She looks around the empty room, begins to unbutton her single glove, and lights herself a cigarette, adding smoke to the shimmering air. Ken O'Donnell, desperate to take off, heads toward the cockpit. He can be blunt. O'Donnell wasn't Kennedy's gatekeeper; he was the gate. Now he runs into McHugh and orders the general to get the plane in the air. After the casket fight at Parkland, O'Donnell fears that Air Force One will be refused air clearance or even intercepted by swarms of local cops. In the confusion, he is not aware that their chief is on the plane.
McHugh has already spoken to Colonel Swindal, who gave him the message that McHugh now passes along: President Johnson wants the plane grounded until he's sworn in. O'Donnell takes his case for immediate departure to Johnson himself, who is still conferring with his Texas assembly in the stateroom. Johnson, citing Robert Kennedy's alleged advice, will not be moved.
Hughes, an old family friend, and he was afraid somebody was going to take the thing away from him if he didn't get it quick. Judge Hughes arrives, wearing a brown dress with white polka dots. She is a tiny woman. In photographs, she almost disappears. They see Johnson in the stateroom. The president has risen out of his gold-upholstered chair, ready to be sworn in.
The room begins to fill. The temperature continues to climb. Marie Fehmer palms the typewritten oath to Judge Hughes. But they still need a Bible. Larry O'Brien, excusing himself to Jackie, finds a Catholic missal in the bedroom's nightstand drawer. It is in a small box, still wrapped in cellophane. It is possibly a gift, something that somebody, somewhere, had thrust into Kennedy's hands, perhaps even on this last trip to Texas. Now O'Brien tears open the box and hands the book to Judge Hughes. Ken O'Donnell follows O'Brien into the stateroom.
Johnson sees him: "Would you ask Mrs. Kennedy to come stand here? You just can't do that, Mr. He paces in the hallway, his hands on his head— hysterical is the word he later uses to describe himself. Finally he walks into the bedroom. Jackie is combing her hair. At least I owe that much to the country. Jackie Kennedy comes out of the bedroom. The room falls silent. She has taken off her single bloody glove, but she has not changed her clothes or made use of the blue towels.
Twenty-seven observers crowd onto the eagle-adorned carpet in the stateroom of Air Force One. It has been ninety-eight minutes since President Kennedy died. Cecil Stoughton climbs up on a couch, pressing himself against a wall. He has a semi-wide lens, a new Hasselblad 50mm, but he still has trouble making the shot.
Most of them can't hear Judge Hughes over the whine of the engines coming to life. Johnson chooses to swear rather than affirm, adding, for good measure, four words that are not in the oath: "So help me God. She grabs Jackie's hands. Chief Curry leans toward Jackie. I'm fine," she says before she slowly makes her way to the aft cabin. She drops into a seat beside her husband's casket. She will not move from it. Johnson shakes hands with the congressmen, the pool reporters, and his staff.
In Stoughton's pictures—in the less-seen frames before and after the photograph that will come to define the moment—some faces are smiling. In the crush of the moment, few people notice the man standing in the back, Stoughton's flash lighting up his spectacles, a steel briefcase in his hand. Johnson issues his first official order as president: "Now, let's get airborne.
Chief Curry, Judge Hughes, Sid Davis, and Stoughton—with his precious film still in the camera around his neck—dash off the plane and down the ramp. Air Force One 's doors are locked shut behind them. There will soon be stories that have Judge Hughes taking the Catholic missal with her and in her shock handing it to a mysterious man, never to be seen again. In fact, the missal ends up in Lady Bird's purse. She will show it secretively to Liz Carpenter, and they will worry for a moment that it's a Catholic book, one more of the day's accidental crossings.
It looks as new as it did the day it was made, its soft black leather cover embossed with a cross. Colonel Swindal lifts Air Force One into the sky. Davis, watching from the tarmac, is shocked by the steepness of the ascent—"almost vertical," he says. It's as though Swindal wants to leave not only Dallas but also the earth. Whenever he and Kennedy were flying to the same city, he would ask for permission to come aboard, to be allowed to share a little of Kennedy's spotlight, to wave from the top of the same ramp.
