While we like to think we know our presidential history pretty well, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is certainly a topic that has long been shrouded in doubt.
Almost immediately after the news broke, JFK’s assassination became the subject of fascination for its simultaneous tragic nature and the conspiracy theories. Even decades later, some people believe many of the facts about that event have been withheld.
The crime may still be shrouded in mystery, but these 23 facts about the JFK assassination will help clear some of the smoke…
1. JFK’s back brace might’ve prevented him from surviving the assassination: Since the former president had a bad back, he was required to wear a back brace. When he was struck by the first bullet, the brace might have made it difficult for him to move. Moments later, he was struck by the second bullet to his head.
2. JFK made a James Bond-esque movie depicting his assassination prior to his death: In fact, the movie was filmed just one month before he was fatally shot. In it, Jackie Kennedy played a grieving widow, and a number of frantic secret service agents were played by real-life agents.
3. He previously survived a totally different assassination attempt: Just two months before he was inaugurated, a 73-year-old man named Richard Pavlick planned to crash a car lined with dynamite into the soon-to-be president, who was vacationing in Palm Beach, Florida. When he saw JFK with his wife and child, he opted out at the last minute.
4. There are strange similarities between JFK and Lincoln’s assassinations: First, both men were shot in the head by Southern assassins on a Friday. Second, both were succeeded by Southerners. Lincoln also made it into Congress in 1846 and became POTUS in 1860. JFK did the same exactly one century later—in 1946 and 1960, respectively.
5. JFK’s assassination led to the first woman to ever swear in a United States president: Following the death of President Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office by Sarah T. Hughes, a Texas federal judge.
6. This wasn’t Lee Harvey Oswald’s first political assassination attempt: Just six months before shooting JFK, Oswald had tried to kill Edwin Walker, a retired Army general and far-right activist who’d been discharged from the military by JFK’s administration.
7. JFK’s assassination greatly affected the United States population: A beloved president during his time, Kennedy’s death reportedly led as many as 90 million people to cry, according to a poll taken after the assassination.
8. Jackie Kennedy wouldn’t change out of her pink, blood-soaked outfit after her husband was shot: The First Lady continued to wear the suit even while Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office. When asked if she’d like to change, she famously responded, “No, I’m going to leave these clothes on. I want them to see what they have done.”
9. Jack Ruby was up to no good the day before he shot Lee Harvey Oswald: Just 24 hours before killing Oswald, Ruby reportedly stole a chicken dinner from a TV crew’s truck parked in front of the Dallas Police Department.
10. When Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald following the Kennedy assassination, it was the first crime of its kind: When Ruby shot Oswald on November 24, 1963, it was the first-ever homicide to ever be caught live on television.
11. Richard Nixon was in town during the assassination on unrelated business: Working as a lawyer at the time, the future President of the United States was actually attending a convention for Pepsi Cola products.
12. An incredible amount of people came to pay their respects to the President: In addition to the government employees who were there when he was laid to rest at Capitol rotunda, 250,000 members of the public came to do the same.
13. Lead Oswald interrogator, Police Captain Will Fritz, worked on another infamous case: In 1934, 30 years before he attempted to solve the assassination of JFK, Fritz worked on the squad that was after Bonnie and Clyde.
14. JFK’s own grandmother never learned of his assassination: This was because, at the time of the event, she was 98 years old, and his family feared she wouldn’t be able to handle the news. She passed away just 10 months later without ever learning of his death, making him the first POTUS to ever be outlived by one of their grandparents.
15. The window of the building through which JFK was shot reportedly sold for $3 million: That’s right—even though no one could prove it was actually the actual window, it sold for that hefty price.
16. At the time of the JFK assassination, such a crime wasn’t a federal offense: Believe it or not, when President Kennedy was killed in 1963, it wasn’t a federal crime. Instead, it was prosecuted under the state’s law. This didn’t change until two years later in 1965.
17. Lee Harvey Oswald was initially arrested for a crime unrelated to JFK’s assassination: In fact, Oswald was first arrested for the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippitt. The officer reportedly pulled up beside him just 45 minutes after JFK was killed, and he was subsequently killed himself.
18. The eternal flame in JFK’s honor was made just one day before his funeral: At the request of Jackie Kennedy, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed the famous memorial, which lies in Arlington National Cemetery, in just one day.
19. The vehicle in which the president was assassinated was in use long after the incident: The 1961 Lincoln Continental—which was given the code name X-100—was subsequently cleaned and brought back for use. It continued to transport future presidents until 1977, when it was officially retired.
20. The major television networks all suspended further programming for four consecutive days following JFK’s assassination: NBC, ABC, and CBS all did this so they could focus their efforts on the assassination coverage.
21. One witness claims to have heard Jackie Kennedy scream a shocked sentence after her husband was fatally shot in Dallas: The witness, an unidentified 14-year-old boy, claimed to have heard the First Lady scream, “Oh, God! No, no, no!”
22. Following the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippitt, Oswald was arrested in a nearby movie theater: When police raided the Texas Theatre after the aforementioned murder, Oswald was said to have been watching the movie War Is Hell!
23. President Kennedy had been given his last rites on numerous occasions prior to his assassination: As a man of devout Catholic faith, JFK was given his last rites four separate times due to his various bouts with other life-threatening sicknesses.
JFK’s assassination has always been shrouded in mystery, but who knew just how much? There’s no end to the mysteries surrounding that fateful day.
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