Powers On JFK's Assassination

On Nov. 22, 1963, Dave Powers was riding in the presidential motorcade in Dallas when Kennedy was shot. When the president's limousine reached Parkland Hospital, Powers helped remove Kennedy from the car and place him on a stretcher.

That afternoon, he flew back to Washington sitting with Jacqueline Kennedy, next to the casket on Air Force One.

In Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, published in 1972, Powers and Kennedy appointment secretary Kenneth P. O'Donnell, with the help of writer Joe McCarthy, told of their close-up view of the killing from the car behind the president.

Powers was so upset he "drew the priest aside when they were leaving the trauma room and asked Father Huber to hear his confession. He thought he was having a heart attack," according to the book.

Powers recalled the trip back to Washington in an article for Life magazine.

"On that long, sad ride home, Jackie sat next to the casket. She was so brave on the trip back to Washington. At one point she turned to me and said, 'Oh, Dave, you've been with him all these years. What will you do now?' I choked up I couldn't answer her," Powers recalled.

Following the assassination, Kennedy's widow sought solace for her son by having Powers come to her house in Georgetown every day at noon so that John F. Kennedy Jr. could eat lunch with him.

Hanging above Powers' desk for many years at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, in a sea of Kennedy memorabilia on his walls, was a picture of the Kennedy children and a thank-you from Jacqueline Kennedy for Powers' help during the weeks after the assassination.

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