What follows in an excerpt of my gran’s 1963 journal. I thought it was interesting to share a perspective from a Canadian who was hearing it on the radio- this is only the first entry from the day of the assassination.
About 1:45 p.m. I turned on the radio and heard the most shocking news. It was that President Kennedy had just been assassinated in Dallas Texas. He and Mrs. Kennedy were being driven along a street in Dallas to a meeting, where the President was to give an address. Along with them were the Governor of Texas and the latter was seriously wounded also. At first they said Pres. Kennedy was still alive, but had been rushed to the hospital where he was in the emergency ward being given blood transfusions etc. and then the Governor was being operated on in an effort to save his life. About 2:10 p.m. it was announced that Pres. Kennedy was dead. His wife was not hurt. The assassin had fired three bullets 2 of them killing the President and the other hitting the Governor of Texas. They hadn’t yet captured the assassin but they said he had fired the shots from the 6th or 5th floor of a warehouse used for storing books etc. The Vice President of the U.S. and his wife were in a second car, behind the President’s but they escaped.
George (my granddad, her husband) phoned me from his office to ask if I had heard the news. From then on the radio was “buzzing.” It did not take long for the news to flash around the world.
I just happened to turn the radio on. I thought they might be broadcasting Major Summerville’s funeral, which was in the p.m., but I did not hear of it, as this startling news “took over,” and for the rest of the time, in fact from then, right up to the present, nothing else has been broad-cast, but the President’s assassination, and everything concerning this dreadful death, and all that has happened since.
Before the afternoon was over the police had “rounded” up a suspect, a young man by the name of Lee Oswald. He was reported to be a chairman of the “Fair Play for Cuba” group. He also had been connected with the Soviets, having lived there once, but left there because he couldn’t get along there. He has a Russian born wife, who is in Dallas, and some children. The wife it is reported cannot speak English. They continued to report on everything that transpired, continuous broadcasting. We heard what clues they had to this suspect’s guilt etc. When the police went to arrest Oswald, he resisted arrest and shot a Dallas policeman, killing him! Dallas has since become the scene of wild “goings on.” It was something like a “Wild West Show” from then on! They took Oswald into custody, and continued to find more and more evidence that he was the assassin of President Kennedy.
A real drama unfolded. The world was indeed shocked and horrified!
Vice-President Lynden Johnson became the new President of the U.S.A. and was “sworn in “by a woman judge, in Dallas Texas, moments after the news that Pres. Kennedy died. Mrs. Kennedy “stood by” when this was done. Everyone is very sorry for Jacqueline Kennedy who has been a popular figure as the “First Lady” at the White House. They told how poor Mrs. Kennedy re-acted as the shots rang out, one of which hit Kennedy in the neck and chest, a second one hitting him in the back of the head entering his brain! Poor Mrs. K fell over on the President and held him in her arms. It was a miracle she wasn’t killed too! All this was being photographed and shown on T.V. as it occurred. The car in which the Kennedy’s were riding was a wide open convertible type. This in my opinion was very poorly chosen. Doubtless if this Oswald did the terrible act, he is a “crack-pot,” but I think greater security should have been exercised to protect the President and his wife. They were right in the front seat of an open car!!