John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
The people who lived through it remember the moment—where they were, what they were doing—when the news came. The President had traveled to Texas on a political trip; he was riding in an open car with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy; there were rifle shots; the motorcade rushed to the nearest hospital, but the wound was mortal. At 2:38 p.m. eastern standard time, CBS television news anchor Walter Cronkite removed his glasses, struggling for composure, and reported the President’s death.
Across the country, everything stopped. It seemed impossible that the young President who had ushered in a new era of American leadership with such dash and vision, was suddenly gone. The nation entered a state of suspended animation over the next three days as it paid its final respects.
President Kennedy’s funeral and procession to Arlington National Cemetery were filled with the solemn pomp and pageantry befitting an epic tragedy. Dignitaries from 92 countries attended, some in full military regalia. A million people lined the streets, while nearly the entire adult population of the United States followed the event on television in a shared experience that is seared into the nation’s memory. If the vile act of the assassination shook the nation, the beauty and decorum of the state funeral steadied it.
Remember this emotional moment in US History with a visit to the JFK Library this fall or winter. Special artifacts from the funeral will be on display, including the flag that was draped over the fallen President's coffin and the Green Beret placed at his gravesite.