometime to understand what she said (in Tamil) in the middle of her sobs: "Kennedy is shot dead!" School was closed and all of us were asked to go home in the middle of the day. There was no TV those days in that village. I remember my mother tuned the radio at home to get more details. That man was loved by so many millions of people all over the world. To this day, in many ordinary homes of illiterate peasants in remote villages in India you can see president Kennedy's picture alongside those of Gandhi, Jesus, and some Hindu gods. So many babies were named 'Kennedy' around that time. One set of twin boys in our extended family born few years later were promptly named, John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy!”

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Ines B., Fair Oaks, CA wrote:

“was a 16-yr old in Spain. I used to go to a private school in the afternoons--the school system there was different at the time you could just take the classes followed by an official exam--I was a science buff and admired the US for its leadership in science. I was also a very studious teenager--I returned home about 7:30 pm. My mother came to open the door for me and crying told me --"Kennedy has been assassinated."
To this day I remember that moment. Of course, we watched television for several days--I do not remember much of that.

I attended the official a funeral mass for Kennedy celebrated in the Jesuit Church--located in front of the American Embassy in Madrid--just a few blocks away from my house, I believe American diplomatic corps was in attendance as well..

Till then, I had thought America was a country where people were happy, amiable, and humanitarian.
This event shattered my notion.
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Submitted by Maureen Engler

“I was in my first year of high school. I felt like a member of my family had died. I was incredibly sad.”

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Share your memories by leaving a comment.

© November 2013 Mary McShane


Kennedy's Gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery, now with Jacqueline Kennedy by his side

From the musical "Camelot"

Don’t let it be forgot
that once there was a spot
for one brief shining moment
that was known as Camelot

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Mary McShane

Where were you the day President Kennedy was shot? Comments welcomed

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on January 22, 2014:

This comprehensive collection of data links and photos was amazing. It brought back all those days of youth and glamour in the White House. He was so well loved by so many. I remember the exact moment I was told about President Kennedy being shot. It was announced over the PA system at school. My dad was in the Navy and we lived in the Florida Keys. We sat glued to the TV for the replay after replay of events that followed and for the entire funeral. It was a sad ending.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on November 30, 2013:

I were a hub about my remembrances-- I was in college and practically a newlywed. What a terrible event it was, Our country and our perceptions changed very suddenly.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 21, 2013:

I was a sophomore in high school when it happened. It is still hard to believe today. Still, I held out hope until his brother was assassinated a few years later. After that my love of politics died.