On This Day: JFK's final hours before he was assassinated

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November 22, 1993 will mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through Dallas moments before Kennedy was assassinated, November 22, 1963
President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy ride through Dallas in the moments before his assassination on 22 November 1963. (Getty)

This article is part of Yahoo's 'On This Day' series

A light drizzle had fallen in the parking lot outside Hotel Texas in the city of Fort Worth, but that didn’t bother the 8,000 people who had gathered in the rain.

It was the morning of Friday, 22 November 1963, one of the darkest in American history.

The throng were waiting for one person, their president, John F Kennedy.

Read more: Cambridge newspaper 'received anonymous tip-off' minutes before JFK assassination

“There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth,” he told the sodden crowd when he emerged to rapturous applause at about 8.45am. “And I appreciate your being here this morning.”

Four hours later, he was gone. He was 46 years old.

- PHOTO TAKEN 22NOV1963- President John F. Kennedy delivers a speech at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas several hours before his assassination in this November 22, 1963 photo by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton obtained from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.  The 40th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination will be on November 22, 2003. Texas Governor John Connely, who was seriously wounded in the assassination, looks over the president's shoulder at right. 
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(Credit : JFK Library/The White House/Cecil Stoughton)
President John F Kennedy delivers a speech at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, hours before his assassination. (Getty)
Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy reaches out to the crowd gathered at the Hotel Texas Parking Lot Rally in Fort Worth,Texas, in this handout image taken on November 22, 1963. Friday, November 22, 2013, will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. REUTERS/Cecil Stoughton/The White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library  (UNITED STATES: Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY)  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
President John F Kennedy reaches out to the crowd gathered at the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth on the morning of his death. (Reuters)
John F. Kennedy speaking to crowd in front of Hotel Texas, Fort Worth. V.P. Lyndon B. Johnson to JFK's left and Texas Governor John Connally over JFK's left shoulder, Senator Ralph Yarborough over right shoulder, and State Senator Don Kennard to JFK's right, on ht emorning of November 22, 1963. (Photo by UTA Special Collections/Star-Telegram Collection/TNS/Sipa USA)
US president John F Kennedy speaking to the crowd in front of the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, with vice president Lyndon B Johnson to his left and Texas governor John Connally over his left shoulder. (Getty)

In truth, the crowd were waiting for two people, and JFK was smart enough to know he wasn’t the only star of the show.

“Mrs Kennedy is organising herself,” he announced to those who had waited in the rain.

“It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it. We appreciate your welcome.”

Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline would still be wearing her choice of outfit that day, a pink Chanel suit, two hours after her husband was shot in Dallas, stained with his blood as she stood on board Air Force One for the swearing-in of his successor as president, Lyndon B Johnson.

- PHOTO TAKEN 22NOV1963 - U.S. Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson (C) takes the presidential oath of office from Judge Sarah T. Hughes (2nd from L) as President John F. Kennedy's widow first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (2nd from R) stands at his side aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas just two hours after Kennedy was shot in this November 22, 1963 photo by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton provided by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. Attending the swearing in are Assistant Presidential Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff (L-front), Special Assistant to the President Jack Valenti (L-Rear), U.S. Congressman Albert Thomas (2nd from L-Rear) and U.S. Congressman Jack Brooks (Far R). The fortieth anniversary of Kennedy's assassination will be on November 22, 2003. 
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(Credit :JFK Library/Cecil Stoughton/The White House)
Lyndon B Johnson, centre, takes the presidential oath of office on board Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas on 22 November 1963 as president John F Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, second from right, stands at his side. (Getty)

Kennedy was shot in the back and in the head in Dealey Plaza at 12.30pm while riding in the presidential motorcade. He was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

The images from that day would become emblazoned on to the American public consciousness.

The moment Kennedy was assassinated, the heartbreaking scene on Air Force One featuring a shellshocked Jackie, the shooting on live television two days later of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man charged with the president’s murder, by Jack Ruby… these events would never leave Americans.

That morning 58 years ago, however, it had been business as usual for Kennedy.

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The speech he gave in the parking lot in Fort Worth wasn’t his last - after addressing the crowd he went back inside Hotel Texas to deliver another in the ballroom.

The Kennedys were on a two-day, five-city tour of Texas, a trip that aimed to unite Democrats ahead of the next presidential election. 

In the hotel, Kennedy told the Forth Worth Chamber of Commerce: “We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom. 

“We will continue to do… our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead.”

He again paid tribute to Jackie, hinting he knew he wasn't always the main attraction.

