“From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official …”
Ask nearly anyone over the age of 55, and they can tell you exactly where they were when CBS newsman Walter Cronkite read the AP newsflash, confirming that America’s 35th president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been publicly murdered at 12:40 p.m. CST in Dallas.
For Americans born in the decades since, this grim chapter in American life can now be relived in exhibits across the country, marking the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Some items have never been displayed before, such as the flag that draped JFK’s casket. Here’s where you can revisit a few of the historic items related to the JFK assassination, when America’s love affair with Camelot came to a violent end.
Visitors can see the customized limo that carried JFK on the day he was assassinated, on permanent display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Curiously, the limo went on to serve other US presidents (LBJ, Nixon and Ford) after the assassination, until it was decommissioned in 1977.
Gov. Connally’s Suit
For the first time in 50 years, this suit, which was worn by Texas Gov. John Connally on the day he rode in the car with JFK and Jackie, is on display, along with other items related to the JFK assassination investigation, at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library in Austin, TX. If you’ve pondered the Warren Commission’s “Magic Bullet” theory, you can now see for yourself, in sobering detail, where the bullet ripped through Connally’s suit.
FBI’s 1964 Assassination Mock-Up
This 10-by-10-foot model of Dealey Plaza, as prepared by the FBI for the Warren Commission investigation in 1964, is on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. The model is currently on loan from the National Archives in Washington, DC.
JFK’s Flag-Draped Coffin
This American flag draped Kennedy’s coffin, and for the first time ever, it’s being shown to the public, in a display at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Also on display is the saddle, sword and boots from Black Jack, the rider-less horse that followed JFK’s horse-drawn coffin in the funeral cortege.
JFK’s Plane … That Took Him to Dallas
This plane took Kennedy to Berlin to deliver his ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech and, on Nov. 22, 1963, to Dallas Love Field airport. A Boeing jetliner, the SAM 26000, as it was known, was specifically built for presidential use in 1962, at a cost of $8 million. LBJ later took the oath of office in this hangar, which visitors can see first-hand at the National Museum of the US Air Force near Dayton, OH.
JFK Plane Recreation
At the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, visitors can see this recreation of the stateroom where LBJ was sworn in as the 36th president at 2:38 p.m. by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes, a long-time Johnson family friend who was appointed to the bench by LBJ himself.
Jackie’s Pink Suit … and Oswald’s Rifle
The most famous piece of clothing from that day — Jackie’s double-breasted, pink Chanel suit — remains behind locked doors, at the National Archives in Maryland, along with Oswald’s rifle. Jackie’s pink suit will not be available for public viewing until 2103, 140 years after the assassination, but the nation’s fascination with the JFK assassination is sure to endure.
View our complete slideshow of JFK’s life: Remembering JFK.