Thunder Bay – “From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official: President Kennedy died at 1 pm Central Standard Time, 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago”. Those words said by CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite marked the end of the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy that millions of people heard.
The President was assassinated by gunfire while travelling through downtown Dallas in a motorcade. Texas Governor John Connally was also wounded.
The Dallas trip had started on a bright sunny morning with the President and Mrs. Kennedy in her now famous pink outfit, as the Presidential couple arrived to large friendly crowds at Love Field.
There had been security concerns over the Texas trip, but nothing that fateful day hinted toward the terrible tragedy that would happen in Dealey Plaza.
Reportedly Mrs. Connelly had just said to the President, “You can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you”. Moments later the sound of gun shots rang out, the President was rushed to Parkland Hospital where he was declared dead.
The terrible event was captured by Abraham Zapruder on a Super 8 Movie Camera.
It was a moment that for millions of people where the world seemed to stop. People remembered for years later where they were when they heard the news of the shooting of President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally.
It is also a moment when the sheer horror of the event changed history. The young President’s death has spawned many conspiracy theories on exactly who was involved and who actually killed the President.
Dallas Police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee at the Dallas Schoolbook Depository. He was suspected of murdering a Dallas Police officer shortly after the assassination. Oswald was arrested and taken to Dallas Police Headquarters. On the following Sunday, as he was being transferred to jail, he was gunned down by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known more widely as the Warren Commission was established by President Lyndon Johnson on November 29, 1963 in order to investigate the assassination.
There are 28 volumes to the report of the Warren Commission.
Yet there remains widespread speculation that President Kennedy was murdered as a part of a conspiracy.
Oliver Stone’s movie JFK in 1991 put the speculation on a government conspiracy.
Even today, visitors to Dealey Plaza in Dallas gather everyday. The Sixth Floor Museum has much of the history, as well as the sniper’s nest that alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald fired those fateful shots from.
The Assassination of President Kennedy marked a change in how people got their news.
It brought television, with wall-to-wall coverage of the assassination as the main medium that people got their news.
At the time that the news confirmed Kennedy’s death just after 1:30 that Friday, 45.4 percent of U.S. homes with a television had the television set on according to ratings agency Nielsen.
The coverage of the Kennedy assassination started on that terrible Friday afternoon with the major news networks first breaking into their coverage with verbal updates. Back in 1963 it took time for a television camera to warm up enough to start broadcasting.
“A bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.
“More details just arrived. These details about the same as previously: President Kennedy shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy, she called ‘Oh, no!’ The motorcade sped on. United Press says that the wounds for President Kennedy perhaps could be fatal. Repeating, a bulletin from CBS News, President Kennedy has been shot by a would-be assassin in Dallas, Texas. Stay tuned to CBS News for further details.”
Shortly after, Cronkite read another statement, this time live on the air. “From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official: ‘PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED AT 1 P.M. (CST),' 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some thirty-eight minutes ago”.
The television coverage continued through the weekend right through to the funeral of the slain President.