Those requests were always refused—Kennedy always citing security concerns, Johnson always believing his exile was for more personal reasons. The Kennedy people dismissively called him Rufus Cornpone, the sort of man capable of ruining a good suit just by wearing it.
Evelyn Lincoln says later that Johnson's repeated demotion to Air Force Two "bothered the vice-president more than anything else. He looks around the stateroom. Jackie Kennedy had helped decorate it. Soon he will have much of it torn out. The crowded plane is largely silent, muffled by a thick blanket of shock. The smoke-filled air slowly begins to cool. Only Johnson is active. In the stateroom, he wolfs down a bowl of bouillon and begins mapping a route, like a pilot,through the coming hours and days.
He calls Walter Jenkins and asks him to begin arranging meetings—with Cabinet members, with White House staff, with legislative leaders, his old friends and foes in the Senate. It's impossible to know when Johnson first begins seeing in his mind's eye the things he will do, but the opportunity to do them he sees right away. To the rear of the stateroom, Jackie Kennedy sits next to the casket, which lies along the left-hand wall of the cabin, lashed into place with bracing straps.
Red bronze and weighing several hundred pounds, it was the best one Clint Hill had found at Vernon Oneal's funeral home in Dallas. It had been delivered polished to Parkland, but now it's chipped and scratched, scarred by the fight at the hospital and the frantic push up the ramp. There are broken bolts where the handles had been. She cries for the first time. Burkley makes his way back to join them. Passing the vacant bedroom, he notices the door is ajar. On one of the beds, lying on a newspaper, he sees Jackie's bloody glove, dried stiff as a cast, as though her hand were still in it.
He finds Mary Gallagher and brings her back to the bedroom, pointing at the glove with his own bloodstained arm. Johnson retreats to the bedroom to change his sweat-soaked shirt. He summons O'Donnell. While he's dressing, Johnson asks O'Donnell to stay by his side—to help with the transition from Kennedy to Johnson, from Massachusetts to Texas, from to You know that I don't know one soul north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and I don't know any of those big-city fellows. I need you.
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O'Donnell is noncommittal. He leaves the bedroom and returns to the aft cabin, to Jackie and the casket. The day's losses are not only personal; they are also professional. The center of gravity has shifted. Lady Bird hears one of the Secret Service agents whisper, in what she later calls "the most desolate voice," "We've never lost a president in the Service. Roy Kellerman assigns most of his agents to Rufus Youngblood, the new man in charge. Clint Hill will stay assigned to Jackie. He sits mostly in silence, going over the day's events, the same few seconds that will play on a loop for the rest of his life.
Kennedy shouted, 'They've shot his head off,' then turned and raised out of her seat as if she were reaching to her right rear toward the back of the car for something that had blown out. I forced her back into her seat and placed my body above the president and Mrs. As I lay over the top of the backseat, I noticed a portion of the president's head on the right-rear side was missing and he was bleeding profusely. Part of his brain was gone.
I saw a part of his skull with hair on it lying in the seat. At some point, Hill visits Jackie at the back of the plane. Hill," she says, reaching out for his hands. Johnson asks Moyers, Valenti, and Carpenter to work on the speech he will deliver when they arrive at Andrews. We'll have plenty of time later to say more. He reads it to himself:. This is a sad time for every American. The nation suffers a loss that cannot be weighed. For me it is a deep personal tragedy. I know the nation, and the whole free world, shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy bears. I will do my best.
That is all I can do. I ask God's help—and yours. Johnson takes out a pen and changes a few words " We have suffered a loss…. The world shares the sorrow…. Now it reads: "I ask for your help—and God's. Air Force One receives a weather report warning of storm clouds ahead.
