News / USA

    Eyewitnesses Remember Kennedy Assassination 50 Years Later

    50 Years Later, Eyewitnesses Remember Kennedy Assassinationi
    X
    November 19, 2013 10:52 PM
    The events that took place in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, and in the days that followed are some of the most analyzed and controversial moments in American history. And as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports -- for those in Dallas who witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, those moments are permanently seared in their minds, and changed their lives forever.
    The events that took place in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, and in the days that followed are some of the most analyzed and controversial moments in American history.  And for those in Dallas who witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, those moments are permanently seared in their minds, and changed their lives forever.

    Nurse Phyllis Hall remembers that day as a typical, sunny North Texas Friday morning.

    “As I stood there looking at the window something started to come into view here on the right side," she recalled, "and as I turned my head, it was the President's airplane, and I know that because it was close enough, it was within two blocks of the hospital, and I could see the Presidential seal on the side.”

    The arrival of Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas on that day, marked the beginning of a flurry of activity for news reporters covering the President’s visit, including reporter Bob Huffaker.

    “My assignment was to go to Main and Ackerd and to broadcast the motorcade as KRLD’s last stop, the last reporter on the motorcad," Huffaker explained. “I showed up and was gratified to see that it looked as though the whole city turned up.”

    The crowds swelled as the Presidential motorcade made its way through Dallas.  Jim Tague was on his way to a lunch date when he became stuck in traffic.  He parked his car and looked for the source of the backup.

    “As I no more looked at the crowd, here came a car through it with flags on the fenders, then I remembered reading in the papers that President Kennedy was going to be in town today," Tague said.

    He eventually found himself at the end of Dealey Plaza, standing on a curb just before the triple underpass.

    “I no more than see the President’s car, then a couple seconds later somebody throws a firecracker, I thought.  Turns out it was the first shot.  Then there’s a pause, then the crack crack of two rifle shots," he recalled.  "Something stung me in the face during the two rifle shots.  And I’m standing there dumbfounded, trying to figure out what happened, and I’m thinking did someone just fire a shot at the President?”

    Dallas Deputy Sheriff Gene Boone was one of the first law enforcement officers outside the motorcade to react.

    “There was no mistaking what it was," Sheriff Boone noted. “There were two people laying here on the ground, and as I came around, I said there’s two dead ones to myself, but as I got closer around and closer to them they started to get up.”

    Meanwhile, the Presidential motorcade sped towards Parkland hospital, where nurse Phyllis Hall was just wrapping up her duty shift.

    “And the doors just exploded open.  I didn’t have time to think what was going on,” she recalled.

    Hall could just make out the President’s head and chest on a medical cart rushing towards Trauma Room One.

    “I didn’t have a stethoscope with me, but I couldn’t feel any pulses,” she said.

    As doctors and nurses tended not only to President Kennedy but also Texas Governor John Connolly, a large crowd began to gather outside.

    “The dignitaries who had been in the motorcade were just milling around in shock.  The conversations were quiet, subdued, uncertain,” Huffaker remembered.

    He was outside the emergency room near his vehicle, intently listening to his station's radio updates on the President’s condition -- while frantically trying to gather interviews with eyewitnesses.

    As medical workers tried in vain to save the President’s life, Associated Press Reporter Mike Cochran made his way inside the hospital to get an update on the President’s condition.

    “And almost the first thing we saw was just a group, almost a wave of nurses coming down the hallway, and crying hysterically.  And we knew immediately that the President was dead," he said.  "Malcolm Kilduff [Assistant White House Press Secretary] had just announced that the President had died at 1:00 p.m.”

    “As the time went on the word obviously spread through the crowd and there were more tears," added Huffaker. "And I would have been crying too if I had leave to do so.”

    For many in Texas, November 22, 1963, forever changed their lives.  It marked the beginning of a long shadow that was cast over this region of the country for years to come, which city leaders have struggled to change in the 50 years since the assassination.

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Pandera from: Dallas
    November 21, 2013 4:39 PM
    Parkland Hospital is not only the place where JFK died, but where his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, died two days later, and also where Oswald's own assassin, Jack Ruby, also died four years later.

    Was it a conspiracy that all these people died in the same place, or was it something about Parkland that caused all these people to coincidentally die in the same place?

    Parkland has come under fire recently from government regulators, at one point losing its Medicare status, and is currently on 7 straight years of federal probation for patient care lapses and fraud. Many patients who come to Parkland die for no reason at all.

    It’s no coincidence. You can read about the intriguing back story about Parkland and the JFK assassination on the website, "The Parkland Orgy of Death."

    by: Margaret from: Kennedy
    November 19, 2013 10:03 PM
    Kane: Terrific Report. I was a senior in high school at the time, living in Palm Beach. I saw Air Force One on the side tarmac at the airport going to school just before Kennedy went off to Texas. You captured some important reactions from some real people.

    by: Mrs. Witkin from: Manhattan, NY
    November 19, 2013 6:37 PM
    Be good little Sheeple, or VOA won't print your comment. You must go along with, and embrace the establishments ludicrous story of the "lone gunman". Be good little Sheeple!

    by: Iwork@WhiteHouse from: District of Criminals
    November 19, 2013 5:56 PM
    Why is the establishment so desperate to reinforce the official narrative behind the assassination of JFK 50 years later?

    If the lone gunman conspiracy theory is so watertight, as the establishment argues, then why, five decades after the event, are thousands of pages concerning the investigation into the assassination of JFK still classified???

    by: Janet Kennedy from: Boston
    November 19, 2013 5:48 PM
    Notice in this so-called "article" by Kane Farabaugh, that there is ZERO mention of the CIA, and how they were behind the whole thing?? VERY IRONIC.

    by: Markt from: Virginia
    November 19, 2013 5:06 PM
    I was just shy of being 7 months old on that fateful day (so I knew nothing about it when it happened), having been born on 26 April of that year. I have seen a good bit of footage since then, however.
    As far as what I was doing at exactly 1:00 pm (3:00 pm east coast time) on 22 November? Either napping, or getting a diaper change, or being fed....

    by: Allan Smith from: n/a
    November 19, 2013 3:47 PM
    WE LOVE YOU JFK YOUR FREE AT LAST

    by: Scotty Cherryholmes from: Huntsville, Texas
    November 19, 2013 3:39 PM
    Two announcements were made in my classroom over the public address system at my elementary school in Northeast Louisianna. The first "Three shots fired in Dallas at the President." And then an hour later. "The President is dead." It was surreal. The next three days were like no other time in my memory. We spoke in hushed tones. As children we knew not to misbehave. All three networks ceased all programing and there was a lot of dead air. No one was prepared for this tragedy. We were angry at LBJ because he was not handsome, he was not young, he spoke slowly and didn't seem to be smart. That was my impression as an 11 year old.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora