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 ParklandHospital 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: www.marthawrogers.com