Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was shot to death while riding in an open-car motorcade with his wife and Texas Governor John Connally through the streets of downtown Dallas. Ex-Marine and communist sympathizer Lee Harvey Oswald was the alleged assassin. Kennedy was rushed to Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes later. He was 46.
Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was three cars behind President Kennedy in the motorcade, was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States less than two hours later. He took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field airport. The swearing in was witnessed by some 30 people, including Jacqueline Kennedy, who was still wearing clothes stained with her husband’s blood. Seven minutes later, the presidential jet took off for Washington.
The next day, November 23, President Johnson issued his first proclamation, declaring November 25 to be a day of national mourning for the slain president. On that day, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Washington to watch a horse-drawn caisson bear Kennedy’s body from the Capitol Rotunda to St. Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral for a requiem Mass. The solemn procession then continued on to Arlington National Cemetery, where 19 heads of state and government, including French President Charles de Gaulle, as well as representatives from 92 other nations gathered for the state funeral. Kennedy was buried with full military honors on a slope below Arlington House, where an eternal flame was lit by his widow to forever mark the grave.