The assassination of President John F. Kennedy - A historically-accurate reenactment

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy - A historically-accurate reenactment

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. To remember this day, presents a historically-accurate live blog featuring a moment-by-moment timeline of that tragic November day in 1963 - as we would have reported it today.

A team of digital producers spent the last several weeks gathering photos, videos, and multimedia from a number of sources - including the JFK Library in Boston - so that we could offer you an insightful experience into the assassination, and how it might be covered using today's technology.

We offer this timeline as a way to remember history and a respected president who called Massachusetts his home.   - Ronald Agrella, editor
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:02:49 PM

    Mrs. Eunice Shriver and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, sister and brother of the slain President, have arrived at Andrews Air Force Base for a flight to Hyannis Port to be with their father, Joseph P. Kennedy.

    (Credit: William Allen/Associated Press)

  • Teresa Hanafin 11/22/2013 10:03:54 PM
    Editor's note:

    A reader remembers: I was 8 years old and in the 3rd grade at Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica, Queens, NY, when near the end of music class (about 3 p.m.), a nun burst into the room and ordered all of us onto our knees. She was crying and said the President had been shot, we must pray for him. We were released from school shortly afterwards.

    As I walked home to 179th Street, I realized all the adults on the street were crying. This frightened me! I ran the rest of the way home, across Hillside Avenue, but my mom wasn't there when I got home. (In those days, moms were always home after school.)

    She was pregnant with her 7th child, John Kevin, who would be born several months later. I found her next door with our Jewish neighbor, Shirley. They were holding each other, crying, eyes on an old black-and-white TV. The President was dead.

    I may have just been a kid from Queens, but my dad was an Irish Catholic from Boston, and I felt a great attachment to the dead President.

    The next few days were gray and cold. There were no cartoons on that old TV that weekend, just sad music and pictures of even sadder people. I remember being confused at the little boy saluting, and the black hat with a veil that hung over the face of the President's wife. Why was the horse walking alone in a parade?

    To this day, 50 years later, my prevailing memories are of confusion, the world in shades of gray, and bone-chilling cold.

    -- Submitted by Colleen Little, Queens, NY
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:03:57 PM
    More from the evening edition of the Globe: Stock Market Falls, Closes -- Heavy selling came into the market after announcement of the tragedy in Dallas.
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:05:36 PM
    From the Globe: News Stops City, Nation —Workers Weep Openly President Kennedy has been shot!

    These were the words which stopped a city, a state, and the nation.
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:05:51 PM
    More from the Globe:

    News that the President had been shot virtually paralysed all telephone communication in the Boston area.
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:06:20 PM
    Thousands of workers — many openly weeping — milled in confusion through office corridors.

    In many offices, small radio sets were put into operations and clusters of people jammed together.
  • Teresa Hanafin 11/22/2013 10:09:19 PM
    Editor's note:

    A reader remembers: I was 12 years old, in rural upstate NY. Our last class let out at 2:15, and rumors about the president were flying as we walked to the school buses. My bus driver had the radio on, and as I went by him he said something about the president probably having been only scratched, but that didn't calm us down.

    When I got to my stop, I ran home the several blocks to my house and found my mother taking down a load of clothes that had been hanging in the back yard to dry. I told her that there were rumors that the president had been shot, and we went in together to turn on the TV, and learned about it from Walter Cronkite.

    My main memory of the next few days is watching television, on and on, eating meals in the living room, and being buffeted again and again with horrible news. The blood on Jackie's clothes was horrifying. I saw Oswald killed by Ruby live, as it happened.

    We sat like zombies trying to deal with it, hour after hour, day after day, yet suspended in time. I'd never seen news anchors show private strong emotions on air, but they kept breaking down, which would set all of us off again.

    In a way I wish my parents had kept the TV off, as it definitely made everything more upsetting, but on the other hand it was an experience that bonded us all together, the whole country and beyond.

