By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
This week, Clubhouse News has examined the life of John F. Kennedy (JFK), leading up to the 50th anniversary of his assassination on November 22. In “JFK Part V: The Assassination,” we examine the days leading to the tragic end of a remarkable man’s life, and the mystery behind his death.
JFK and his political team were busy preparing for his next presidential campaign by the fall of 1963. Even though he hadn’t officially announced his desire to run again, it was clear he felt confident in his chances for victory and planned on running. By the end of September, he had begun traveling west in a tour that hit nine different states, talking about issues like the economy, world peace, and the nation’s security. On November 12, he held an important political planning session, discussing the importance of winning Texas and Florida.
Then, on November 21, the president and first lady left on Air Force One for a 2 day, 5-city tour of Texas. He stopped in San Antonio first, traveled to Brooks Air Force Base, and then continued on to Houston to address a Latin American group. On Friday, November 22, a light rain fell as several thousand people gathered in the parking lot outside the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys had spent the night. JFK came out briefly, wearing no protection against the weather, and remarked, “There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it.” Soon, they left the hotel and caught a flight to the Love Field airport in Dallas, where the first lady received a bouquet of red roses that she took the waiting limousine with her. Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, were sitting in the open convertible as the Kennedys got in and sat behind them.
They left the airport and followed a ten-mile route that passed through downtown Dallas. As the car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30pm, it passed the Texas School Book Depository. Gunfire suddenly sounded, and the president was struck in the neck and head, causing him to slump over Mrs. Kennedy. The governor also was hit in the chest. Although the car sped off to the hospital, the president was too fatally wounded, and died at 1:00pm.
Police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, who supposedly shot JFK from the Texas School Book Depository. On Sunday morning, November 24, Oswald was going to be moved from the police headquarters to the county jail, when a man with a pistol suddenly attacked and killed him. The man, Jack Ruby, was a local nightlcub owner. Some conspiracy theorists (people who believe there are secret groups plotting events behind the scenes) believe Jack Ruby was involved with criminal organizations who tried covering up Oswald’s involvement by having the assassin killed. However, an investigation unofficially known as the Warren Commission put together a report that was revealed to the public on September 27, claiming Oswald acted alone in killing JFK. Then, in 1976, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations was established to investigate the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr., and they found that the president was “probably” killed as a result of a conspiracy. They didn’t name any person or group that might have conspired with Oswald, but to this day some people believe it could have been military companies who’d lose profits as a result of JFK’s peaceful international policies, or even the Mafia.
Images courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.