The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination

Trista - July 7, 2019

On November 22, 1963, the world was shocked by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. After hearing three gunshots, people in Dallas, Texas, saw Kennedy slumped in the backseat of his vehicle, which quickly accelerated to get to the nearest hospital. During his presidency, Kennedy had become known for his support of the Civil Rights protests around the United States. This action is one of the ways he made enemies, especially in a man named Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
JFK, J. Edgar Hoover, and Robert Kennedy in 1961. AP Photos / Henry Burroughs / Qconline.

20. Robert Kennedy Received A Cryptic Message From J. Edgar Hoover

At the moment John F. Kennedy was shot, his brother, Robert Kennedy was in a meeting with members of JFK’s administration at his home. During the meeting, the phone rang, so Kennedy’s wife answered the phone to hear FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on the other line. Robert Kennedy took the phone and heard Hoover state, “I have news for you. The President’s been shot.” Kennedy responded by asking Hoover how badly his brother was hurt. Hoover answered that he wasn’t sure but would call him with more details before hanging up.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
JFK assassination portrayed in the documentary “American Media and the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” Mary Evans / Ronald Grant Archive / Everett Collection / LA Times.

19. After She Heard The Shot, Jackie Tried To Flee The Vehicle

The truth of the matter is, no one is entirely sure if Jackie tried to leave the vehicle she and JFK were in or not. When the police questioned Jackie immediately after, she told them she couldn’t remember trying to crawl out of the vehicle by getting on top of the trunk but being pulled back in by Secret Service Agent Clint Hill. Hill has always believed that Jackie was trying to retrieve pieces of her husband’s skull, which had been shattered by the third shot.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Robert Kennedy and his wife follow Jackie Kennedy and her two children after viewing JFK at the state. Abbie Rowe / White House Photographs / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.

18. Jackie Tried To Get Her Husband To Talk To Her

Even though it ultimately would not matter, Secret Service acted quickly when they heard the gunshots and saw JFK shot. Hill had been behind the vehicle but jumped into the car, where he tried to shield the president from any more harm. Immediately after that, the driver sped off towards the hospital while Jackie held pieces of her husband’s skill and head in her hands. Later, Jackie told the detective that she continued to talk to her husband, telling him that she loved him and asking him if he could hear her.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Clint Hill with John and Jackie Kennedy earlier that day. Clint Hill Secret Service.

17. Clint Hill Believes He Could Have Saved JFK If Placed Differently

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill did his best to try to save JFK the best he could. For the parade, Hill was placed on the bumper of the follow-up car and immediately sprang to action when he heard the first shot. Unfortunately, two other bullets hit the president before Hill could reach him to try to protect him from any more harm. Because Hill was placed so far from JFK, he has always felt that if he were placed on the bumper of JFK’s car, he would have been able to save the president.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
John and Jackie Kennedy in 1961. Stan Tretick / United Press International / NY Times.

16. JFK Died Before Getting To The Hospital

Immediately after JFK got to the hospital, doctors and nurses sprang into action. They knew he was coming, they knew he suffered from bullet wounds, and the medical staff all wanted to do anything they could to save the president. As they were placing IV’s into JFK in the trauma room, they examined his skull and realized there was little hope. On top of this, an EKG showed no signs of heart activity. However, they refused to announce JFK’s death until a Catholic Priest had performed JFK’s last rites. He was officially pronounced dead 12 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
John F. Kennedy speaking to an audience. Getty / Independent.

15. Local Texas Officials Wanted To Conduct The Autopsy, But Secret Service Refused

While Jackie and the Secret Service were still in a state of shock over the assassination of JFK, they also had to act quickly and get JFK back to the White House. Jackie refused to leave the hospital or Dallas, Texas, without her husband and the Secret Service refused to leave without Jackie or the body of the president. However, a Texas Medical Examiner stopped Secret Service in the trauma room and told them it was state law they perform the autopsy. Secret Service refused, reportedly drawing their guns in order to get the medical examiner out of their way.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite announcing the assassination in 1963. CBS via Landov/ NPR.

14. The World Was In A State Of Shock And News Reporters Became Emotional

While most of the United States knew of the shooting before the announcement of his death came, rumors were running wild. Around 2 PM, most television stations switched to watch Walter Cronkite, who gave everyone updated reports on JFK’s assassination. It was around 2:38 PM when Cronkite received the message the JFK had passed away. As Cronkite delivered the news, he started to break down. He had become a friend to the president and highly respected him. This sadness was the same type of emotion which most of America felt as they heard the news.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Lyndon Johnson on the phone. UVA / Miller Center Organization.

