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60 Facts About the JFK Assassination

Details you may not know surrounding the death of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy


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Sitting in a rocking chair helped relieve JFK's chronic back pain.
Corbis via Getty Images

It has been 60 years since Nov. 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald as he was riding in an open-topped car with the first lady at his side in Dallas.

Here are 60 facts you may not have known about that day, what preceded it and what came after.

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1. On Nov. 11, 1963, President Kennedy laid a Veterans Day wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

2. He would be buried at the cemetery exactly two weeks later.

3. Jacqueline Kennedy rarely traveled with her husband on political trips but decided to fly with him to Texas on Nov. 21.

4. On Nov. 22, the couple attended a breakfast in Fort Worth.

5. The presidential open-top limousine had been flown in from D.C.

6. The morning of the assassination, the president’s mother, Rose Kennedy, played golf in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, alongside her neighbor, baseball player Jimmy Piersall.

7. The last time JFK saw his father was in October in Hyannis Port. After saying goodbye, JFK said to his friend Dave Powers about his dad, who was wheelchair-bound after a stroke, “He’s the one who made all this possible, and look at him now.”

8. A 14-year-old boy in Dallas reported watching JFK’s face go blank around 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 22.

9. The boy also said he heard Jacqueline Kennedy shout, “God, oh God, no.”

10. Texas Governor John Connally Jr. received multiple gunshot wounds.

11. In 2023, Secret Service agent Paul Landis said in a memoir that he found a bullet in the limousine, lodged in the back of the seat where JFK sat. He said he then put the bullet on the stretcher.

12. JFK’s brother Bobby Kennedy called the family to tell them what happened to JFK. He told his mother, Rose, that JFK’s condition was serious and that he wasn’t expected to live.

13. Rose Kennedy wrote, “I had a mixture of reactions. Worry about Jack, of course, instinctively. But then a rejection of the idea that it could be something terribly serious because, after all, he had been through so much.”

spinner image Rose Kennedy sits with her son, then-senator John F Kennedy
Rose Kennedy sits with her son, John F. Kennedy, on the day he officially accepted the Democratic presidential nomination.
Bettmann/Getty Images

14. Ted Kennedy was presiding over the Senate when JFK was shot. The senator tried to call his family after hearing the news but phone lines were jammed. He finally went to the White House to get a secure line.

15. A priest administered last rites to the first Roman Catholic U.S. president.

16. Ted and his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver flew to Hyannis Port after the shooting to tell their father JFK was dead.

17. Hyannis Port mourned JFK by flying flags at half-mast, hanging black crepe around the Barnstable Town Office Building and hanging portraits of JFK in windows on Main Street.

18. This was the fourth presidential assassination in a nation that was less than 200 years old.

19. It was the first since the Secret Service began protecting presidents.

20. The service scuffled with Dallas police for control of the president’s casket.

21. Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office aboard Air Force One.

22. He became president 99 minutes after Kennedy’s death.

23. Kennedy’s body was also aboard for the return flight to Washington.

24. Judge Sarah Hughes wept as she administered the oath of office.

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25. Jackie Kennedy refused to take off her pink Chanel suit, stained with her husband’s blood. She told Lady Bird Johnson, “I want them to see what they have done to Jack.”

26. Jackie did, however, remove her wedding ring and put it on her husband’s finger to be buried with him.

27. Later, she had an aide retrieve it.

28. Jackie’s suit has never been cleaned and lies in the National Archives.

29. It will not be seen in public until at least 2103, according to Kennedy family wishes.

30. Attorney General and presidential brother Robert F. Kennedy met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base upon its return.

spinner image The casket of John F Kennedy is lowered from Air Force One into a waiting hearse
President John F. Kennedy's remains arrive in Washington, D.C., with Jacqueline and Robert Kennedy following the casket.
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

31. The Texas School Book Depository’s sixth floor, where assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had positioned himself for the shooting, is today a museum dedicated to JFK’s assassination.

32. Oswald was a self-described Marxist.

33. He defected to the Soviet Union in 1959.

34. At the time, assassination of a president was not a federal offense; Oswald would have been tried in Texas.

35. The murder weapon was a 6.5 mm Italian carbine rifle that Oswald had bought for $19.95.

36. Dallas businessman Abraham Zapruder caught the assassination on his 8 mm home movie camera.

37. His secretary had urged him to go home and get it for the presidential parade.

38. Zapruder’s film was later bought by Life magazine for $150,000.

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

40. A police detective at the shooting called out, “Jack, you son of a bitch!”

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41. When wrestled to the ground by police, Ruby cried out, “I’m Jack Ruby, you all know me!”

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

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

44. 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.

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

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

47. Jackie Kennedy modeled her husband’s funeral ceremonies after Abraham Lincoln’s.

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

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

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

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

52. The funeral day, Nov. 25, was also John Jr.’s third birthday.

53. Caroline would turn 6 two days later.

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

spinner image A funeral procession moves through washington, d c toward the lincoln memorial
John F. Kennedy's funeral procession slowly moves over the Memorial Bridge with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. Leaders from across the world attended the funeral.
Associated Press

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

56. 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.

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

58. JFK had planned to go to Hyannis Port for Thanksgiving that year. The family still hosted the holiday at the Big House, where JFK spent his summers growing up, including playing their traditional game of touch football after dinner.

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

60. A week after her husband’s death, Jackie invited journalist Theodore H. White to their home in Hyannis Port, where she gave her first interview about the assassination. She quoted her husband's favorite musical during that interview, “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.”

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