The assassination of John F. Kennedy is one of the days that will forever live in American History. JFK was one of the most well liked Presidents. He was commonly known Jack or by his initials, JFK. He changed the face of the presidency. Even today, 50 years after his death, we remember and honor him and his family.
1. Time Line
President Kennedy was shot at 12:30 pm on November 22, 1963. He was shot in his topless limo, in Dealy Plaza, Dallas, Texas. He spoke outside his hotel in Fort Worth only hours before he was shot.
2. Presidential Assassinations
Kennedy was the fourth President to be assassinated. The first three were Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. He was the first killed since the Secret Service was formed. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States.
The vice president at the time, Lyndon B. Johnson, was sworn in as president on Air Force One (the presidents plane) only 99 minutes after JFK died. He was sworn in by Federal Judge Sarah Hughes. It was the only time a woman has administered the oath of office. Johnson became the 36th President of the United States.
Lee Harvey Oswald was found responsible for shooting the President. Although officially he was arrested for shooting a police officer, he was found to be the perpetrator of the assassination. Two days after his arrest, before he could stand trial, Oswald was fatally shot by Jack Ruby. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone.
5. Federal Crime
At the time of the assassination, it was not a federal crime to kill the President. Oswald would have been tried in Texas, because murder was illegal in Texas. Two years after JFKs death it was made a federal crime to kill or attempt to kill a President, and now an assassin or attempted assassin is tried in Federal court.
6. A Nation in Tears
Those alive at the time can tell you exactly where they were when they got the news that the President had been shot. Mrs. Kennedy received thousands of letters. People spent days crying, feeling sick to their stomachs, in shock, and not eating. Although it is hard to imagine now, everyone was so attached to the President that it felt like a personal family attack when he was shot.
Although officially Oswald acted alone, many do not believe this. At one point, as high as 80% of Americans believed there were others involved. Many believe there is some sort of conspiracy or cover up regarding his death. The theories range from multiple gunmen to much crazier stories, going so far as to claim aliens are responsible.
Oswald’s location, the sixth floor of The Texas School Book Depository, is now a museum dedicated to the assassination. In addition to this museum, Jacqueline Kennedys outfit, stained with her husband’s blood, was never cleaned. It is tucked away in the National Archives, for display in 2103 at the earliest, as per the Kennedys wishes. The plane that was Air Force One at the time is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
The funeral took place on November 25th. It was John Kennedy Junior’s third birthday. The funeral was modeled after the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. Dignitaries from over 100 countries attended, as well as over 250,000 citizens. Many had to be turned away due to space, even after waiting, and spending the night, in lines miles long in near freezing weather. The support for the President and his family was immense.
Kennedy is still remembered as one of the most liked Presidents of the United States. Kennedy was very active in the Civil Rights movement. Because of his death, his work was pushed through even harder. Had he not died, some of his laws may not have passed. Even in his death, he made a difference for people.
Learn more with these Assassination of John F. Kennedy websites.