By Emily Pride
Nov. 22, 1963 will be a day forever etched into the minds of many Americans: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. While Kennedy’s assassination was the fourth in U.S. history, it was the first in the nuclear age of American history.
John F. Kennedy was elected to the highest office of the land at age 43 after serving for 14 years as a U.S. Congressman. His election as the youngest president in U.S. history reflected the “new generation” as almost half of the U.S. population was younger than 25. Kennedy was a popular president with approval ratings from 57 percent at their lowest to a high of 83 percent.
As Kennedy’s motocade passed through Dealey Plaza, shots were allegedly fired from the sixth-floor of the Texas State Book Depository. Kennedy was immediately taken to Parkland Hospital where he arrived at approximately 12:36 p.m., only six minutes from the time Kennedy was shot.
Albert Merriman Smith of United Press International was the first reporter to call in the reports of Kennedy being shot at 12:34 p.m. Smith was later awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting of the Kennedy assassination.
“DALLAS, NOV. 22 (UPI) – THREE SHOTS FIRED AT PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S MOTORCADE TODAY IN DOWNTOWN DALLAS.”
Following Smith, James Altgen put the report of the shooting on the Associated Press Wire at 12:39 p.m. from the office at the Texas State Book Depository. Altgen was a photographer who was standing feet away from Kennedy’s limousine when the bullets struck.
Walter Cronkite addressed the nation on CBS with the news of the shooting of Kennedy on live television at 12:40 p.m.
Around 1 p.m., Kennedy was pronounced dead. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president nearly two hours later, with the presidential oath administered on Air Force One.