26 Super-Interesting Facts About The Kennedy Assassination

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On October 26th, 2017, and the couple of weeks after, what should be the last of the government documents regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy were released. The 1991 Oliver Stone movie, JFK, prompted a public outcry for more documents, so according to the JFK Records Act, the government had 25 years to release all related files.

About 3,000 documents, and 34,000 previously redacted files, so far haven’t seemed to wield any real major clues as to what really happened in the complicated web that is the JFK assassination. With that in mind, I decided to not really include anything about those documents here, as I’m not sure they really change anything I’m including. Most of these are “facts” as I can verify them through different sources. And so many sources, from documentaries, news clips, and independent researchers (many from YouTube), books (possibly more reliable), and movies (probably less reliable), in many cases each claiming something a little different!

I also question any source that says (as if it is fact) that “Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy from the 6th floor Texas School Book Depository window.” I think it is well-known that there are too many disputed facts to make that claim, and I heard once that, in this country, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Oswald never got a trial. He said, “I’m a patsy.” “I emphatically deny these charges.” That doesn’t sound like someone who wanted recognition for killing a president. But there was no real investigation. There was no record of interrogation, no written or video record (even with a hallway full of reporters and video cameras right outside Oswald’s door).

Here are some things you may not have known about the events on November 22nd, 1963.

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  • Jacqueline (which, by the way was pronounced Zhak-CLEEN–a soft “j” and and “lean” sound, differently than we’ve always heard it) Kennedy never went on campaign stops with JFK. But John Fitzgerald Kennedy knew this was an important stop, and he knew that people loved Jackie, so of course her presence was bound to help make a good impression. It was also Jackie’s first appearance since losing the couple’s 4th child, Patrick, at 2 days old just a few months before on August 9th, 1963.
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  • JFK and Jackie left on November 21st for the whirlwind 2-day, 5-city trip to Texas: San Antonio, Houston, Fort-Worth, Dallas, and Austin, then on to spend the rest of the weekend at Lyndon Johnson’s ranch near Johnson City. Of course they never made it beyond Dallas. Little John-John started to cry when he found out they were leaving, and they reassured him that they would be back on Monday to celebrate his 3rd birthday (Caroline would turn 6 two days later). Itineraries show that almost every minute of their schedule was jam-packed from sunrise to sunset.
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  • “We’re heading into nut country today.” – President Kennedy, that morning in Dallas

  • Bodyguards reported hearing Jack say to Jackie as they left for Dallas that morning, “We’re heading into nut country today.” His comment was prompted by the full-page advertisement printed in the Dallas Morning News on the day of the assassination accusing Kennedy of being a Communist patsy, among other things. It was eventually found to have come from a group whose members included the very rich in Dallas.
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  • On all of the other Texas stops, Jackie had received yellow roses (a Texas tradition), but that morning in Fort Worth at Love Field, she got red roses while Mrs. Connally received yellow, something Jackie noted as odd. Apparently, pretty much all of the yellow roses in California were flown to Dallas (4,980 to be exact) 2 days before the president arrived.
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  • The Limousine the group was riding in was flown in from Washington DC. It was a midnight blue 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, Secret Service code name SS-100-X (D.C. license plate GG 300), and seated 6 with the jump-seat (for some reason, many people only remember 4 people in the car — see Mandela Effect). The 6 occupants were: driver/Secret Service Agent Will Greer; passenger/Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman; behind the driver/Mrs. Connally; to her right, Texas Governor John Connally; left rear/Mrs. Kennedy, and right rear/JFK. The car was refurbished and went on to be used by 4 more presidents. The car was retired in 1977 and is now in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan (not owned by Justin Bieber, as you may have heard).
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  • It had rained that morning, but cleared up to what was one of the more beautiful days in recent memory for those that were there. The optional bubble top was left off so that the crowds could get a good look at the President and First Lady. Contrary to popular belief the bubble-top was not bullet-proof. However, it is unknown if the top would have deterred a shooter (who might assume it was bulletproof), and/or if it might have offered some form of protection for the vehicle’s occupants.
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  • 42 vehicles were in the motorcade (18 police motorcycles, 21 cars (carrying secret service, politicians and their staff, members of the press, and other law enforcement), and 3 press buses). The president was 12th behind 2 cars and 9 motorcycles. 4 additional motorcycles flanked his car.
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  • Jackie wonders why someone in the crowd is throwing fireworks. Governor Connally recognizes the distinct sound of a gunshot as he had just returned from a hunting trip. 3-4 gunshots are reportedly heard, 6 or more may have been fired. We know at least 2 hit the president, and probably 2 hit Connally. This is where the so-called “pristine bullet” and “magic-bullet theory” come in. There is video of Connally’s doctor saying that THE bullet would be removed from Connally’s leg). If the one bullet was still in Connally’s leg, how could it show up “pristine” on a stretcher?
  • “It was a simple matter of a bullet right through the head.” – Malcolm Kilduff, describing how the President died.

