5 Key Facts about the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

The assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is one of the most historic tragedies in the last 200 years of American politics. This year will mark 53 years since President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Whether you were alive during that period of time, or just read about it, you probably know that the killer’s name was Lee Harvey Oswald. Most people are also stunned by the number of conspiracy theories surrounding this particular assassination. Some theorists have argued there was a foreign power involved, and others have suggested aspects of betrayal in the killing. All the same, though, this post highlights 5 solid facts about the assassination of the 35th President of the United States.

1.      Oswald Wasn’t Arrested for Killing John Kennedy

The alleged killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, wasn’t actually captured for killing the president. He was arrested for shooting (fatally) a Dallas police officer, about 45 minutes after the Kennedy assassination. Mr. Oswald denied killing anyone. He was transferred to a county jail where two days later he was fatally shot by a Dallas nightclub operator going by the name Jack Ruby.

2.      The Assassination Was Not a Federal Crime

In 1963, the assassination of Kenned wasn’t considered a federal crime. This only changed in 1965. That’s an interesting piece of data especially considered that before Kennedy, three other presidents had been killed (Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley).

3.      Only Time a Woman Swore In a President

A few hours after John Kennedy was assassinated, Lyndon Johnson (then Vice President), was sworn in as president while aboard Air Force One. Jackie Kennedy was standing by his side. The oath was administered by a federal judge named Sarah Hughes. This is the only time a woman ever did so.

4.      No TV Shows for 4 Days

After Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, CBS showed the first bulletin of the killing. NBC and BBC joined in after that, interrupting their broadcast for a record 4 days. Before September 11, the J. F. Kennedy assassination was the biggest uninterrupted news event on TV.

5.      Oswald Had Earlier Tried to Assassinate General Edwin Walker

8 months before he shot Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald had tried to assassinate Edwin Walker, a former general in the U.S army. Gen. Edwin was an outstanding anti-communist who resigned from his military career in 1961. Walker turned out to be a high-profile critic of the President Kennedy’s administration, taking a stand against the government’s intent to racially integrate schools. The commission set up to investigate the Kennedy shooting established that Oswald had tried to kill Walker while the general was spending time at home. This attempt was unsuccessful, with Walker just suffering minor bullet fragment injuries.

There are lots of other loads of facts surrounding the Kennedy shooting, most of which are made up. These five straight facts describe the events that immediately related to this historical tragedy.

5 Stunning Photos That Chronicle John Kennedy’s Presidency and Assassination

35th President of the United States

John Fitzgerald Kennedy giving the Inaugural Address, as the 35th president of the United States, in Washington, DC on 20th January 1961. He had earlier gained the Democratic Party nomination for President. Kennedy won by a small margin in the November 1960 elections, becoming the youngest man and first-ever Roman Catholic to become president of the country.

Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. Washington, DC  20 January 1961. Please credit "U. S. Army Signal Corps photograph in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston".
Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. Washington, DC 20 January 1961. Please credit “U. S. Army Signal Corps photograph in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston”.

Meeting with Martin Luther King, Civil Rights

Kennedy supported civil rights. But it was only after his death that meaningful legislation on the same was passed. In this file photo, he meets with prominent civil rights activist, including the iconic Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 1963, White House, Washington, D.C., USA --- Civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., meet with President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office about the March on Washington. --- Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS
August 1963, White House, Washington, D.C., USA — Civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., meet with President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office about the March on Washington. — Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

Cuban Missile Crisis

President Kennedy personally telling the American people that soviet missile stations in Cuba were being ‘destroyed’. He said the country’s aerial surveillance team would continue till effective international inspections had been arranged.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy reports to the nation on the Cuban missile crisis from the White House in Washington, Nov. 2, 1962. The president told radio and television listeners that Soviet missile bases "are being destroyed" and that U.S. air surveillance would continue until effective international inspection was arranged. (AP Photo) ORG XMIT: NY326
U.S. President John F. Kennedy reports to the nation on the Cuban missile crisis from the White House in Washington, Nov. 2, 1962. The president told radio and television listeners that Soviet missile bases “are being destroyed” and that U.S. air surveillance would continue until effective international inspection was arranged. (AP Photo) ORG XMIT: NY326

Announcing Space Effort

On September 12, 1962. President Kennedy delivers a speech at Rice University. He detailed the nation’s objective to land a man on the moon within the decade. The president announced that he would continue supporting increased space expenditure. NASA eventually landed a man on the moon in 1969.

President John F. Kennedy Address at Rice University in Houston on the Nation's Space Effort.  Please credit "Robert Knudsen, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"
President John F. Kennedy Address at Rice University in Houston on the Nation’s Space Effort. Please credit “Robert Knudsen, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston”

Assassination Day

Kennedy was riding in a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible codenamed X-100. Following the shooting, the presidential limousine was examined for evidence of the Dallas shooting, overhauled, then cleaned and recommissioned for service in mid-1964. The limo continued to carry presidents till 1977. It’s currently on display in Dearborn, Michigan, at the Henry Ford Museum.

President Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, riding in the Lincoln Continental moments before the assassination.
President Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, riding in the Lincoln Continental moments before the assassination.