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AARP Bulletin

50 Facts About the JFK Assassination

Details you may not know surrounding the death of our 35th president

31. Oswald's murder by Jack Ruby on Nov. 24 was the first homicide caught on live television.

32. A police detective at the shooting called out, "Jack, you son of a bitch!"

33. When wrestled to the ground by police, Ruby cried out, "I'm Jack Ruby, you all know me!"

34. Oswald died at the same hospital as Kennedy, two days and seven minutes after the president.

35. The New York Times reported that JFK's 98-year-old grandmother, Mary Josephine Fitzgerald, was not told of the assassination.

36. In Washington, dignitaries from more than 100 countries arrived for Kennedy's funeral. At the time, it was the largest gathering of its kind on U.S. soil.

37. An unexpected 250,000 people paid their respects to the former president as he lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

38. Tens of thousands were turned away, some having waited throughout a near-freezing night in a line that stretched for more than 2 miles.

39. Jackie Kennedy modeled her husband's funeral ceremonies after Abraham Lincoln's.

40. With help from Bobby Kennedy and Robert McNamara, Jackie chose the burial site at Arlington National Cemetery.

41. Jackie requested an eternal flame be put by the grave.

42. Although she would remarry, today she is buried next to the president.

43. Two of the Kennedys' children, an infant son and daughter, are also buried with their parents.

44. The funeral day, Nov. 25, was also John Jr.'s third birthday.

45. Caroline would turn 6 two days later.

46. A taxi driver reported that the funeral crowds were oddly quiet: "… you could hear a pin drop."

47. An Irish military guard paid its respects graveside, following commands shouted in Gaelic.

48. After the funeral, Jackie Kennedy met privately with three heads of state: Charles de Gaulle of France, Eamon de Valera of Ireland and Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

49. Near midnight that night, she and Bobby Kennedy paid an unplanned visit to Kennedy's grave.

50. The first two letters that Lyndon Johnson wrote as president were to Caroline and John Jr.

Go to aarp.org/JFK to share your memories or learn more about these events 50 years ago.

Betsy Towner is a freelance writer.

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