  • Early reports say shots came from the front, hitting Kennedy in the throat and head. Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff makes a gesture like a gun to his right front temple when he describes that the President is dead as “a simple matter of a a bullet right through the head.” Doctors at Parkland Hospital also described the exit wound as a gaping hole in the back of the head. Even Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry later said he believed that the head shot probably came from the front, and there could have possibly been more than one shooter. These reports contradict the Warren Report.
  • Abraham Zapruder (pronounced ZAP-ruder) was one of 32 people known to have captured images on film or video around the time of the murder. The Zapruder Film (possibly edited) is only 26.6 seconds long. His camera was new, and he actually forgot it the morning of the President’s arrival. His secretary, Marilyn Sitzman, convinced him to go back home and get it.

    Time-Life paid him $150,000 at the time, and while some still shots were shown in Time Magazine, the film was not seen by the general public until 12 years later, in 1975 on the show Good Night America with Geraldo Rivera, thanks to Robert Grodin and Dick Gregory.

    Zapruder heirs sued for royalties, and Time, Inc. sold the film and copyright back to the family for $1, pressuring them to give the film to the National Archives and Records Administration for preservation, but getting to keep ownership of the film and copyright. In 1999, the government paid the Zapruder family $16 million dollars for the seizure of the film. Oliver Stone paid $85,000 to use the film in the movie JFK.
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  • An interesting rabbit hole to go down…

  • Watching the Nix film, the crowd is seen running up toward the top of the grassy knoll. These people are not running away from possible shooter, they are running toward where they heard the shots come from, and actually think they might catch an assassin.
  • Some of the conversation in the car includes Nellie Connally saying just before rounding the corner from Houston onto Elm Street “Mr. President, you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you.” When Jack is hit, Jackie reportedly says “Oh God, no, no, no.” Governor Connally says “They’re going to kill us all.” Who is “they?” Just sayin’.
  • “Mr. President, you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you.” – Nellie Connally, just before the shots rang out

