Newsweeks Past: The Day Kennedy Died

Jacqueline Kennedy
John F Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy arriving at Dallas's Love Field for a day of soft campaigning Getty

At 11:37, on a November day this week 51 years ago, President John F Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, landed in Air Force One at Dallas's Love Field, for a day of soft campaigning. Kennedy wasn't yet an official candidate for a second term, and his trip through Florida and into Texas was supposedly non-political, but, as Newsweek wrote in the days afterwards, "the President was wearing that certain smile" as he shook the hands of the crowd at the airport, before driving away in the back seat of the presidential limousine.

What happened next changed ­history: "In a shattering moment, at once random and calculated, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was cut down in his 47th year by an assassin's bullet," ran Newsweek's special report. "In a brief span of 30 minutes, incredibly, this tanned, vigorous, hale young man – the youngest ever elected President – was dead. The tumble of events was stunning and incomprehensible – the more so in all the uncertainties of the 'dangerous, untidy world' John Kennedy had diagnosed just eight days before his death and now bequeathed to his successor."