As we mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Friday, November 22, 2013, and as a follow-up to my review of the fine PBS documentary, American Experience: JFK (see blog post 11/11/13), I urge you to check out the CBS News special anniversary online stream which will be available beginning at 1:38 p.m. ET on Friday, November 22, at http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/jfk-assassination/
Whether you were old enough to watch this coverage unfold in real time on your black and white TV set in November 1963 or whether you were yet to be born, CBS News‘ landmark coverage of the assassination and the four days that followed promises to be as moving, riveting and ultimately as heartbreaking as it did back in the day. It will be comforting, at least, to see beloved CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite carry the weight of the nation on his shoulders as the drama-filled reports started trickling in.
The online stream, introduced by Face the Nation anchor Bob Schieffer, is set to begin at the exact minute the first breaking network TV news bulletin alerted viewers (then happily watching the popular soap opera, “As the World Turns”) that JFK had been shot in Dallas. The four-day stream will culminate with JFK’s funeral coverage on Monday, November 25, 2013.
Fifty years ago, Bob Schieffer, then a young reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, conducted the first interview with Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother as they travelled en route to Dallas to see her son in custody. On this past Sunday’s edition (11/17/13) of CBS News’ award-winning Face the Nation commemorating the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Schieffer interviewed another previously unheard player in the JFK assassination drama, Luci Baines Johnson.
On November 22, 1963, Luci, the youngest daughter of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, was a sophomore at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. In this unprecedented interview, Luci vividly recalls how she and her classmates first heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, and how she wandered out onto school grounds, frightened and dazed. Fearful that her parents were shot as well, she ran away from the Secret Service man sent to fetch her.
Her recollections of the painful days and weeks that followed, most especially the prolonged funeral and mourning period leading up to her family’s expeditious move into the White House, are heartfelt and extremely touching. Although our vantage points were quite different, Luci and I shared some common ground on November 22, 1963 … we were both 16 years old, we both lost our President, and our lives would never be the same.
My memories of that day are recalled in my previous blog post, American Experience Profiles JFK (11/11/13). You can find Luci Baines Johnson’s at http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/featured/stories/luci-baines-johnson-remembers-jfk-assassination-5376.shtml –Judith Trojan
(Note: All of CBS News’ coverage of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination will be available at www.cbsnew.com/feature/jfk-assassination/ )