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JFK in Dallas on November 22, 1963 - Two Eyewitnesses


Ben Jones, Dallas, Texas

I was there.

I was a senior in high school in Dallas.  We were allowed to leave school (with parental permission) to go see the Motorcade downtown.  A group of us drove downtown and got a spot on Main just a bit back from Dealey Plaza.  We watched and cheered as the Presidential car and all the other vehicles passed and turned out of our view as they made the jog across Houston and down Elm toward the 'triple underpass'.

Suddenly we could see everyone running in the streets in that direction.  We thought that there had been a riot which naturally would look bad for Dallas.  After all there had been a lot of negative press in Dallas due to the conservative nature of Dallas and the fact that Kennedy was, gasp!, a Catholic.  We left the area quickly to head back to school.

Contrary to some reports that downtown Dallas was quickly cordoned off, we had no trouble getting to the car or driving out of downtown.  It was only as we neared school that we heard on the radio that Kennedy had been shot.  I was back at school sitting in typing class when it was announced that he was dead and school would be closed for the remainder of the day.

>>Add your own thoughts and remembrances on our blog "JFK Memories."

Paul P., Dallas, Texas

How often do Presidents visit your hometown?

How often do Presidents visit your hometown, you see the President and 1st Lady in person, [and] only minutes later the President is assassinated?

I was 15 years old, 65 now, but as all Dallas school students that day [I was] out of school in honor of the Presidential visit and to watch President Kennedy's motorcade procession. As a percentage of the total U.S. population today and with my age, the number of people still alive, [who were] there to see President Kennedy in person is miniscule.

Five minutes after the motorcade left Love Field Airport, the First Family and Texas State Governor  passed within feet of me and my TJ High School Basketball teammates. After its passing we went into the Dominguez Tex Mex Restaurant for lunch, which Eddie Dominguez was a teammate of mine. This Restaurant [is] an "Institution" as restaurants go and survives and operates today as I understand.

We left the Restaurant, turned on the car radio and got the News of the shooting. At this point President Kennedy is alive as far as we know and on the way to Parkland Hospital. Of course he didn't survive. We watched replay of CBS as Walter Cronkite describes the day's events and the President's Death.

As High School kids we wondered aloud to ourselves if Dallas would suffer the indignity and scorn of the whole Nation that this happened in our Hometown?

Years passed, I graduated from Arizona State University and had a 35 year career in Minneapolis doing Corporate Startups of Medical devices in  Urology, Gynecology and Gastroenterology. Dr. Peters from Dallas was a Urology friend of mine and I learned in the 1980s was one of the Residents in the Parkland Hospital  ER attending to Kennedy that day. Yet another related connection of mine to that day is that Arizona State University is the Home to one of the most Awarded Journalism Colleges the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

Just this week, with the Assassination anniversary approaching current ASU Journalism students were on the Today show with Matt Lauer, Al Roker and crew as the school emulates the NBC standards of Reporting excellence.

Obviously, November 22, 1963 sticks with me. Dr. Peters and Walter Cronkite are constant reminders to me of the horrible events surrounding November 22, 1963 in my Hometown of Dallas. Hopefully this never happens again!

Much more on JFK and the anniversary, including a remembrance by CBS journalist Bob Schieffer, and a slideshow of Kennedy family life starting in the late 1950s.

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