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Nov. 22, 1963: The Death of a President

It seems so long ago, and so recent.

Those of a certain age will remember where they were 47 years ago today when they heard about the shots ringing out in Dallas. Subsequent assassinations of public figures did not quell the pain felt by the nation when President John F. Kennedy was killed, less than three years after entering office, at the age of 46.

Shortly after noon on November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was waving to the cheering crowd as his motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository on Elm Street when gunfire was heard.

The president slumped into the back seat of his open limousine with gaping wounds in his head and neck.

He lost consciousness immediately.

JFK: The Assassination (Photos)

A third bullet tore through the chest and arm of Texas Governor John B. Connally, Jr, who was riding in the limo along with the Kennedys.

The car sped to nearby Parkland Hospital where the president, 46, was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

The governor's wounds were severe but not fatal. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, seated next to her husband, was not injured.

Two hours after the shooting, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald and charged him with murder.

Oswald, 24, a former Marine who once tried to defect to the Soviet Union and had been active in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, was believed to have fired at least three shots at the presidential motorcade from a rifle as he stood in the book depository building where he was employed.

Just 99 minutes after the shooting, Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States aboard Air Force One. Still wearing the stockings splattered with the blood of her murdered husband, Jackie Kennedy stood next to Johnson during the ceremony.

The plane bearing the new President and the body of the slain head of state then flew to Washington, D.C. Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, saluted by a nation and his little boy.

Two days later, while in police custody, Oswald was killed by a local nightclub owner, Jack Ruby.

In later testimony, Ruby said he got "carried away" and killed Oswald in order to spare Mrs. Kennedy the pain of a trial. Ruby himself died in jail in 1967 while awaiting a second trial.

But the murder of Oswald - as well as the later release of the Warren Commission Report, which stated only one gunman was involved in the president's assassination, and an 8mm amateur film of the assassination taken by witness Abraham Zapruder - only stoked decades of talk about conspiracy in the death of JFK.

Forty-seven years later, the shots in Dallas can still be heard, the pain still lingers.


Newly-Released JFK Footage
Walter Cronkite's Kennedy Coverage
The Last Day Of JFK
The Oswald Snapshot
Oswald Capturer Dies
Death Sentence For Jack Ruby


Ex-Agent: I Nearly Shot LBJ Hours after JFK Died
JFK Grave Inscription Getting Restored
JFK Condolence Letters Show Nation's Grief
New Film Shows JFK's '63 Arrival in Dallas
Book Links JFK Murder to Killing of RFK and MLK
JFK Smoking Gun or B-Movie Proposal?
New Tests Question JFK Lone Gunman Theory
Nov. 22, 1963: What We Remember
Dan Rather Recalls JFK Assassination
JFK Conspiracy Theories Live On


Photos: JFK: The White House Years
Photos: JFK: The Early Years
Photos: The Brothers Kennedy
Photos: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Photos: Legacy of Tragedy
Photos: White House Photographers

Related Links:

The Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston
KTVT Dallas: The Local JFK History Tour
"The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence" by Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin (Simon & Schuster)
"Image of an Assasination: A New Look at the Zapruder Film" (MPI Video)

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