JFK Assassination Photos From the Day the President Was Killed and the Nation Mourned

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President John F. Kennedy, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally ride in a limousine moments before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, on November 22, 1963. REUTERS

Fifty-four years ago to this day, the nation and the world were forever changed as President John F. Kennedy rode through the streets of Dallas.

The gunshots that hit the beloved U.S. president on November 22, 1963 also pierced the hearts of Americans, leaving a country in mourning and its citizens glued to their black-and-white television sets as news rolled in that a sniper was behind the attack.

The assassination carried out by Lee Harvey Oswald was a traumatic point in American history, and still raises curiosity.

The recent release of thousands of previously classified records from the FBI and the CIA has helped paint a better picture of the interworkings of the agencies at that time, but have not completely quelled the notorious conspiracy theories that have long surrounded his death.

Photographs captured Kennedy's last day and a nation dealing with his loss.

JFK Arrival to Texas
President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, arrive on Air Force One in San Antonio, Texas on November 21, 1963. The President was killed in Dallas the following day. Kennedy Library Archives/Newsmakers

President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, arrived in San Antonio, Texas on November 21—one day before the shooting.

They were greeted at the airport and would be in Dallas the next day.

Photos of Kennedy's schedule show his plans for the trip. A full map of his route through the Texas city was posted in newspapers, and residents crowded along the streets of Dallas to see the president.

JFK Schedule
The President's schedule gives a detailed look at his plans while in Texas MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images
JFK Schedule
Kennedy's schedule on November 22, 1963—the day he was assassinated. MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

As Kennedy rode in the back of a Lincoln Continental convertible through Dealey Plaza, in downtown Dallas, gunfire rang out.

Many in the crowd thought it was fireworks.

Kennedy was first hit in the back of his neck, slightly to the right of his spine. Moments later, he was hit again: a fatal shot to the head.

JFK motorcade
The President and his wife ride through the streets of downtown Dallas and wave to residents. Getty
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Streets were full of residents hoping to see President Kennedy and his wife, Jackie Kennedy. Getty
Photo of gunshot
Mary Ann Moorman who was watching the President's motorcade captured the only known photo of Kennedy's killing—just after the first gunshot rang out. Getty

The Associated Press sent out bulletins to newsrooms across the nation within minutes. The first read: President Kennedy was shot.

More bulletins were sent, detailing blood on the president's head and Jackie Kennedy crying out, "Oh no!" after she realized what had happened.

Home footage captured by Abraham Zapruder, now famously known as The Zapruder Film, captured the moments of Kennedy's assassination.

After the second gunshot hit Kennedy in the head, Jackie Kennedy frantically tried to crawl across the trunk of the convertible to get help.

The aftermath was heartbreaking and surreal.

Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president on Air Force One after Kennedy's death. Jackie Kennedy stood by him, still covered in blood stains.

LBJ
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as President of the United States on Air Force One after the Kennedy assassination Getty

The nation was left in disbelief. Americans who were alive then remember where they were and what they were doing the moment they heard the news of Kennedy's killing.

The four days between his death and funeral were traumatic—so much so that network television got rid of commercial breaks, The Washington Post reported.

Kennedy's body was brought to the U.S. Capitol in a horse-drawn caisson, as was used in military deaths. His coffin was draped with an American flag and left there for 21 hours so hundreds of thousands of Americans could pay their respects.

JFK funeral
Jackie Kennedy stands in all black at the funeral of her husband, President John Kennedy. Their son, John, who was three at the time saluted his father. Getty
JFK
President Kennedy's flag-draped casket is carried at his funeral. Getty
JFK Funeral
The procession for President Kennedy's funeral Getty
JFK Assassination Photos From the Day the President Was Killed and the Nation Mourned | U.S.