The nation mourned when word spread like wildfire that JFK was shot and later confirmed dead. This was the first time a presidential assassination was captured on film by amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder on silent 8mm film. The events that unfolded in the minutes and days after the event gripped the nation and the world.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy happened on Friday November 22, 1963 in Dallas, TX. It occurred at 12:30 P.M. CST. He was fatally shot while riding with his wife Jacqueline in a presidential motorcade. The investigation of the assassination was conducted by the Warren Commission with the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin – a conclusion still held in doubt by many in the world. In fact, the assassination of JFK is one of the biggest conspiracy theories that exist in our time.

Lets examine some of the facts surrounding the event

First, Kennedy came to Dallas for three main reasons: to generate more campaign funds for his 1964 presidential election; to begin his reelection bid; and to mend political fences among several key Texas Democratic Party members who would be needed to deliver Texas to Kennedy in the election.

Against this positive backdrop were concerns about safety in Dallas as recently Adlai Stevenson, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, was been jeered, jostled, struck by a protest sign, and spat upon during a visit to Dallas. And there was great concern amongst the members of the Kennedy contingent that an assassination attempt might be made. This was both in light of the fact of the unstable environment in Dallas at the time and the fact that the motorcade route was described in both Dallas newspapers on November 19, 1963, and a map of the route was published on November 21, 1963.

The motorcade traveled its route to an excited Dallas populace until 12:30 when the Presidential limousine turned and passed the Depository and continued down Elm Street where shots were fired. Many witnesses recalled hearing the shots but assumed that they were firecrackers at the time of the event.

Two shots were fired. The first shot entered Kennedy’s upper back and exited his throat. It also hit Governor Connally who was riding with Kennedy and his wife. The second shot took place as the limo passed in front of the John Neely Bryan north pergola concrete structure. This shot struck his head and did tremendous damage to his scull and brain and was the shot that eventually led to his death.

Kennedy was quickly brought to the Parkland Hospital and declared dead at 1 P.m CST. His death was officially announced by White House Acting Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff at 1:33 p.m. CST.

A few minutes after 2:00 p.m. CST, Kennedy’s body was placed in a casket and taken from Parkland Hospital and driven to Air Force One.

Vice-President Johnson became President of the United States upon Kennedy’s death. At 2:38 p.m. he took the oath of office on board Air Force One just before it departed Love Field to Andrews Air Force Base.

The President’s body was then brought back to the White House for private viewing. On Sunday, his flag-draped closed casket was moved to the Capitol for public viewing. Hundreds of thousands lined up to view the guarded casket.

Representatives from over 90 countries attended the funeral on November 25. After the service, the casket was taken to Arlington National Cemetery for burial.

JFK had an amazing life that was tragically cut short. The documentary Years of Lightning, Day of Drums dramatically captures his accomplishments as President against the backdrop of his funeral. This moving film touches upon Kennedy’s hopes during his presidency and details the “Six Faces of the New Frontier”, the Peach Corps, the Alliance for Progress, Civil Rights, Space Exploration, Disarmament, the pursuit of peace, the Cuban crisis, the Berlin crisis, his journey to Costa Rica, his speech at the Berlin Wall and his visit to the Kennedy ancestral home in Ireland.

Visit for a variety of films and audio recordings about JFK’s Presidency.

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