The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Within six seconds on November 22, 1963, three shots were fired. Seated in an open limousine, President John F. Kennedy was killed by two of the shots, which also wounded Texas Governor John Connally. Kennedy was the youngest president to be elected and a man people either loved or hated. There was a fascination about this young First Family too, a family which created an image that many American families yearned for. As a result, the assassination came as a surprise and left many people shocked, in sadness and confusion. As the investigations began, the prime suspect in the case was murdered, which led to another list of questions. People wanted an answer, but the aftermath following the assassination led to no conclusion. Researchers still wonder: Who killed John F. Kennedy? Facts have pointed to Lee Harvey Oswald as the murderer of the President. There have been many theories and assumptions following the presidential assassination, but with the limited video footage and information available, investigators have formulated only educated guesses.
Upon the President’s arrival in Texas, there was already speculation about his safety. The political atmosphere in the state was very conservative and the right wing hated President Kennedy’s involvement in the Vietnam War. In Robert Stone’s documentary, it laid foundation that, in the previous October, the United State’s ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, had been verbally abused by Texas citizens (Stone, Oswald’s Ghost). The presidential administration was uneasy about the visit; however, it was prepared to take extra precaution, since the President needed to make the trip to Texas to gain support and raise funds for the 1964 re-election. During the visit, it had been unanimously decided, if there was enough time, there would be a motorcade to downtown Dallas, giving an opportunity for the public to see the President. Special Agent Winston G. Lawson and Forrest V. Sorrels were the two Secret Service agents responsible for the Dallas visit and the two who crafted the motorcade route. The Warren Commission reported that with the excitement of the impending Presidential visit to Dallas, the local newspapers, the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times-Herald described the trip in detail. These papers provided the precautions that the Secret Service members were taking, the background information to the president’s visit and most importantly, the motorcade route (Nizer, 31). Even with the extra protection and the investigations of potential enemies, the President was traveling in an open vehicle, a clear target for any sniper.
At 12:30 p.m. as President John F. Kennedy’s car approached Dealey Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository, shots were fired at the President. The first shot was believed to be a firecracker or the exhaust out of the motorcycle, and it did not harm anyone. The second bullet resulted in minor injuries to the President as it entered his back, through his neck, and also went through Governor Connally’s back, chest, right wrist and left thigh, leaving him seriously wounded. It was the final bullet, going straight through Kennedy’s skull that had a large impact, splattering out blood and brain tissue. Jacqueline Kennedy and Idanell Connelly both seated next to their husbands, were not hurt during the motorcade. Immediately the driver rushed to the Parkland Memorial Hospital. The doctor noted that Kennedy was unresponsive and had a lost a sizeable portion from his skull. “At 1:00 p.m., on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead” (Bugliosi, 384). The bullet caused damage to Governor John Connally’s lung, but he was able to survive the all the damage to his body. In the midst of chaos and Kennedy’s death, an autopsy needed to be performed.
After the president’s treatment in the hospital, he was transported to the hospital in Bethesda for an autopsy. From the Warren...
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