Mourners gather in Dealey Plaza to mark JFK assassination 60th

Mourners gather in Dealey Plaza in Dallas to mark the 60th anniversary of the assassination of JFK

  • Hundreds of people were at the location Wednesday to remember the day 
  • Many had been at Dealey Plaza that fateful day as young children 
  • READ MORE:  The story of the Kennedy assassination 60 years on

Mourners have descended on Dealey Plaza in Dallas to commemorate the spot where John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

Kennedy, the youngest elected leader in American history, had been in office for almost three years.

He had won admiration for his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis and brought glamour to the White House but for many he was a divisive and hated figure.

His assassination in Dallas gave birth to hundreds of conspiracy theories that are argued over today.

Hundreds of people were at the location Wednesday, with some recalling on their own memories from that fateful day.

Mourners from far and wide came to Dealey Plaza in Dallas Wednesday to commemorate the spot where US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963

Many of those who came to mourn had been at the parade that day when Kennedy was shot

Leslie French, 64, told Fox4 that he and a friend were just 150 feet away from the gunshot.

‘Some were running, some were falling, some were standing there. We didn’t know what to do,’ he said. 

‘We didn’t know what to do as two 14-year-olds, we ran towards the noise.’

Mickey Castro, 62, had gotten a permission slip from his school to skip that day and attend the event.

‘We saw him. It was so friendly, I was cheering,’ Castro said, noting that he and his classmates had left the plaza and found out about the shooting at a Dairy Queen nearby. 

‘To the day I die, I’ll never feel the high and the low in just a few minutes,’ he add. 

President Joe Biden, who turned 21 two days before JFK was killed, reflected on his own experiences in a lengthy White House statement issued Wednesday.

The president is on Nantucket, just east of Martha’s Vineyard, where Kennedy sailed with his political family and plotted his runs for the Senate and the White House. 

Kennedy, the youngest elected leader in American history, had been in office for almost three years

A person uses a cell phone to capture images of an X on Elm Street at Dealey Plaza

People stand at windows one floor above the 6th floor of the book depository

An image taken by Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Dillard on November 22, 1963, of spectators lying on the ground in Dealey Plaza as a motorcycle police officer drives by immediately after the shooting

President Joe Biden was a student when JFK was assassinated. ‘In life and in death, President Kennedy changed the way we saw ourselves,’ he said

Clint Hill, who served on Jacqueline Kennedy’s Secret Service detail, said agents who responded to the assassination never got any counseling. He served under three more presidents

‘I was in college and had just left class, joining other students glued to the news in silence along with the entire country,’ Biden said, recalling where he was when he learned Kennedy had been shot

Biden called the Kennedy assassination ‘a defining moment of deep trauma and loss that shocked the soul of our nation.’ 

‘Millions of Americans still remember exactly where we were when it happened. I was in college and had just left class, joining other students glued to the news in silence along with the entire country.’

The nation’s second Catholic president after JFK connected Kennedy’s presidency to the push for civil rights and the Space Race, although he identified the president’s slain younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy, as his political hero.

‘The weeks and months that followed awakened a generation. President Kennedy had been a war hero, senator, and statesman. He set our nation’s compass firmly on many of the most consequential issues of the 20 century, from civil rights, to voting rights, to equal pay for women,’ Biden said. ‘He led with calm resolve through the most dangerous moments of the Cold War. And at the dawn of a new decade, he called us forward to a new frontier, propelling us to the moon and beyond. He inspired a nation to see public service as a calling.’

‘Like millions, I deeply felt his conviction and dreams for America. His ideas rhymed with the lessons I’d learned from the nuns at school and around my father’s kitchen table – that we are each called to do good works on this earth, to try to make our world a better place in the service of others. But what stuck with me most was President Kennedy’s courage, his heroic sense of duty, and his family’s capacity to absorb profound suffering.

‘We saw that most clearly with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, whose grace and resilience still hold the hearts of the American people, as they did during that most challenging time in the life of her family and of our nation. His brother, Robert, was one of my greatest political heroes; and Teddy was one of my closest friends. His daughter, Caroline, remains a dear friend as well, along with countless Kennedy family members whom Jill and I have been privileged to know, and to whom we send our love and affection on this day of remembrance.’

‘In life and in death, President Kennedy changed the way we saw ourselves – a country full of youthful hopes and ambition, steeled with the seasoned strength of a people who’ve overcome profound loss by turning pain into unyielding purpose. He called us to take history into our own hands, and to never quit striving to build an America that lives up to its highest ideals,’ Biden said. 

He connected Kennedy’s curtailed term to his own frequent metaphors of light and dark – throwing in ‘grievance,’ which permeates the politics of the current era. 

‘On this day, we remember that he saw a nation of light, not darkness; of honor, not grievance; a place where we are unwilling to postpone the work that he began and that we all must now carry forward. We remember the unfulfilled promise of his presidency – not only as a tragedy, but as an enduring call to action to each do all we can for our country,’ Biden said. ‘May God continue to bless President John F. Kennedy.’

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who was nine years old when his uncle died, issued his own statement on the anniversary where he said a peaceful mission was ‘abandoned’ after his death, and called on Biden to release all JFK assassination records.

He is challenging Biden as an independent. 

‘John F. Kennedy’s assassination left an indelible scar upon the American psyche. Everyone who was alive at the time can remember where they were on that day,’ he said in a statement.

‘Of all the legacies that my uncle left for our country, there is one that has not yet been fulfilled. During his term in office, he upheld a vision of America as a nation of peace, a vision that was abandoned after his death. For the next 60 years, we maintained a military empire, squandering trillions of dollars as our economy hollowed out and our health and infrastructure decayed,’ he said.

He stressed a security order JFK signed shortly before his death, although Kennedy had previously sent thousands of military advisors to South Vietnam during his term. 

‘My promise to the American people is that I will put us back on the road to peace that JFK led us toward when, shortly before his death, he issued a national security order to withdraw American advisers from Vietnam. We will instead take a path back toward peace and prosperity for our country,’ his nephew said.

He said both Donald Trump and Biden had ‘refused’ to allow for the release of additional assassination records. 

‘What is so embarrassing that they’re afraid to show the American public 60 years later?’ he asied.

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