November 22,1963: Remembering

 


It began like all days; a day like any day.

I was going to college at East Texas State University in Commerce, which was 60 miles from Dallas my home. I had only one class that Friday so I had a leisurely breakfast at the Sam Rayburn Memorial Student Center. The talk of the day was an incident at Memorial Auditorium during a speech made by Adlai Stephenson, ambassador to the UN and former vice presidential candidate where someone from the right wing had bashed him over the head with a protest placard and spit on him. One fella in the next table was overheard to comment, "Wouldn't it be funny if someone took a pop shot at JFK today in Dallas". I didn't find it funny and wondered to my roomies what was the route going to be by the President. They said it was in the Dallas Morning News.


My mother was a private piano teacher who taught in student's homes. At noon she went down to Whittle's Music Company to pick up some music shortly before she was to begin teaching at the students home at 1pm. As she left Whittle's she was upset as all the traffic was blocked and she couldn't get onto the freeway to get to her lesson. She was not a political person and didn't even know that downtown was expecting a motorcade by the President. She didn't make it to her lesson at 1 pm not suprisingly.



A father of a friend of mine in Photography 101 course at ETSU stationed himself on Cedar Springs in Turtle Creek. He was a photographer and wanted to get a picture of the motorcade and President so he might possibly sell them for souvenirs. He got a great shot as is seen below.


Photo taken in Turtle Creek by Ray Morley

Another close friend of the family, Clovis Edwards was off work that Friday and had ventured to go to Dallas from Oak Cliff with his camera to see if he could get a picture of the President who was to auto by him as he was positioned about 3 block from the end of Main St before the motorcade was to turn toward the Texas School Book Depository. He was delighted as he got a great shot with his camera as the motorcade went by. He later was so distraught he asked me if I wanted the picture cause he couldn't stand to look at it. I have it below for all to see.

Photo taken by Clovis Edwards about 3 blocks from Texas School Book Depository, original owned by me.

Shots rang out at 12:30 pm in Downtown Dallas. Three shots were heard that fired as the Kennedy motorcade was in Dealey Plaza.

Dr Ruth Guy

At about 12:30 my aunt who was the head of Wadley Blood Bank and a noted Dallas pathologist was in her office when she heard a stat call for all doctors to go to the ER at Parkland Hospital. Dr Ruth Guy, headed there immediately and on the way was told she was to go to the emergency room with about 15 doctors to await an important patient. She was to be in charge of getting blood to a gunshot victim coming in. She went in to discover the patient who had just arrived was John F Kennedy. I have no other details from her as she carried what she saw to her grave.

sarah_and_LBJ.jpg
Judge Sarah T Hudges

My aunt Ruth Johnson heard about the shooting from her office at Donavan Galvani for which she was executive secretary for the fashion company. Her close friend who was a federal judge was summoned to go to the airport that day.. Judge Hudges swore in a distant cousin of my family as the next President of the United States abord Air Force One. I visited with Judge Hudges and my Aunt as she told me some of the details and how the only recorder was a secretary dictation machine and how hurried she was to the airport by the Secret Service.

Texas School Book Depository

At about 12:36 another friend of the family was sitting in his office at the Texas School Book Depository when FBI and secret Service agents ran in. His name was Roy Truly and he was the superintendent of the Depository. He escorted the police up to the second floor as the rush was on to find people who might not be employees and/or possible assassins. After the shots Officer Baker entered the main lobby of the Book Depository Building, and asked where the stairs or elevator was, he was then met by Roy Truly the Superintendent of the Building. The two men went through one set of doors, then a second set of swinging doors at "a good trot" to the northwest corner of the floor where Truly hoped to find one of the two freight elevators. But neither elevator was there, Truly pushed the button for the west elevator which operates automatically if the gate is closed, the elevator failed to move so Baker decided to use the stairway witch was also located in the northwest corner of the Building. Baker rushed up the stairs behind Truly; he had reached the second floor when he noticed through a door window that a man was walking in the ( vestibule or lunchroom ) near the staircase. The man was Lee Oswald. from the Warren Report
Officer Baker. Q: And did you go all the way up to the top of the stairs right away.
A: No sir, we didnít
Q: What happened.
A: As I came out to the second floor there, Mr. Truly was ahead of me, and as I come out I was kind of scanning, you know, the rooms, and I caught a glimpse of this man walking away from this - -I happened to see him through this window in this door. I donít know how come I saw him, but I had a glimpse of him coming down there.
Q: Where was he coming from, do you know.
A: No sir, All I seen of him was a glimpse of him go away from me.
Baker entered the vestibule and at the lunchroom door with gun in hand he called "come here." Oswald turned and walked back toward Baker. Meanwhile Truly missing Baker had turned back down the stairs, and found Baker in the doorway to the lunchroom "facing Lee Harvey Oswald." Baker turned to Truly and said, "Do you know this man, does he work here."
Truly replied, "Yes."
Later Baker would recall, the man did not seem to be out of breath; he seemed calm. "He never did say a word or nothing. In fact, he didnít change his expression one bit."
Later Truly would recall, "He didnít seem to be excited or overly afraid or anything. He might have been a bit startled, like I might have been if somebody confronted me. But I cannot recall any change in expression of any kind on his face." Truly thought that the officerís gun at that time appeared to be almost touching the middle portion of Oswaldís body.
It would also be determined that from the time of the last shots. To the time of this encounter was approximately ( 75 Ė 90 ) seconds.
Oswald would later claim that he was in the lunchroom at the time of the shooting.
Truly and officer Baker continued to the roof of the Building.
Roy was so mad at himself for letting Oswald out the door when I talked to him later. Oswald was caught at the Texas Theater which was a movie theater I had been in many times as a kid to see Saturday morning movies when I stayed at my grandmother's in Oak Cliff.

I was in my dorm room preparing to go to Dallas my home for the weekend with my roommates. My roomie came in and said turn on the TV. "The President was shot in Downtown Dallas he said....




I was in route from Commerce to Dallas and was about to turn onto the Interstate when the word came about the death of JFK. I was riding with a friend and he stopped his VW on the shoulder of the road, got out and saluted as the Star Spangled Banner played on the radio. We were all sad to lose the President.
Meanwhile the weekend was spent getting papers, watching the TV...... it
was a sad and mournful weekend that weekend in Dallas. I believe personally in the single gun theory that the President was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald.
A sad day for Dallas, Texas
A sad day for those who have vision for our country
I remember like it was yesterday.


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