“Two years ago, I introduced myself in Paris by saying that I was the man who had accompanied Mrs Kennedy to Paris," said the president.

“I am getting somewhat the same sensation as I travel around Texas. Nobody wonders what Lyndon and I wear.”

(Original Caption) President John F. Kennedy with his wife, who was introduced at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, November 22nd. Later in the day, an assassin firing into the President's open car in Dallas hit the President and the Governor of Texas, John Connally.
Jackie Kennedy with her husband, president John F Kennedy, at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast on 22 November in Fort Worth, Texas. (Getty)

After the speech, the Kennedys and their entourage returned to their hotel suite, as they had time to spare before setting off for the next stop on their trip: Dallas.

In the suite, an aide drew Kennedy’s attention to a negative advert in a local newspaper, according to William Manchester's book, Death Of A President, published four years later in 1967.

Kennedy told Jackie: “We’re heading into nut country today.”

According to the book, Kennedy then foreshadowed his own death, referencing the couple’s chaotic arrival at the hotel at 11.30pm the previous evening.

“Last night would have been a hell of a night to assassinate a president,” he said.

“I mean it. There was the rain, and the night, and we were all getting jostled. Suppose a man had a pistol in a briefcase.”

The Kennedys travelled by motorcade from the hotel that morning to Carswell Air Force Base to take the 13-minute flight to Dallas.

They touched down at Love Field, where the couple spent minutes shaking hands and talking to those gathered.

Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy descend the stairs from Air Force One after arriving at Love Field in Dallas,Texas, in this handout image taken on November 22, 1963. Friday, November 22, 2013, will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. REUTERS/Cecil Stoughton/The White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library  (UNITED STATES: Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY)  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Former US president John F Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy descend the stairs from Air Force One after arriving at Love Field in Dallas,Texas, on 22 November 1963. (Reuters)
- PHOTO TAKEN 22NOV1963 - President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas less than an hour before his assassination in this November 22, 1963 photo by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton obtained from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The 40th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination will be on November 22, 2003.
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(Credit : JFK Library/The White House/Cecil Stoughton)
President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, less than an hour before his assassination on 22 November 1963. (Getty)

The rain had stopped. And the plastic bubble top had been left off their vehicle. The Kennedys were accompanied in their car by Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie. The vice president and his wife were in an another car in the motorcade.

It would take ten minutes to drive to downtown Dallas - Kennedy was scheduled to make a speech at a luncheon at the city’s Trade Mart.

Read more: White House delays release of JFK assassination records

Just before the shots fired from the Texas School Book Depository building facing Dealey Plaza rang out, Mrs Connally said to Kennedy: "Mr President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you.”

His reply, “No, you certainly can’t”, are believed to be his last words.

Prior to the assassination, President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through the streets of Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Included as an exhibit for the Warren Commission. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
From left to right: President John F Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie Connally ride through the streets of Dallas on 22 November 1963. (Getty)

The Warren Commission that investigated the assassination concluded that three shots were fired, one of which missed its target, one passed through Kennedy and hit Mr Connally, who recovered from his wound, while the third hit Kennedy in the head.

Oswald was arrested 70 minutes after the shooting and charged with murdering the president and Dallas police officer JD Tippit, who was shot dead three miles from Dealey Plaza, 45 minutes after Kennedy was shot.

Picture dated 22 November 1963 of US President John F. Kennedy's murderer Lee Harvey Oswald during a press conference after his arrest in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby on 24 November on the eve of Kennedy's burial. AFP PHOTO (Photo by STRINGER / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
Lee Harvey Oswald, centre, was charged with killing US president John F Kennedy. (AFP via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - NOVEMBER 19:  The eternal flame burns at the gravesite of the 35th President of the United States John F. Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery, on November 19, 2013, in Arlington, Virginia. Friday November 22, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination during his visit to Dallas, Texas, in 1963.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The eternal flame burns at the grave of President John F Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery. (Getty Images)

While being transferred from city to county jail two days later, Oswald - who maintained he was a “patsy” for Kennedy’s assassination - was shot in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. 

The shooting was broadcast live on television. Oswald died at Parkland Memorial Hospital, the same hospital where Kennedy was pronounced dead, less than two hours later. Ruby died in prison in 1967.

Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 25 November. More than 16 million people visited the site in its first three years.

His grave is lit with an eternal flame. Jackie, who died of cancer in 1994, is buried alongside her husband.

Watch: The Queen unveils John F Kennedy memorial in Surrey

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