A Clip of the Zapruder Film the Moment Kennedy is Shot

By Kevin Williams
  1. Jackie Kennedy's Traumatic Moment in Dallas

In this brief clip of the Zapruder film, one can clearly see Jacqueline Kennedy's horror at the sight of her husband's fatal gunshot wound:


According to John K. Lattimer, a Lincoln and Kennedy assassination and autopsy expert, Jackie Kennedy was severely traumatized by the assassination. Jackie suffered amnesia of the events following the murder of her husband and had no memory of the events taking place for several seconds immediately after her husband's head exploded in her face as she was peering intently into his face, only inches away, asking, "What's the matter, Jack?" She does not remember rising to let him fall down on the seat where she had been sitting, or being precipitated onto the rear of the automobile, as it jerked forward, or scrambling back into the seat. She does remember holding her husband's shattered head together during the frantic ride to the hospital.

According to the September 6, 2003 edition of The Boston Herald, Jackie Kennedy was so traumatized by the assassination that she contemplated suicide:

"A traumatized Jacqueline Kennedy spoke repeatedly of suicide and asked a priest to pray for her death in the months after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 ... It is so hard to bear," she told her confidant, Reverend Richard McSorley before his death in 2002.

According to McSorley, Jackie Kennedy's mental health began deteriorating in the spring of 1964 after her husband's assassination. Her husband and her young son Patrick had both died within a few months of each other, and in her depression, she was contemplating suicide. It was at this time that McSorley began counseling her. McSorley was "very aware historically of what had happened to Abraham Lincoln's widow after the assassination." Mary Todd Lincoln lapsed into a lifelong depression after her husband's assassination.

  2. Moments Before the Assassination

Just moments before the tragedy, President Kennedy, Jacqueline, and Nellie Connally can be seen happily enjoying the moment as the motorcade makes its' way towards Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.

The Dallas motorcade photo.
  3. Jackie Kennedy's Reaction to the Assassination

On November 21, 1963, the First Couple left the White House for a political trip to Texas, stopping in San Antonio, Houston, and Fort Worth that day. After a breakfast on November 22, the Kennedys flew from Fort Worth's Carswell Air Force Bas to Dallas' Love Field on Air Force One, accompanied by Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie. The First Lady was wearing a bright pink Chanel suit. A 9.5-mile (15.3 km) motorcade was to take them to the Trade Mart, where the President was scheduled to speak at a lunch. The First Lady was seated next to her husband in the limousine, with the Governor and his wife seated in front of them. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife followed in another car in the motorcade.


After the motorcade turned the corner onto Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, the First Lady heard what she thought to be a motorcycle backfiring and did not realize that it was a gunshot until she heard Governor Connally scream.

Photo moments before President Kennedy is assassinated.

Within 8.4 seconds, two more shots had rung out, and she leaned toward her husband. Another shot struck the President in the head. Shocked, she climbed out of the back seat and crawled over the trunk of the car. Her Secret Service agent, Clint Hill, later told the Warren Commission that he thought she had been reaching across the trunk for a piece of the President's skull that had been blown off. Hill ran to the car and leapt onto it, directing her back to her seat. The car rushed to Dallas' Parkland Hospital, and on arrival there, the president's body was rushed into a trauma room. The First Lady, for the moment, remained in a room for relatives and friends of patients just outside.


A few minutes into her husband's treatment, accompanied by the President's doctor, Dr. Malcolm Perry, she left her folding chair outside Trauma Room One and attempted to enter the operating room. Nurse Doris Nelson stopped her and attempted to bar the door to prevent her from entering. She persisted, and the President's doctor suggested she take a sedative, which she refused.

"I want to be there when he dies," Jackie told Burkley. He eventually persuaded Nelson to grant her access to Trauma Room One, saying: "It's her right, it's her prerogative."

Later, when the casket arrived, the widow removed her wedding ring and slipped it onto the President's finger. She told aide Ken O'Donnell, "Now I have nothing left."


After the president's death, she refused to remove her blood-stained clothing and regretted having washed the blood off her face and hands. She continued to wear the blood-stained pink suit as she went on board Air Force One and stood next to Johnson when he took the oath of office as President. She told Lady Bird Johnson, "I want them to see what they have done to Jack."


A week after her husband's assassination, Kennedy was interviewed in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, on November 29 by Theodore H. White of Life magazine. In that session, she compared the Kennedy years in the White House to King Arthur's mythical Camelot, commenting that the President often played the title song of Lerner and Loewe's musical recording before retiring to bed. She also quoted Queen Guinevere from the musical, trying to express how the loss felt. Upon leaving the White House for the last time, Kennedy asked her Secret Service drivers to arrange her trips so that she would never accidentally glimpse the old mansion.


Her steadiness and courage after her husband's assassination and funeral won her admiration around the world ... She spent a year in mourning, making few public appearances; during this time, Caroline told one of her teachers that her mother cried frequently.


(Source: Wikipedia: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis)


"It is strange but true .. for truth is always strange .. stranger than fiction."- Lord Byron

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