Saturday, November 11, 2017

John F. Kennedy

One Fateful Day in Dallas
by Martha Rogers

With the recent release of records and documents concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy, speculations, questions, and theories rise to the surface. Many will still believe it was a conspiracy, others will dispute what these records reveal, and still others will form their own opinions.

 Some say political advisors urged Kennedy to cancel the Dallas trip, but he said no and took Jackie with him. She rarely accompanied him on this type of political outing, but did so this time.

They arrived in Dallas on November 22, 1963 and were greeted by a cheering crowd of Dallasites standing along the parade route through downtown Dallas heading west on Elm Street. With him in the Lincoln convertible for the motorcade were Governor and Mrs. John Connally. Vice-President Lyndon Johnson rode three cars behind him.

As they entered Dealey Plaza, across from the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 P.M., shots rang out across the plaza. Allegedly, three shots were fired from the sixth floor wounding Connally and a fatally injuring Kennedy.

Jackie reached out to one of the secret service men following the car and pulled him aboard to help her. Both Connally and Kennedy were rushed to Parkland
Hospital where Kennedy was pronounced dead thirty minutes later.

Several questions arose as to how many shots were actually fired. Connally, sitting directly in front of Kennedy sustained three wounds, and Kennedy was wounded in the back and neck. A by-stander, James Tague was cut from the impact of a bullet on the concrete curb directly in front of him. How did so many wounds come from three shots?

 An inspection of the building revealed bullet shells by a half-open window on the sixth floor. A rifle was also found. The bullet shells had been fired from that rifle.

Investigations revealed that the rifle had been purchased by mail order months earlier. The order was from a name known as a pseudonym used by Lee Harvey Oswald. The handwriting on the order matched Oswald’s, and it had been delivered to a post office box rented by Oswald.

Oswald worked at the depository building and had no legitimate alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the shooting. Less than hour after Kennedy was shot, Oswald shot a police officer, J.D. Tippit, who questioned Oswald near his rooming house in Dallas. Thirty minutes later, Oswald was arrested in a movie theater. On November 23, he was formally arraigned for the murder of Kennedy as well as that of Officer Tippit.

In the mean time, Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas was sworn in by Judge Sarah Hughes aboard Air Force One with Jackie Kennedy by his side still wearing her pink, blood-stained suit.

On November 24, Oswald was being brought from the police headquarters to a more secure location in the county jail. With a crowd of police and live television cameras rolling, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and shot Oswald with a single shot from a .38 revolver. Ruby was convicted, but while awaiting a new trial, he died in prison from lung cancer.

Few who witnessed the television accounts of Kennedy’s funeral in our nation's  Capitol will ever forget the images of his children standing with Jackie.

The Warren Commission report in 1964, concluded that neither man had been a part of a larger conspiracy, but despite the firm conclusions of the report, it didn’t squelch the conspiracy theory. In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Kennedy was probably assassinated because of conspiracy and it may have involved more than one shooter.

Now people are hoping for more information to confirm or deny the findings of the commission. Speculations and ideas will undoubtedly continue to arise no matter what these newly released documents may reveal. Either Oswald acted alone or he didn’t. Perhaps we’ll never know.

This is one of those events where people are most likely to remember exactly where they were and what they were doing. I was teaching a group of eighth grade in a homemaking class when the announcement came over our loudspeaker that President Kennedy had been shot. To say I was shaken was an understatement, and my girls cried and huddled together. The loudspeaker then began a radio broadcast that lasted well into the afternoon. Many parents arrived at school to take their children home. Our nation had been rocked by one of the greatest tragedies of all time.

In the spring of 2000, my sister and two cousins visited Arlington National Cemetery and the Eternal Flame final resting place of John and Jackie.

I am giving away a copy of my Christmas Novella Mistletoe and Roses this month. Please leave a comment along with the answer to the posted question and your email address.
Question: What do you remember about the JFK assassination from what you've read or experienced?