Be advised of a severe weather area from forty miles west of Greenwood, Mississippi, to twenty miles west of Blytheville, Arkansas, extending one twenty miles, one hundred and twenty miles to the east, for tornadoes, tops five zero thousand, fifty thousand feet. Colonel Swindal begins a quick climb. He ascends higher than he had ever flown with President Kennedy, high enough to see clearly the curvature of the earth, and for the first time it hits him. In a letter to William Manchester, the author of The Death of a President, Swindal describes the moment: "As the sun set on the flight from Dallas, flying over the storm clouds at forty thousand feet and darkness coming on so fast because of our high speed toward the East, suddenly realizing that President Kennedy was dead I felt that the world had ended and it became a struggle to continue.
Rufus Youngblood wants Johnson to spend the night in the White House. Johnson is irritated by the suggestion. He doesn't want his arrival to look like a palace coup. If you can protect us at the White House, by God you can protect us at home, too. Moments later, there is another call from the plane.
Someone has remembered that the vice-president had been so powerless that he has only a commercial telephone line to his house. On the ground, linemen from the White House Communications Agency get to work on something more secure. The connection between the plane and Hyannis Port, routed through the White House, is weak. Kennedy," Ayres says. Johnson here for you. Johnson cups the receiver with his hand and looks at his wife. Like Ayres, he too doesn't know what to say.
Kennedy says. I know you loved Jack, and he loved you—". Some of the Kennedy people have asked Johnson to bar the press from Andrews, to make their touchdown as invisible as possible. They don't want to make a spectacle of the bronze casket or the blood-soaked Jackie. Kilduff, whose code name is Warrior, talks over the radio to deputy press secretary Andrew Hatcher, code-named Winner, at the White House.
When Kilduff walks back to tell Jackie of the decision, she seems to approve of it. Now Kilduff falters. He knows that Texas was Jackie's first political trip since the death nearly four months ago of her newborns on, Patrick—that President Kennedy thought the sound of cheering might help wash away some of her grief. Kilduff had also lost a son, four-year-old Kevin, who drowned while his father was away with the president.
Now the damaged parents lean into each other, and together they talk about loss. Johnson has not ruled out a military response to the assassination.
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He's got to know he's dealing with a man of determination. If the Soviet Union is behind the killing, or Cuba, or Vietnam …. A few minutes earlier, Johnson was told about the bespectacled man and the contents of his metal briefcase. His name is Ira Gearhart. His code name is Satchel. His briefcase holds a collection of bulky packets, each bearing wax seals and the signatures of allthe Joint Chiefs. By Manchester's account, one contains cryptic numbers that will permit Johnson to talk to the prime minister of Great Britainand the president of France in four minutes.
Another holds the codes to launch a nuclear attack. The rest contain the infamous Doomsday Books, a range of retaliation scenarios—Retaliation Able, Retaliation Baker, Retaliation Charlie—and the estimated number of casualties that would result from each.
ANGEL IS AIRBORNE
It is rare for Gearhart not to be near the president when he is out of the White House, though at least twice today, Satchel and his suitcase were separated from both of his presidents, at the Trade Mart and at the hospital. Now Johnson has the means to order the country to war. General Clifton wants to make sure his message to the ground has gone through: A helicopter will carry Johnson to the White House. McNamara should be on it, he says again.
Ken O'Donnell rises to his feet. I'm going to have a hell of a stiff drink. I think you should, too. She has never had a Scotch in her life. Colonel Swindal radios ahead to make arrangements for his landing. The … "—and like so many others, Swindal struggles with the following combination of syllables—"President Johnson will deplane at the front of the aircraft. And we need a forklift at the rear of the aircraft, and Lace will deplane from the right front.
Lace—Jackie—will deplane from the right front, away from the forklift, away from the body, away from the cameras and the lights. Swindal doesn't know that Dr. Burkley has joined the long line of men on their knees in front of her, next to the casket. He tells her they will be landing soon. Maybe she would like to change her clothes, wash away the blood.
