Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Release! The day JFK was shot, taped conversion from Air Force One

Tapes of the conversations that took place on Air Force One immediately after President Kennedy was assassinated give some insight into the confusion and sad realizations of that day.

A call to Mr Kennedy's mother was made by President Lyndon Johnson on board Air Force One just minutes after he was sworn in, and he and his wife Lady Bird tried to console the Kennedy matriarch who was on the ground.

'I wish to God there was something that I could do and I wanted to tell you that we were grieving with you,' Mr Johnson is recorded saying to Rose Kennedy.

Moments before: President Kennedy, seen sitting in the back seat with his wife Jackie, died from a shot in the head

'Thanks a mill- thank you very much, thank you very much. I know, I know you loved Jack, and he loved you,' she responded.

All calls made on presidential plane are put through by a White House switchboard operator, which has a system in place to automatically tape the calls.

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Mrs Johnson is also recorded on the tapes, which captured the activity on the flight from Dallas, Texas to Washington on November 22, 1963, though part of her comments are cut off by an interjection by Mrs Kennedy.

'Mrs Kennedy, we feel like we just had-' Mrs Johnson said.

'Yes, alright,' Mrs Kennedy interjected.

'We are glad that the nation had your son as long as it did,' Mrs Johnson continued.

Making the call: The newly-sworn-in President Johnson called JFK's mother Rose Kennedy (shown right later in life) to give his condolences while on the plane

While the conversation was brief, the plane ride was a busy one as President Johnson was sworn in just minutes before the flight took off.

In the air, he was preparing the speech he was going to give once the plane landed just over two hours later.

Conspiracy theorists have been known to obsess over every detail surrounding the assassination of Mr Kennedy, and are likely going to find fault with the fact that the 42 minutes of tape are only just being released now.

The tapes were found after the death of Mr Kennedy's top military aide Army General Chester 'Ted' Clifton Jr., when his family found the recordings.

They sold his copy to a historical documents dealer, who then gave a copy to the National Archives.

Also included in the tapes is the frantic call of a military aide trying to look for his superior, General Curtis LeMay, who was often at odds with Mr Kennedy.

Recently released tapes reveal the phone calls made on Air Force One as it flew from Dallas to Washington after President Kennedy was shot and killed

The tapes confirm that, like Secretary of State Dean Rusk and several other cabinet members, were all on flights at the time.

The tapes of the calls from Air Force One come shortly after the Kennedy Library released some of the recordings from Mr Kennedy's last days in office.

While speaking to an aide three days before his death, then-President Kennedy unknowingly refers to the day which would end up being his funeral as 'a tough day'.

The conversation arises while his aides are attempting to sort out his schedule, which was expected to be very busy when he returned from his Dallas trip.

One of the meetings they were trying to schedule was with General Nasution of Indonesia.

'I will see him, when is here here? Monday?,' Mr Kennedy says.

A staffer responds: 'Monday and Tuesday.'

'Well that's a tough day,' the President remarks.

'It's a hell of a day Mr President. He'll be coming back here though, I understand on Friday because I offered to entertain at dinner.'

The tapes also revealed his thoughts on the nearing 1964 election, a tender moment with his children, and conflicting reports about the ongoing operation in Vietnam.


November 22, 1963
12.29pm Central Standard Time: The presidential motorcade turns onto Dealey Plaza in Dallas. The open-top limousine has a driver and security guard in the front row, Texas governor John Connally and wife Nellie Connally in the middle row, and President John F Kennedy and wife Jaqueline in the back row.

12.30pm: Witnesses testified that three shots were fired. The famous video recording of the event filmed by onlooker Abraham Zapruder shows that first Kennedy clutches his chest and seems to gasp before another shot hits his head. Governor Connally is also hit.
Mrs Kennedy immediately begins climbing towards the back of the vehicle, apparently in an effort to grab part of the President's skull which flew back after he was shot. The Connallys reported that Mrs Kennedy said 'I've got his brains in my hand!'

12.33pm: Shooter Lee Harvey Oswald exits the Texas School Book Depository, where he fired the shots from a sixth floor window.

12.38pm: The presidential limo arrives at Parkland Hospital.

1pm: President Kennedy is pronounced dead. A Catholic priest had been found and he performed his last rites. Doctors said that while they tried extremely hard to save his life, the wounds were too great by the time he arrived in the hospital. 'We never had any hope of saving his life,' said Dr. Malcolm Perry.

1.15pm: Oswald shoots and kills police officer J.D. Tippit while he is on the run.

1.33pm: White House press secretary Malcolm Kilduff entered the area of the hospital where the press had gathered and made a brief statement confirming the President's death, as caused by a gunshot wound to the brain.

1.50pm: Oswald is arrested inside the Texas Theater movie house where he went in an effort to evade capture.

2.00pm: President Kennedy's body was brought to Air Force One.

2.38pm: Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as the country's 36th president on board Air Force One, standing next to Mrs Kennedy who continued to wear the blood-stained pink skirt suit that she had on earlier.

3.01pm: FBI director J. Edgar Hoover writes a memo saying that the President's killer had been captured.

6pm Eastern Standard Time: The plane arrives at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington. President Kennedy's casket and Mrs Kennedy leave first before President Johnson makes a brief statement on the tarmac. 'This is a sad time for all people....I will do my best; that is all I can do. I ask for your help and God's,' he said.

7.05pm CST: Oswald is charged with the murder of Officer Tippit.

11.26pm: Oswald is charged with the murder of President Kennedy.

Two days later, November 24, 1963
11:21am: Television cameras catch nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoot Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police headquarters.


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