In my language arts class in school, we had to pick a person to write a narrative essay about. I picked the 35th president of the United States, JFK. i have so much respect for his leadership and the Kennedy family. This essay is written from the point of view of his wife, Jackie Kennedy. It covers the day of Jack’s assassination. I hope you find this essay touching and interesting.
Rarely did I accompany Jack on his business trips and presidential campaigns. Being present at his events exhausted me, although I did enjoy getting to see my husband’s eyes light up when he spoke as well as the passion and love he poured out for his country. This would be my first extended appearance in public since the death of our dear baby son, Patrick.
A light rain was falling the morning of November 22, when Air Force One arrived in Dallas at Love Field. Before exiting the jet with Jack, I checked over my watermelon pink suit and adjusted the fashionable pillbox hat on my head. I pulled my silky, light gloves up my wrists and made sure my hair looked presentable. I wouldn’t want to make a bad impression in Dallas, now would I?
Jack and I exited the jet and were welcomed by a large group of supporters eager to shake our hands and meet the two of us. We mingled with the well-wishers for several minutes and one of the people in the crowd handed me a big, gorgeous bouquet of red roses which I took with me to the convertible. The two of us would travel through Dallas to the Trade Mart for a luncheon Jack would be speaking at. It stopped raining so the plastic bubble top was removed from the car. The governor of Texas, Mr. John Connally and his wife, Nellie, warmly welcomed my husband and I. Mr. and Mrs. Connally were seated in the front of the car and Jack and I were comfortably seated in the back of the convertible. The Secret Service moved into their designated positions around the vehicle and we departed from the airport; the procession into the city began.
As the convertible slowly made its way through Dallas, the people alongside the road jumped for joy, enthusiastically waved at us, called out to my husband and I, and seemed to be having a good time.
The driver of the convertible remarked, “They really love you, Mr. President,”.
Jack acknowledged the comment and continued waving to the people of Dallas. He turned towards me and smiled in a way that made my heart melt every time. That handsome smile of Jack’s reminded me of the look he gave me after swearing into office as president of the United States. He looked so confident and content. It had been an extremely cold and snowy day and I of course knew that every woman present would wear fur, so naturally I had to wear mink. Jack may have only taken sixteen minutes to give his inaugural speech, but those 1,355 words were some of the most powerful, amazing words I ever heard my husband speak. He was going to make a difference in this country whether people liked it or not. I was so proud of him and I knew his country would be too.
I had gone up to Jack after the speech and congratulated him, “Jack, you were so wonderful!”
He had smiled in the most touching way.
There was a strange pop sound heard as our convertible approached Dealey Plaza. I cautiously scanned the area, doing my best to appear calm and collected. Lightly, I nodded, shrugged, and then politely waved at a group of people at the nearby park. I looked over at Jack to make sure he was doing alright and he was still enjoying the chance to interact with the public. He truly loved the people and they loved him in return. Jack had worked so hard to give back everything he could to his country. Through his hard work with other national and international leaders on the issue of the Cuban Missile Crisis, my husband had been able to prevent a nuclear war from happening. He had worked long hours to inspire Americans and NASA to get man on the moon and create peace in the United States as well as around the world, and promoted public service through organizations like the Peace Corps, which he had established.
The car made a turn onto Main Street.
I heard another strange, loud popping sound coming from above and behind the car. I glanced over at Jack, something was not right. His face was expressionless and his arms were bent awkwardly above his head.
I frantically turned my whole body towards my husband. “Jack?”
Suddenly, my husband slumped over in my lap. Blood rushed from the back side of his head and onto my suit. I needed to escape. My breathing became shallow and quick, everything in my body went numb. Jack had been shot and I was next if I hadn’t already been shot. Frantically, I reached for the side of the moving convertible to attempt to pull myself out of the car. I couldn’t control what my body wanted to do. I desperately reached for the car door but was stopped by the strong, forceful arm of Clint Hill, the head of the Secret Service. He forced me back into the car, and shielded my body as well as Jack’s. Shaking, I cradled my husband’s head in my lap and supported his body with mine. I could see a piece of skull detaching from his head. Why would anyone do this to Jack? Who in their right mind would do this to my dear husband? His brains and blood spilled into my lap and all over my suit. It had been several hours since breakfast, but I could definitely feel it rising, churning in my stomach, as I attempted to keep Jack’s brains in his head. In a panic, Clint barked orders at his men. The convertible immediately sped up.
I could hear people yelling and screaming, “He’s dead, he’s dead!”.
Holding the top of his head down, I did what I could to comfort and make contact with my husband, who was hanging onto life by a single thread.
“Jack, can you hear me? Jack, Jack, I love you.”
What had just happened? It became hard to control anything. Tears uncontrollably rolled down my cheeks.
We rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, and Jack was carefully, but quickly removed from the car and taken to Trauma Room 1, where doctors attempted to save his life. I had to try to collect myself. I couldn’t let the doctors or the nurses, let alone the public see me like this. I bit my lip and held my breath to hold back my panicked cries. While I.V.s were placed in my dying husband’s arms, one doctor performed a tracheotomy, and another attempted to revive him. I stood, shaking, on the verge of tears in the corner of the room. It felt as if my heart stopped when the heart monitor wasn’t picking up Jack’s heartbeat. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to make it. There was now a sense of mourning and deep, dark sadness in the room. Ronald Jones, one of the doctors, and his aide, slowly approached me. Deep down, I already knew what he would tell me.
Dr. Jones sincerely stated, “Mrs. Kennedy, I’m so sorry for your loss.”
The aide quietly and politely asked, “Would you like a change of clothes? Those have-”
“No, I’m going to leave these clothes on. I want them to see what they’ve done.”
It is now November 25, three long, hard days after my husband’s life has been taken away from me. Draped in black, I look through my dark veil, from the steps of St. Matthew’s Cathedral after the ceremony. I can feel the support and grieving of over 800,000 Americans attending the funeral. I look down at my children, Caroline and John Jr. as Jack’s casket is carried down the steps to the carriage. Today could have been the convivial celebration of my little John’s third birthday, but we are instead mourning the loss of a wonderful leader, husband, and father. I take hold of Caroline’s small hand and lean down to whisper in John’s ear. John slowly nods and raises his right hand to his forehead, saluting his father for the last time. With a heavy heart, I review the beautiful part of my life Jack was in and his favorite musical, Camelot. He sometimes referred to his administration as Camelot and listened to his old recording of the musical all the time.
“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot”. Goodbye Jack, I love you.
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