13. Lyndon B. Johnson Became The New President As The World Heard JFK Was Dead

At the same time Walter Cronkite read the report that officially announced John F. Kennedy’s death, Lyndon B. Johnson was being sworn in as the new President of the United States. While the transition of presidents needed to get done quickly, it happened sooner than the Secret Service wished. Johnson also refused to take the oath of office unless Jackie Kennedy stood next to him, as this was a sign that JFK could have approved of the transition himself. So, at 2:38 PM, LBJ was sworn into office by Judge Sarah T. Hughes, a federal judge appointed by JFK earlier.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
The NFL game that was still played after JFK died. Joles Schick / NFL Photos / Si.

12. The NFL Played The Next Day And Received Negative Criticism

While most games scheduled on Saturday night or Sunday received cancellations after the news of JFK’s assassination, the NFL decided to continue playing as a way to honor the president. However, this would land them in hot water with many citizens. On top of this, it has given them the reputation of profiting over tragedies instead of acting civilly. As a legendary sportswriter, Red Smith stated, “In the civilized world, it was a day of mourning. In the National Football League, it was the 11th Sunday of the business year, a quarter-million-dollar day in Yankee Stadium.”

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
National Football League commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1963. Anthony Camerano / Associated Press / USA Today.

11. NFL Would Later Regret The Decision To Play On Kennedy Sunday

National Football Commissioner Pete Rozelle would state after his retirement that this was the biggest regret of his NFL career. While the games never saw airtime because CBS owned the rights to NFL and refused to play the games, Rozelle stated that he would continue to receive negative feedback, even after his retirement in 1989. However, Rozelle never took back his reasons as it was a way they honored the president. Instead, he stated that the reason they shouldn’t have played those games was because of all the controversy. Football was Kennedy’s favorite sport. Therefore it seemed fitting for Rozelle.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
The aerial view of the Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Corbis / Getty Images.

10. Lee Harvey Oswald Left His Assassination Post Within 90 Seconds After Shooting

It didn’t take long for the manhunt to get underway for Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated John F. Kennedy. However, as fast as local authorities in Texas tried to find Oswald, he seemed to be faster. Less than 90 seconds after shooting three bullets towards the president, Oswald fled his post and hid the gun. At the time, no one knew Oswald was the shooter, so as he passed security and the local police, he was not under investigation, so they all let him go. He then got on the city bus and continued his plan of escape.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Lee Harvey Oswald speaks to the media. AP / USA Today.

9. After JFK’s Assassination, Oswald Also Shot A Police Officer

After getting a taxi to his boarding house, Oswald stopped in the room he was staying in, grabbed a pistol, and then casually left. The attendant of the boarding house had no idea he had a gun or had just killed the president. Around 1 PM, Oswald started walking around outside and ran into Officer Tippit. By this time, Oswald was a wanted man, but no one knows if Tippit connected Oswald to the description of the shooter. However, Tippit talked to Oswald through the police car’s window and then started exiting his vehicle, which is when Oswald shot Tippit.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Lee Harvey Oswald mugshot, taken on November 23, 1963. Hulton Archive / Getty Images / Time.

8. Officials Arrested Oswald In A Movie Theater

After shooting Tippit four times, Oswald ran from the approaching police sirens. However, a shoe store employee, Johnny Brewer, followed Oswald. Upon entering a movie theater, Oswald snuck into a movie. Brewer told one of the employees to call the cops. When the police arrived, they started searching the theater and found Oswald, who tried to punch the officer as he reached for his gun. The officer was able to grab Oswald’s pistol and proceeded to arrest him. Upon entering the street, a crowd gathered, yelling threats at Oswald as they knew he not only killed Tippit but possibly JFK.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Jack Ruby shoots Oswald in the Dallas police headquarters. Bob Jackson, HO / AP / Houston Chronicle.

7. Jack Ruby Shot Lee Harvey Oswald

Everyone knew that Oswald was not safe in the jail he was placed. In fact, the following day, on November 24th, officials were working on transporting Oswald to a safer prison. However, while he was walking in the basement, strip club owner Jack Ruby took out his pistol and shot Oswald right on live television. Of course, this only created more chaos and violence surrounding JFK’s assassination, which many felt was just as troubling as JFK was a nonviolent man. After the shooting, Oswald went to the hospital where he died on the operating table.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
A mugshot of Jack Ruby, who killed JFK’s murderer, Harvey Lee Oswald. Tablet Mag.

6. Jack Ruby Might Have Felt He Would Be Considered A Hero

It is no secret that most of America wanted to see Lee Harvey Oswald dead. He had killed JFK and a police officer in one day. Because of this, many people believe that Jack Ruby decided to kill Oswald because he would be considered a hero. Furthermore, all evidence supports the fact that Ruby did not go there planning to kill Oswald. Not only did he wire money to someone but he also had his dog with him. People believe Ruby found an opportunity and decided to take it, later considering himself a hero.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Jackie was placing flowers on John’s grave. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum / Daily Mail.