  • As Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, who is riding the side rails on the car behind Kennedy’s figures out what’s going on and sprints to jump on the car, Jackie is crawling out onto the trunk. Some think she’s trying to escape the car, but she’s actually retrieving a part of the President’s brain, which she later gave to one of the doctors at the hospital. They say that enough fragments of skull showed up at Bethesda to complete the skull-puzzle. So how was it that more fragments were discovered at the murder scene (on the street, and in the car)?
  • President Kennedy was taken to Parkland Hospital, Trauma Room 1. The same Trauma Room where 2 days later and 7 minutes later, Lee Oswald would be pronounced dead. That trauma room has since been dismantled and was offered to the JFK Library, and then the LBJ Library, both turned it down. It is now in National Archives’ storage in Kansas.
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  • Jackie, covered with Jack’s blood, refused to let anyone clean her up, saying “No, let them see what they’ve done.” In fact, Jackie’s suit has never been cleaned, and is now stored in the national archives, but not on display. In 2003 according to Caroline Kennedy’s wishes, the suit will not be put on public display for another 100 years, until 2103. The famous pillbox hat was last seen by Mrs. Kennedy’s secretary Mary Gallagher, but currently whereabouts are unknown.
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  • This all happens in just 90-minutes: Authorities identify Lee Oswald (who loves Cuba and Russia so much) within about 30 minutes as the shooter of officer J.D. Tippett at Tenth & Patton, officers find and arrest Oswald at the Texas Theatre, and the media is able to report Lee’s entire background, well before the internet made information so readily available.
  • When Jackie is with Jack’s body as it lay in the coffin, she takes off her silver wedding band, and places it on JFK’s finger. She kisses his hand, his foot, his eyes, and his mouth. She then puts her blood-stained glove back on and leaves. Reportedly she has an assistant go back and get the ring.
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  • The president’s body is taken against the wishes of the doctors at Parkland Hospital. Per Texas law, the murder investigation and autopsy should have taken place in Texas, but the Secret Service agents want to get the body right back to Washington, DC. After an argument in the hallway, government agents win, and the president’s body is taken to the plane. A reasonable explanation by JFK aide Kenneth O’Brien is that Jackie said she would not leave her husband’s side, and that he and the Secret Service knew that to be able to get her to leave the hospital was to take the President’s body.
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  • The President’s coffin wouldn’t fit through the plane doors, so the handles had to be removed, and a whole row of seats taken out to put it on the plane.
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  • Lyndon B. Johnson took the presidential oath of office just 99 minutes after the assassination. Judge Sarah Hughes swore him in, in tears. Johnson wanted Mrs. Kennedy to be present. She stayed in her blood-stained suit.
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  • John F. Kennedy’s 98-year-old grandmother Mary Josephine Kennedy (Rose’s mother) died in August 1964 not knowing that her grandson was assassinated. The family feared Mrs. Kennedy could die from the shock.
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  • 2, and possibly 4 future presidents were in Dallas that day. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon confirmed, and there are pictures that many believe show George H.W. Bush (who, by the way, can’t remember where he was the day Kennedy what shot), and another picture some think is a young George W. Bush.
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  • “I emphatically deny these charges.” – Lee Oswald

  • Oswald never got a trial. He was shot when being transferred from the Dallas Jail, by one Jacob Leon Rubenstein, who legally changed his name to Jack Ruby. Ruby leapt out of the crowd and fatally shot Oswald in the abdomen, the first homicide caught on live television. Ruby was cryptic as to why he did it, at first suggesting he killed Oswald to spare Mrs. Kennedy and Caroline from a trial.

    In Ruby’s press conference, he said, “Everything pertaining to what’s happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts of what occurred, my motives. The people who had had so much to gain, and had had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.” When a reporter asks “Are these people in high postions, Jack?” he says “Yes.”

    He also said “When I mentioned about Adlai Stevenson, if he was vice president there would never have been an assassination of our beloved President Kennedy.”
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  • In 1964 after a 10-month investigation, The Warren Commission released the 26-volume Warren Report claiming that both Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby acted alone. After the bootleg showing of the Zapruder film in on Geraldo’s show in 1975, the public called for a new investigation.

    In 1979, The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that the original investigations were flawed due to limited access to information from other government agencies, and that although the injuries to Kennedy and Connally were gunfire from Oswald, using what was first reported to be a Mauser, but then changed to a 6.5 mm Italian carbine rifle (apparently a really terrible gun in the first place, that was not even properly sighted). The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that it was probable there was more than one gunman, based on audio from a motorcycle police officer’s open mic that recorded what sounded like at least 4 gunshots.
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  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the youngest president elected to office (age 43), and the youngest to leave office (at age 46). He was our 35th president (for 1,036 days), and the first born in the 20th century to serve as president. He was the 4th president to be assassinated in a country’s less than 200-year history (along with Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, and William McKinley), and the first to be assassinated since the Secret Service began protecting presidents. It was not a federal crime to kill a president until 1965.
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  • BONUS FACT: Actor Bill Paxton was 8-years-old, and was on his dad’s shoulders in the crowd that morning in Fort Worth, before the President and Mrs. Kennedy headed to Love Field and Dallas.
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We will probably never know the truth. But we can always strive to find it.

 

Here’s an uncomfortable peek into what it’s like for President Lyndon B Johnson to order pants

A chronology of the day from Esquire Magazine

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