    -- Submitted by Anne Hunter, Ravena, NY
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:10:33 PM
    In a proclamation, Gov. Peabody urges education officials to cancel classes on Monday in tribute to President Kennedy.
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:10:48 PM
    The governor also orders that flags be flown at half-staff on all public buildings for the next 30 days.
  • Teresa Hanafin 11/22/2013 10:11:46 PM
    Editor's note:

    A reader remembers: I was in 6th grade and it was at the end of the day when there was a knock at the door. My older brother and a friend said something to the nun and she clutched her chest and inhaled quickly as if being punched by an invisible giant.

    When her color returned she said, "Class, please stand and say a prayer for the President. He has just been assassinated."

    I remember everything seemed in black and white - not just on television, but all around. Everyone was crying and three words were added to my vocabulary: catafalque, caisson, and rotunda.

    -- Submitted by Joan Quigley, Malden
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:13:13 PM
    More reaction from local officials: Julius A. Stratton, the president of MIT, has made the following statement: "This cruel and irrational act has taken from us a truly great President at the height of his power."
  • Teresa Hanafin 11/22/2013 10:14:08 PM
    Editor's note:

    A reader remembers: Like so many others my age (61 now), I was in 6th grade at school when we were dismissed early. We were not told why, just all sent home. Once home, my mother told us what happened, and thus began days of mourning with the family while watching TV.

    My most vivid memory: I kept holding my 3-month-old brother over the next several days and made sure I didn't cry when I held him. I don't know why I thought so, but I was sure that it would be bad for him to be held by sad, crying people.

    And through all this pain, I remember also being grateful to HAVE my little brother, because the Kennedy's baby Patrick had been born the day after my brother was born and died within a couple of days.

    The birth of my brother, the death of the Kennedy baby, and then the assassination of the President was my first realization of how precious, fleeting, and fickle life could be.

    -- Submitted by Ellis O'Donnell, Mendon
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:15:10 PM
    Governor Peabody is at memorial services at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston.
  • Teresa Hanafin 11/22/2013 10:15:22 PM
    Editor's note:

    A reader remembers: I had not been born yet in 1963, but my late mother was a junior at Fitton High School in East Boston and told me this story many times. I would like to tell her story on her behalf.

    She got on a train home from school and noticed everyone on the train shaken and many in tears. She asked why everyone was so upset and a man told her the President had been shot and killed in Dallas.

    She told me she sat there along with her classmates in stunned silence, as most of the girls were Irish-Americans who greatly admired JFK. They were also very concerned for Jackie as she was a role model to many teen girls of that era.

    By the time she got off the train at Orient Heights, the whole neighborhood was shutting down. Business owners were closing up shops, bars, and restaurants. Everyone she passed was quiet; walking with a sad bewilderment in their eyes.

    - Submitted by Joseph DiBarri, Boston
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 10:15:27 PM

    Governor Endicott Peabody (center), his wife Barbara, and his father, the Right Reverend Malcom Peabody, take part in services at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston.

    (Credit: Dick Fallon/Globe Staff)

  • Teresa Hanafin 11/22/2013 10:17:11 PM
    Editor's note:

    A reader remembers: I recall watching the news with Walter Cronkite. I remember being sent home from Miss Hillsgrove's 1st grade at Pierce Street School in Greenfield. I lived right on the other side of the school fence of the back playground.

    I really do not recollect the assassination per se, but I do remember the day of the funeral procession. We were out on our street (a very quiet non-through street called Holly Avenue) and my mother calling us to come into the house. There was no questioning my mother most of the time and, by the tone of her voice, today was not the day to whine about playing outside for a little longer.

    I remember being required (remember I was just 6 years old) to be quiet and watch the black-and-white DuPont brand TV during the procession and ceremony. I will always remember the horse-drawn casket and the boot being backwards (Dad pointed it out to me and explained why). I also have vivid memories of the horse pulling at the reigns as if attempting to get away.

    My mom was crying and dad was beside himself. I recall the drum cadence and the lined streets. As a 6-year-old, I certainly did not grasp the import of the events unfolding, but knew it was important and very sad. Finally, I recall seeing Caroline Kennedy on the TV and thinking that that little girl was my age.

    -- Submitted by Tom Guerino, Vernon, VT
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