5. Oswald And JFK Received Burials On The Same Day

While Lee Harvey Oswald died the day after he assassinated JFK, the two would receive burials on the same day. As the world watched the funeral of JFK and paid their last respects to the former president, a smaller crowd gathered to bury Oswald at Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas. The only people in attendance for Oswald’s funeral were his immediate family members. However, there were not enough family members to carry Oswald’s casket. Therefore, the members of the news media decided to act as pallbearers, even though they didn’t want to.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
JFK’s casket in State Capital. History Army.

4. As JFK Laid In State, People Gathered To Pay Their Respect Which Created A Line Miles Long

Officials took John F. Kennedy to the United States Capitol Building on November 24th so that he could lay in state. This notion allows members of the public to come and pay their respects to the fallen president. People quickly started to gather, but only so many people could be allowed into the building at one time. Altogether, it’s estimated that nearly 1 million people came to pay their respects. For about 24 hours, the line to enter the capital building reached 2 miles long. Unfortunately, not everyone was allowed inside to pay their respects.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Arlington National Cemetery. Robert Alexander / Getty Images / TIME.

3. They Buried JFK At Arlington National Cemetery

After JFK’s mass funeral on November 25th, they brought his body to the Arlington National Cemetery for burial. This procession included leaders from 99 nations, with many arriving after the parade started due to the number of people. The choice to bury JFK at Arlington was made by his wife, who stated upon her tour of the cemetery, “He belongs to the people.” Jackie felt this was a better place for her husband as more people would be able to pay their respects to him there than in his hometown’s Catholic cemetery in Maryland.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting father’s casket. AP / Columbian.

2. One Of The Most Popular Pictures Surrounding JFK’s Assassination Is His Son Saluting His Coffin

Many pictures are part of JFK’s assassination. However, one of the most famous images is when his three-year-old son, John F. Kennedy Jr. saluted his father’s casket. Not only was this little John’s third birthday, but that would be the last time little John and his sister saw their dad’s coffin as they were too young to attend the burial that same day, November 25th. Today, this picture is not only thought to be one of the most popular photographs of that historical time but of the 20th century.

The Aftermath of the JFK Assassination
Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in on November 22, 1963 with Jackie Kennedy to his left and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, to his left. Cecil Stoughton / White House Photographs / AFP / Getty Images.

1. Jackie Kennedy Arrived In Washington D.C. Still Wearing Blood Splattered Clothing

While everything moved rather fast as Jackie Kennedy remained in a state of shock over her husband’s assassination, she received the option to change her clothing on the Air Force One airplane. However, Jackie refused, stating, “Oh, no, I want them to see what they have done to Jack.” Jackie knew that they would photograph her upon landing. On top of this, she stood next to President Johnson as he gave a quick speech to those who were watching on television. As she stood, everyone could still see JFK’s blood on the front of Jackie’s skirt.


Where did we find this information? Here are our sources:

“JFK 50 Years Later: The NFL’s Darkest Weekend” Tim Layden. Si. November, 2013.

“What Happened Immediately After JFK Was Assassinated?” Phil Gibbons, Ranker.

“John F. Kennedy Assassination Fast Facts.” CNN. December 2018.

“Fact file: 10 unusual facts about JFK’s assassination.” ABC Net News. July 2014.

The New York Times – A Secret Service Agent Remembers: ‘I Wish I Had Been Quicker’

Medium – Did The Secret Service Fail in JFK’s Assassination?

The Dallas Morning News – Would A Bubbletop Have Saved Kennedy? More Answers From The Strange Story Of JFK’s Lincoln Limo

NZ Herald – Was Wife Hired By CIA To Kill John F Kennedy?

Business Insider – This Timeline Shows Exactly How The Day Of JFK’s Assassination Unfolded

Quartz – JFK’s Final Hour, In The Words Of His Widow And Other Eyewitnesses

USA Today – Doctor Who Treated Kennedy Relives Final Moments

US News – How John F. Kennedy’s Assassination Changed Television Forever

Irish Central – Lyndon B. Johnson Demanded To Be Sworn In Alongside Jackie Kennedy

Time Magazine – The Story Behind the Photo of LBJ Being Sworn In as President After JFK Died

USA Today – How The NFL Played On After Kennedy’s Assassination

The Zoomer – JFK’s Passion For Sports

Belcher Report – How JFK’s Death Made America Fall in Love with Football

History Collection – 6 Reasons why Lee Harvey Oswald was NOT JFK’s Killer

Mental Floss – The Highly Unusual Funeral of Lee Harvey Oswald

Business Insider – How Jackie Kennedy Orchestrated The Perfect Funeral