PRESIDENT'S BEEN SHOT"
Staff Photographer (retired)
Sunday dawned clear and bright. It was my birthday. I was 31 and I
was at the center of the universe and events were spinning out of control.
anchored a position at curbside along Pennsylvania Ave., about
halfway between the White House and the Capitol. I got there early
shooting preliminary stuff of the spectators, many of whom were
black armbands and buttons with Kennedy's picture on it, also
black. The crowd grew until the sidewalks were filled from curb
building. It was a well behaved crowd, but very somber.
Before the procession reached us there was a murmur from the
People who were listening to the news on transistor radios were
Jack Ruby just shot Oswald!!" The news passed from row to row and echoed
down the Avenue. And, I thought, "Who the hell is Ruby and who the hell
It never ceases to amaze me that we journalists, who are on the
front lines of daily events, can be so far removed from the happenings
related to those events, if they aren't happening in front of
us. I hadn't
realized it, but I hadn't been watching much tv in the past few
days because I was so involved in the events before me. So I didn't
Lee Harvey Oswald's capture and subsequent shooting. That's not
a good journalistic practice, but, I do fall into that mode on
stories, from time to time because I get so focused.
I didn't have time to find out what that was all about, because
could hear the muffled drums of the cortege approaching my
silent honor guard passed in front of me, with those who carried
nation's flag holding their standards low in mourning. The
low November sun
was backlighting the scene for me and everything stood out
contrast. Next, a gun caisson, drawn by a team of magnificent
the flag draped coffin of our President through the silent
streets. With the rim-lit coffin it was impossible
not to get
dramatic photos of this historic event. Following the caisson
was a large
riderless horse being led by a soldier. In the horse's stirrups
were a pair
of riding boots placed in backwards. A symbolic gesture of
warrior. And all the while, the beat of muffled drums, in slow
then, an open limousine bearing the widow, Jacqueline Kennedy,
straight ahead. And with her and her two children was the new
the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.
Newsday Photo by Dick Kraus
could hear spectators sobbing in the crowd around me, and
when I turned to photograph their reaction to this moving
tableaux, I realized that my eyes were also wet.
spectator along the funeral procession route, weeps as
the President's casket passes in front of her.
1963 Newsday Photo by Dick Kraus
END OF PART III