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The Secret Service Agent Who Was Closest to President Kennedy When He Was Shot

2014-01-08

[This fragment was written on November 19, 2013, but for some reason unknown was not published.]

The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas is coming up shortly, on November 22, and most who were old enough can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard.  There was a contagious sense of shock and paralysis.  The Secret Service is responsible for protecting the President from assassination, by interposing one’s body into the path of a bullet, if necessary.   They felt the shock more than anyone else living.

The agent who was closest to President and Mrs. Kennedy when the shots were fired was in the car behind them as the motorcade travelled about twelve miles an hour down the street.  He heard three shots before he could react, and he was hit by a spray of blood and brains.  He jumped out of the car he was riding in and ran to the back of the Kennedy’s car.  He could see Mrs. Kennedy reaching over the trunk of the car picking up pieces of his brain.  He climbed in to the car with them and he could see that President Kennedy’s gaze was fixed and he was sure that he was dead.  He gave a thumb’s down gesture to the driver of the car behind them.   He heard Mrs. Kennedy talking.

Mrs. Kennedy said  a lot of things that he remembered fifty years later when he finally came out with a public revelation of everything he knows.  He gave an interview to go with the fiftieth anniversary and said that, after the assassination, he was so depressed that he shut himself away and never saw his family or friends.  He said that he has finally become reconciled with it but that it took almost fifty years.

…this man’s story and the fact that he became severely disabled after the incident should teach all of us a lesson about how much a person can tolerate and what will cause him to break down: in this case, he was directly responsible for the safety of the President; he was the closest agent to Mr. Kennedy, close enough to be hit by the blood/brain spray; and there was nothing he could do, despite his responsibility, to save him.

It is interesting that another person was hit by the blood/brain spray that occurred when the President was shot: a motorcycle officer riding behind and to the left of Mr. Kennedy’s car.  He has a vivid memory of being hit by a spray of blood and brain matter at the same time.  He was not disabled after the incident.  He was, of course, not directly responsible for the President’s safety.

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