On November 21, 1963, the First Lady and the President left the White House for a political trip to Texas; this was the first time that she had joined her husband on such a trip in the U.S. After a breakfast on November 22, they took a very short flight on Air Force One
from Fort Worth's Carswell Air Force Base
to Dallas' Love Field
, accompanied by Texas Governor John Connally
and his wife Nellie
. The First Lady was wearing a bright pink Chanel suit
and a pillbox hat
, which had been personally selected by President Kennedy. A 9.5-mile (15.3 km) motorcade
was to take them to the Trade Mart
, where the president was scheduled to speak at a lunch. The First Lady was seated to her husband's left in the third row of seats in the presidential limousine
, with the Governor and his wife seated in front of them. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
and his wife followed in another car in the motorcade.
After the motorcade turned the corner onto Elm Street in Dealey Plaza
, the First Lady heard what she thought to be a motorcycle backfiring
and did not realize that it was a gunshot until she heard Governor Connally scream. Within 8.4 seconds, two more shots had rung out, and one of the shots struck her husband in the head. Almost immediately, she began to climb onto the back of the limousine; Secret Service agent Clint Hill
later told the Warren Commission
that he thought she had been reaching across the trunk for a piece of her husband's skull that had been blown off. Hill ran to the car and leapt onto it, directing her back to her seat. As Hill stood on the back bumper, Associated Press
photographer Ike Altgens
snapped a photograph that was featured on the front pages of newspapers around the world. She would later testify that she saw pictures "of me climbing out the back. But I don't remember that at all".
The President was rushed to Dallas' Parkland Hospital
. At her request, the First Lady was allowed to be present in the operating room. After her husband was pronounced dead, Kennedy refused to remove her blood-stained clothing and reportedly regretted having washed the blood off her face and hands, explaining to Lady Bird Johnson
that she wanted "them to see what they have done to Jack". She continued to wear the blood-stained pink suit as she boarded Air Force One and stood next to Johnson when he took the oath of office as President. The unlaundered suit was donated to the National Archives and Records Administration
in 1964 and, under the terms of an agreement with her daughter Caroline Kennedy
, will not be placed on public display until 2103. Johnson's biographer Robert Caro wrote that Johnson wanted Jacqueline to be present at his swearing-in in order to demonstrate the legitimacy of his presidency to JFK loyalists and to the world at large. Read more...