Assassination of John F. Kennedy Part 1 Parade for the President

About the assassinaton of United States President John F. Kennedy, history of the event starting with the parade and the Zapruder film.

The Victim: JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35th President of the U.S.

The Date: November 22, 1963.

The Event: At 12:30 P.M., President John F. Kennedy was shot to death during a midday motorcade in Dallas, Tex. It was a tragedy that shook the nation and the world.

The presidential party had arrived at Love Field under a clearing sky. Kennedy took time to shake hands with the spectators gathered at the airport to greet him; the crowd seemed amiable and receptive to the President, who was apprehensive about this visit to Texas.

The Secret Service had been lining up the automobiles for the upcoming parade through the streets of the city. Each car was tagged with a small square of paper bearing a number which indicated the planned position of that particular car in the motorcade. Kennedy was to ride in the open 1961 Lincoln Continental limousine marked with the number "7." But the limousine was placed 2nd in line, due apparently to a mix-up.

When the parade started, the Lincoln (sans bubble-top because of Kennedy's own request to leave it off if the weather was nice) was preceded by a 1963 Ford sedan bearing Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry and other local officials. Directly behind the presidential limousine was the Secret Service's follow-up car, a 1959 Cadillac. Although the press vehicle (usually directly in front of the President's car to facilitate photographing the President) was numbered "6," it was lined up last (14th) in the motorcade. For this reason, the photographers in that vehicle were unable to provide any footage of the assassination that was about to occur--footage that would have been of great evidential value.

The parade proceeded from Love Field through the central part of Dallas. The entourage was approaching the end of its ride to the World Trade Center, where Kennedy was to speak that day.

As the 8,000-lb. presidential vehicle lumbered off of Houston Street, making a left turn onto Elm Street, it nearly had to stop completely in negotiating the turn. The motorcade was now in Dealey Plaza.

Mr. Abraham Zapruder was stationed on Elm Street, perched atop a block of granite some 72' from the middle of the street. He was holding his 8-millimeter Bell & Howell movie camera, which was set on "telephoto" to film the President as he rode by. This film became the single most important piece of evidence in the case of the assassination of President Kennedy, as Zapruder was the only one of several photographers to capture the incident from an angle clearly showing Kennedy. He had test-shot a few frames of his secretary in his office. She was now bracing him so that he would not fall from his vantage point on the piece of stone.

First Zapruder filmed 2 motorcycles as they rolled down the street to clear the way for the President's parade. He knew that Kennedy's car would approach him at any moment. From the instant the driver of Kennedy's car, Will Greer, slowed to make the turn into Elm Street, until it disappeared beneath an overpass at the end of the street, Zapruder filmed the car.

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