Mikayla Pruitt returns home to help her mother with settling her father’s estate and organizing their year-round Christmas store in Mistletoe, Oklahoma. She finds herself embroiled not only in a battle to keep the town as it is with all its quaintness and charm, but also one for her heart between a long time friend and her current love interest in Tulsa. She must make a decision that will affect not only her mother, but also her own future and that of the town.   

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to four. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching Home Economics and English at the secondary level and eight years at the college level supervising student teachers and teaching freshman English. She is the Director of the Texas Christian Writers Conference held in Houston in August each year, a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and a member of the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive.
Find Martha at:


  1. I remember when it happened, I was 11 years old and in my class at school when the news came. I can especially remember the sadness in the hearts of everyone, in TV as well as those around us. I also remember all of the television coverage of the event and the funeral. This is something I think everyone alive at that time will remember.
    Thank Martha for the post.
    Blessings Joy

    1. I think so too, Joy. As a young teacher, I couldn't believe something like this could happen. Consoling and explaining to my class of eighth graders was one of the most difficult things I'd ever done. I had no real answers.

  2. I remember when it happened too. I was in class and our teacher was called out of the classroom and when she came back in she was crying. She told us the President had been assassinated and then she escorted us all to the cafeteria where the principal talked to us and we were then all sent home. It happened the day after my 11th birthday.

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    1. Yes, I was one of those teachers. We had an assembly as well, and we let our students go home if their parents came for them or called and asked for them to be dismissed.

  3. I remember how the whole nation grieved. I hate to say that I don't think that would happen in these times. Maybe it was because I was a child in 3rd or 4th grade that I didn't hear disparaging comments about Kennedy at that time. But there was a respect for the presidency that is lacking now. I think that is a sad fact.

    1. I agree about the respect. Somewhere along the line, respect for authority and for the highest office in the land has been shoved aside. No one back then would have dared spoken out and called for an assassination like we've heard in recent days. Such a sad commentary for our times.

  4. I will never forget that day! I was in the 3rd grade and we were told about it at school. Shock and disbelief engulfed everyone there. Days later the funeral was televised. Sad and somber everyone seemed as a horse drawn, flag draped casket passed and Little John John saluted his dad.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  5. Yes, Melanie, those were pictures that stuck in the mind, and a date we'll never forget. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. I will never forget that Friday or the weekend that followed. I was in the 8th grade in 1963 and there was a basketball game being played that afternoon that would determine the two teams that would play in the championship game of the Elementary School Tournament that involved players from five schools. My elementary school was across the street from the high school so we were allowed to walk to and from the game. As we walked back to our school our teacher told us that President Kennedy had been shot and he had died. You can imagine our reactions and I was glued to our tv from the time I arrived home that afternoon until after the funeral. We normally attended church on Sunday morning but for some reason we were home and we witnessed Jack Ruby stepping out and shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. And yes, my 13 year old heart felt like it was breaking when "John John" saluted his father casket. Politics and adversity were forgotten during those days in November and I know that my sense of innocence and security was never the same!
    Thanks Martha for a great post.

  7. You could have been in my class. :) My 8th grade girls were very emotional, but the boys only glared and were angry. Seems it takes a crisis for our country to come together in these days, and it's a shame we're not united all the time. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. I was in Jr. High. I remember we could go to the auditorium to watch the T.V. Coverage. Jackie’s pink suit,Walter Cronkite breaking up, Jack Ruby shooting Oswald on National TV. Replaying the motorcade footage Johnson taking the Oath on the plane. Even the picture outside the hospital. Everyone was in disbelief. Such a sad day. But I did hear a girl in gym class say she was glad. Even though my family didn’t agree with his politics, we sure didn’t wish him dead! Times have changed, people are callous and very selfish.

  9. I don't have any actual memories of the event as I was only two months old, but certainly learned about it in school and by reading.

  10. Thank you for an interesting post. I don't really remember much about it because I was 5. I remember hearing about it but that was about it.
    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of your book. It looks like a good one.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

  11. Joy is the winner of the Christmas novella. Congratulations, Joy. You'll be getting an email from me.