For the next several days, stunned Americans gathered around their television sets as regular programming yielded to nonstop coverage of the assassination and funeral. From their living rooms they watched Mrs. Kennedy, still wearing her blood-stained suit, return to Washington with the president's body.
Many witnessed the murder of accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, on November 24. Viewers followed the saddled, but riderless, horse in the funeral cortege from the White House to the Capitol where Kennedy lay in state. They saw the president's small son step forward to salute as his father's coffin was borne to Arlington National Cemetery.
Television played a significant role in the collective mourning of American society. For the first time, the majority of citizens witnessed ceremonies surrounding the death of a beloved leader, creating a shared experience of the tragedy. Even now, television programming maintains public memory of the assassination by transmitting vivid images from those difficult days to successive generations.
Despite this intimate experience of events surrounding the death of John F. Kennedy, the nation failed to achieve closure. Oswald never confessed, and the facts of the case remain mysterious. The Warren Commission's conclusion Oswald acted alone failed to satisfy the public. In 1976, the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Assassinations reopened investigation of the murder. The Committee reported that Lee Harvey Oswald probably was part of a conspiracy that may have involved organized crime.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Nov. 22, 1963
For some of us, this day remains remarkably vivid in our memories, considering it was forty three years ago. Library of Congress: