It used to be said that everyone could say where they were when they heard the news that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was dead. It’s now 55 years since that shocking afternoon in Dallas, Texas, and there are obviously fewer people alive who can attest where they were that fateful afternoon.
The President and his party, which included his wife Jackie, Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie, travelling in the first car. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife followed in an accompanying car in the motorcade.
The Kennedys had spent the night of the 21 November in Fort Worth. The presidential party took a thirteen-minute flight from Carswell Air Force Base to Dallas and then drove towards the afternoon’s engagement at the Trade Mart for a lunch where the President was expected to speak.
Crowds of people lined the streets of Dallas to catch a glimpse of the President and his wife. The presidential car entered Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As the car passed the Texas Book Depository the President was fatally shot. He was hit in the neck and head before slumping across towards his wife. Governor John Connally was shot in the back, he would eventually recover from his injuries.
Panic ensued as Jackie Kennedy first tried to exit the rear of the vehicle before the car sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where the medical team were unable to save the President. John F. Kennedy was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic church and was pronounced dead at 1 p.m.
The President was returned to Washington in a coffin later that day on Air Force One. On the same flight, Lyndon B. Johnson swore the oath of office at 2:38 p.m. President John F. Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetary on 25 November 1963.