On November 22, 1963, the 35th President of the United States was assassinated by long-range rifle shots originating from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. John F. Kennedy rode in an open-top limousine through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas and was struck in the neck and head by two shots at 12:30 pm. Texas Governor John Connally sat one seat ahead of JFK. He was also shot but survived. Jackie Kennedy was physically unhurt but was seen trying to save her husband's life. A lone sniper, Lee Harvey Oswald, was eventually captured and arrested for the crime.
Two days later, on November 24, 1963, while Lee Harvey Oswald was escorted from the basement of the city jail at 11:20 am, a lone gunman stepped forward from the crowd and shot Oswald in close proximity much to the astonishment of the detective and officers accompanying Oswald. Jack Ruby was identified as the shooter. The front page of the Monday, November 25, 1963 issue of the New York Times reports both the State funeral of John F. Kennedy as well as the report of the public execution of Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
In January 1964, Jackie Kennedy requested a historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. to meet with her to record her experiences during the JFK presidency. These tapes were recently released for publication in 2011.
Janny Scott's September 11, 2011 New York Times article, In Tapes, Candid Talk by Young Kennedy Widow, provides a glimpse into that conversation. During their recorded conversation, Jackie compared her husband's presidency period to that of Camelot.
Jacqueline Kennedy's interpretation, though comforting, may contain questionable gaps. In The Guardian, Sarah-Jane Stratford's November 21, 2013 article, Referring to JFK's presidency as 'Camelot' doesn't do him justice, discusses how King Arthur's myth does not accurately capture Jackie Kennedy's romantic version of JFK's presidency. Stratford believes JFK deserves a more accurate historical interpretation of the events of that period.
Despite the different perspectives shared on that period in time, the events that unfolded in November over five decades ago remain instilled in current social media.
The Society and Recreation Department has a wide selection of titles on American history in the 20th century including a well-stocked display on the Kennedy era.
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The month of November honours conflicts and battles through 20th century history. This month also observes an event that still unites people to share in its mourning.