Nov. 22, 1963: President Kennedy assassinated

It’s been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was killed.

He was traveling through downtown Dallas in an open top limousine, waving and smiling to a crowd of about 250,000 when he was struck down by gunfire.

The Herald went to the presses that evening with this story:

“Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy was riding in the same car with her husband. She was not hurt. She cradled her husband’s head in her arms as he was sped, dying to the hospital…

Mrs. Kennedy, who had been a tremendous hit Thursday on the first day of the two-day visit, was seated just in front of her husband.

After the shot, her husband slumped over on the back seat and she screamed. The interior of the car was spattered with blood. Mrs. Kennedy took her husband’s head in her arms and bent over him…

There was pandemonium among the Secret Service men and police motorcycle escorts. The assassin’s bullets struck home so suddenly there was no chance for them to hurl themselves around the President.”

Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein wrote about her own experiences from that day in an October column:

Nearly 50 years after the Kennedy assassination, I see what happened on Nov. 22, 1963, as a far-reaching tragedy that shaped the outlook and future of my generation. If you are old enough to remember, you know what was lost. It was more than one leader. In some ways, it defined us.

Herald readers also shared memories of Nov. 22, 1963. One reader in college when she heard the news:

That historic day I noticed as I walked toward my second class that students were strangely silent, some listening intently to transistor radios. I entered the large lecture hall to my history class. The likeable young professor stumbled slightly as he reached to adjust his microphone. He lifted his head, looked directly at his large audience, and with tears streaming down his face said, “Go home. Our president is dead.”

Read more from the Nov. 22, 1963 edition of The Herald and others in our collection of historic front pages.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has digital collections containing the former president’s personal, presidential and other documents.

Find photos from the day the president was killed to his funeral in our gallery.

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