John F. Kennedy was shot this morning, November 22, 1963 in Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
I was in the 7th grade, sitting in math class, when the teacher came in, in tears. She had a transistor radio with her, and turned it on. We heard those words no American ever wants to hear, “The President has been shot.”
A couple of weeks ago, more data was released on that fateful day, and I’m sure the conspiracy theorists are combing it to prove their crackpot theories…
A number of years ago, I met a TV producer/director who was with NBC back in the day, and he told me a rather interesting story concerning the arrival back at Andrews of Air Force One. He had been told to get out to Andrews, and a camera crew would be sent ASAP.
He got out there to find it was just him and a cameraman from ABC, who had his gear set up, and nobody else. Then Air Force One landed…
Max said he and the cameraman huddled and decided what the hell, at least they would get some stock footage that could be shared later. So the cameraman followed the airplane in, focused on the door, and they saw Jackie come down the steps, still in the blood stained pink dress.
He told the cameraman to follow her, as the ambulance backed up to the cargo area, and captured the casket being removed from the airplane and placed in the ambulance. He then told to cameraman to follow the ambulance as it disappeared in the distance…
Now what, asked the cameraman, and Max told him to pan back to the door of the airplane. A couple of seconds later, Lyndon Johnson appeared in the door, the first time he’d been seen in public as the President. They followed him down the stairs, and when he was gone, they left.
It wasn’t till Max got back to the studio that he found out all the networks had been broadcasting the feed they had provided. He said he asked LBJ later (when he appeared on Meet the Press), why he stepped into the door of Air Force One when he did. He said he was stunned to hear LBJ say, “I figured that was my cue.”
All I could do was shake my head in wonder, and thank him for doing what he did. Those video clips are a part of the visual history of that day, and one my generation will never forget.