2017-01-22 03:51:43 UTC
John F. Kennedy Signed Dallas Newpaper Morning of Assassination ...
November 22, 1963. A Last Thing Signed: John F. Kennedy Autographs a Dallas
Newspaper on the Morning of His Murder There. Ephemera. 1 page.
Map - Presidential Motorcade Route
NOVEMBER 22, 1963
A LAST THING SIGNED: JOHN F. KENNEDY AUTOGRAPHS A DALLAS NEWSPAPER ON THE MORNING OF HIS MURDER THERE
If it had rained that morning; if Jacqueline Kennedy had not been with
him; if the crowds to greet them hadn’t been so deep, slowing down
the limo; or if the driver, hearing shots, had sped up and not down
– those were the variables. Had any one of them been different
then, perhaps, this edition of the November 22nd 1963 Dallas Morning News
might not have been, in all likelihood, the last thing signed by the 35th
President of the United States before he was shot and killed, riding with
his wife in an open limousine in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 p.m., that Friday
Here is what happened, and how:
7:10 a.m.: As JFK dresses, in his suite at Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, he
dons a surgical corset to ease his chronic disc disease. He laces it
tightly, then pulls a long elastic bandage over his feet and twists it so
that it forms a figure eight. He then slips it up over both legs. Finally,
it is adjusted over his hips where it supports the bottom of his torso,
while the back brace holds the lower spine rigid.
8:30 a.m.: JFK stands at a window, overlooking a platform where, in a few
minutes he will address a large crowd. He remarks that “if someone
wanted to get you, it wouldn't be very difficult.”
As he scans the leading metropolitan dailies, his instinct that Jacqueline, his glamorous wife, is key to carrying Texas, is confirmed by an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times: “Some Texans, in taking account of the tangled Texas political situation,” he reads, “have begun to think that Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy may turn the balance and win her husband this state’s electoral vote.”
8: 45 a.m.: As JFK ascends the platform to speak, a light rain ceases; the sun comes out. It will stay out all day.
The crowd chants “Where’s Jackie? Where’s Jackie?” The president points toward the hotel suite.
9:00 a.m.: On his way back into the hotel from the speech, JFK stops to chat outside with various well-wishers. He re-enters the hotel, intent on addressing a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast in the Grand Ballroom; along the way, however, he detours to speak to Governor Connelly and Senator Yarborough.
It is at this point – within approximately a 10 minute window – that a chambermaid, Jan White, encounters the President and his Secret Service detail in a hallway. She asks him to sign a newspaper she has with her. Kennedy reads her name on her name tag, and inscribes the photograph of himself and Mrs. Kennedy, on the front page of the November 22, 1963, Dallas Morning News, “To Jan White - John Kennedy.”
9:10 a.m.: JFK enters the hotel Grand Ballroom for the Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
9:20 a.m.: The anticipation that Mrs. Kennedy may appear is tremendous. When she does, a few minutes later, 2,000 businessmen and their wives leap to their feet, cheering. The President then addresses the crowd. “Two years ago I introduced myself in Paris as the man who had accompanied Mrs. Kennedy to Paris,” he quips. “I’m getting somewhat the same sensation as I travel around Texas.” Pandemonium. “Nobody wonders what Lyndon and I wear –” he says, grinning.
9:55 a.m.: JFK asks his wife if she is enjoying the trip. “Oh, Jack,” she replies “campaigning is so easy when you’re President.”
10:30 a.m.: Back in the hotel suite, JFK is shown a Dallas newspaper carrying a political advertisement accusing him of treason. “We’re going into nut country today,” he tells an aide. Prowling the room, he remarks to no one in particular, for the second time that morning, that “It would not be a very difficult job to shoot the president of the United States. All you’d have to do is get up in a high building with a high-powered rifle with a telescopic sight, and there’s nothing anybody can do.”
10:40 a.m. JFK’s motorcade leaves the Texas Hotel for Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth in order to make the short flight to Dallas. There will be 36 people aboard Air Force One - not including the crew.
11:17 a.m.: Having been delayed by a spontaneous show of support from Air Force personnel, Air Force One now takes off for Dallas. During the flight JFK reviews the morning’s Intelligence Checklist. A CIA analyst has included in this report a copy of the bullfight poem that JFK recited on October 16, 1962, just after he was told about the missiles in Cuba:
Bullfight critics ranked in rows
Crowd the enormous Plaza full;
But only one is there who knows,
And he’s the man who fights the bull.
11:40 a.m.: Air Force One lands at Love Field in Dallas. A large crowd waits to greet the President; he is pleased to see so large a turnout. He deplanes a few minutes later
11:47 a.m.: The President and Mrs. Kennedy meet the official welcome party, and then work the fence line, shaking hands.
Minutes later they settle into the 1961 armored Lincoln convertible which will take them the nine-and-a-half miles through Dallas to the Trade Mart, where JFK is scheduled to deliver a luncheon address. Because the sun is shining; because the crowds want to see Jacqueline Kennedy, and the President wishes her seen; they will not use one of the limousine’s three tops. The canvas top would have obscured the party from public view; another, of plastic, would have deflected a bullet; the third, made of metal, could have protected the President from gunfire.
Driving the presidential limousine is Secret Service Agent Bill Greer. At fifty-four, he is the oldest man on the White House detail.