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April 29, 2012

“JOHNNY WE HARDLY KNEW YE”: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, The End of the Beginning IV

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report on Chapter 1 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.

The title of Chapter 1 is “The End of the Beginning”.

Kenneth O’Donnell continues to describe JFK’s trip to Texas.  He writes:

“The President peered out the window at the big crowd (at Dallas Love Field) & said…

‘This trip is turning out to be terrific.  Here we are in Dallas, & it looks like everything in Texas is going to be fine for us.'”

Ken O’Donnell goes on to say that the motorcade through the city was “the greatest” of the entire Texas trip.

Then he describes in detail what he & Dave Powers observed as they were riding in the secret service follow-up car directly behind the Presidential car.

“We heard shots, two close together & then a third one.  There must have been an interval of at least 5 seconds before the 3rd & last shot.”

Kenny continues…

“While we both stared at the President, the third shot took the side of his head off.

I said to Dave, ‘He’s dead.'”

When the motorcade reached Parkland hospital, Dave Powers rushed up to see JFK in Jackie’s arms & said:

‘Oh, my God, Mr. President, what did they do?”

Kenny says that then Dave saw that although JFK’s eyes were open, they were fixed in a vacant stare.  Then David Powers broke down.*

*I have mentioned before in this blog that during my visit with Mr. Powers at the JFK Library in 1986 I found it most difficult to discuss the assassination. 

Although I wanted to know what he saw & what he thought, I could not bring myself to bring the topic up except to tell him that I appreciated that the Library focused on JFK’s life instead of his death.  

With that simple statement, I could see in Dave’s eyes, it was something he didn’t want to talk about. 

In a documentary video, I remember Dave’s comment which said it all: 

“November 22, 1963 was the saddest day of my life.”

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