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JFK: Facts and How His Death Impacted a Nation


JFK, the commonly known nickname for President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963, which is a day that has continued to resonant in American history as the 51st anniversary of the slaying of one of the nation’s most beloved leaders is recognized. The day is acknowledged not only for the tragic loss of a great president, but also for the impact it had on the country as a whole. Here are some facts surrounding JFK’s slaying and how his death subsequently impacted a nation.

In many ways, the Kennedy assassination changed news coverage and television, which was still an emerging media in its infancy at the time. Before September 1963, network news broadcasts had only 15 minutes of airtime, and they had just changed over to thirty minute broadcasts. When CBS famously interrupted soap opera staple As the World Turns to broadcast the news of JFK’s assassination, there was not a live anchor, but instead, they ran the announcement over a news placard. However, over the next four days, the major networks suspended all programming as they covered the Kennedy assassination and other related events, including the subsequent assassination of JFK’s killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, in Dallas, TX by Jack Ruby on Nov. 24, 1963.

The Kennedy assassination and the events that followed changed the way Americans consumed their news. The public turned to radio and television for news updates, as opposed to waiting for their newspapers. Moreover, the event ushered news into a new era and the lengthy suspended programming would not be seen again until the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, which served as the next national event that truly altered the face of the news.

Other little-known facts surrounding JFK’s death lie in the location where he was pronounced dead. After being shot, Kennedy was rushed to nearby Parkland Hospital, the events of which were recently recounted in a 2013 film, Parkland, which starred Zac Efron (High School Musical) and Paul Giamatti (Sideways). On November 24, Lee Harvey Oswald was shot two days after JFK’s assassination while being transferred from the Dallas Police Department to another holding facility by nightclub operator Jack Ruby. Kennedy’s assassin was also subsequently taken to Parkland Hospital, where he eventually died from his wounds. Several years later, Oswald assassin Ruby became ill and died of a pulmonary embolism at Parkland Hospital as a result of lung cancer.

Additional facts surrounding JFK’s slaying and how his death impacted a nation is that Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), who served as Kennedy’s vice-president and subsequently became the country’s 36th president following JFK’s death, is America’s only president to date that was sworn in by a woman. Moreover, Johnson was also the only president to be sworn in outside of Washington, D.C. In the aftermath of Kennedy’s death, LBJ needed to be sworn in quickly, so they approached Sarah T. Hughes, a federal judge, to administer the presidential oath. LBJ was issued the oath of office while aboard Air Force One in Dallas, TX while onlookers, including Jackie Kennedy, watched President Johnson take his oath and assume control of the nation from the recently deceased Kennedy.

While there have been many theories posited regarding JFK’s death, the forces behind his assassination, and Oswald’s motives for his actions, the true circumstances surrounding Kennedy’s death remain murky and unresolved. Moreover, the subsequent actions of Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby, also are mired in uncertainty and supposed conspiracy. In March 1964, Ruby was convicted of murder with malice in the death of Oswald. In 1965, Ruby conducted a brief televised news conference, in which he hinted that his actions were influenced by powerful forces. Additionally, Ruby was known to be acquainted with both the police as well as linked to the mafia. However, despite all the efforts made by various government and civilian agencies over the five decades that have elapsed since JFK’s assassination, there are still numerous questions that remain unanswered. Thus, Kennedy’s assassination is one of the nation’s greatest unsolved crimes and remains mired in conspiracy.

When JFK was assassinated in Dallas, TX on Nov. 22, 1963, the day not only signaled the tragic loss of a great leader, but it also set off a chain of events that rippled through the fabric of American society and impacted the country as a whole. It is a day that continues to resonant in American history as the 51st anniversary of one of the nation’s most beloved leaders is recognized. The day is acknowledged not only for the loss of one of the United States’ most revered and beloved presidents, but it also ended the Camelot Era under Kennedy, which was a cultural phenomenon that had not been experienced before or since JFK’s death. The impact it had on the country was profound and the ramifications still linger in present day America. Every year as the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination is recognized, the facts surrounding JFK’s slaying and how his death subsequently impacted a nation are recalled, felt, and acknowledged.

By Leigh Haugh

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