No one within earshot needs to hear more. They understand that the ramp at the right front of Air Force One will go unused. The Irish wake continues in the aft compartment. Kilduff gulps back gin. Whole bottles of Scotch are emptied. The men remember the Celtic folk songs loved by the man in the box, and through their tearful smiles they talk about what should happen now, how the president, their president, should be sent off and how he should be remembered.
They talk about Lincoln, about parades and horses pulling black carriages. And they talk about grave sites and eternal flames. The men believe it should be lit in Boston, next to the grave of baby Patrick, father and son and city forever united. O'Donnell tells Jackie not to let anyone change her mind about that. But her mind is already making its own journey, to a hillside in Arlington, Virginia, tracing the steps her husband will travel from here to there. Jackie sends Dave Powers forward with a message. She wants Bill Greer, the agent who drove the limousine, to drive the ambulance already waiting at Andrews to carry the body to Bethesda Naval Medical Center.
In that interview with Bob Hardesty, Johnson talks of the people clustered in the tail of his plane: "It was a peculiar situation that they sat back in the back and never would come and join us," he says. Charles Roberts and Merriman Smith frantically type their all-important pool reports. Smith had lost his manual portable typewriter somewhere along the way and is stuttering away on one of the plane's electrics—"having a hell of a time writing," Roberts later recalls.
Roberts bangs more ably, driving out sheet after sheet. The reporters receive frequent visitors, mostly men who want the record—this singular historic record—made straight. Burkley wants it known that he was with the president when he died. Even Johnson comes up to visit with them, two or three times, asking if they have all the facts they need.
Now, during the last visit, Roberts looks up at Johnson and thinks, Mr. President, I know you want to talk, but I've got a lot of work to do. He manages to keep this thought to himself. Occasionally, the reporters ask questions of the grief-heavy passengers slumped around them.
Roberts talks briefly to Roy Kellerman, the Secret Service agent, his eyes brimming with tears. He also watches Evelyn Lincoln weeping and Pam Turnure, her mascara streaked across her cheeks. Other passengers have spent the flight with their foreheads cupped in their hands, disappearing into their own universes, invaded only by the occasional sob from elsewhere in the cabin and the chugging of typewriters.
He notes that no one raises a shade or opens a curtain for the entire flight. Angel's passengers do not see the sun set. It's been night from beginning to end.
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It is now P. Great banks of floodlights have been set up; they are snapped off so that Colonel Swindal can see his way. He taxis to a stop inside a socket bordered by White House—bound helicopters and Bethesda-bound ambulances and the quiet, somber crowd, thousands strong, that's filled the spaces in between.
Kennedy's staff members walk from the passenger compartment through the stateroom, on their way to the back of the plane. Johnson kisses Evelyn Lincoln again. Murphy succeeds Richard McGregor, who will work on longer-term projects. Murphy is currently head of fastFT, the award-winning digital service that delivers market-moving news and views 24 hours a day.
Gunshot-wound dynamics model for John F. Kennedy assassination
She is from Chicago. In the former, Kerry saw a leader well ahead of his public on the subject of peace with Israel—and who, at age 77, might not be around much longer. And in the latter, he saw an uncontested prime minister, who, if only persuaded to make the tough compromises most of his countrymen were prepared to accept, could shepherd a deal through the landmines of Israeli politics. He had known almost every president and secretary of state since John F.
And he had seen most of them parachute into the world of Middle East peacemaking, only to walk away frustrated and empty-handed. Times 2 cols. Riddled with these perforations and buffeted by a blast wave as it flew high above the conflict zone, the plane then most likely sheared apart.
Putin, separatist leaders and Ukrainian government! Lamar Alexander in the GOP primary. Sam Nunn, is considered among the top Democratic recruits in the country and one of the best hopes for Democrats to keep a Senate majority. Saxby Chambliss announced plans to retire at the end of the year. That meant June was a total of 1. That is a minimal increase from the prior quarter's Turkey, a fierce opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an open supporter of armed rebel fighters, felt betrayed when the United States backed away from military action against Damascus in September.
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