November 22, 1963: a day that probably doesn’t need an introduction. On this day, 51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Because of all the research we’ve done for the What She Knew Trilogy, we think the four following bits of history will be new to you.
1) How Long of a Break Was There in Major Network Programming Following the Assassination?
The Kennedy assassination in many ways changed the face of news and television. Prior to September of 1963, network news broadcasts had only been 15 minutes long, and they had just changed to thirty. When CBS famously interrupted As the World Turns to broadcast the news, they didn’t even have a live anchor on film, they just ran an announcement over a news placard. News had still not become the destination event it would evolve into over the next few decades.
But for the next four straight days, the major networks suspended all programming as they covered the Kennedy assassination, death, and upcoming funeral, and other related events, such as the assassination of Kennedy’s supposed killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, two days later. Americans weren’t getting their news about the event from the newspaper, they were getting it from radio and television.
The event brought the news into a new era, and those four days of suspended programming would not be seen again until September 11th, the next event that truly changed the face of the news.
2) Who Died at Parkland Hospital?
After being shot, Kennedy was rushed to nearby Parkland Hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead. Two days later, Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was being transferred to a more secure jail when he was shot in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters by Jack Ruby. Oswald was taken to Parkland Hospital where he eventually died. Several years later, Ruby himself became ill and died of a pulmonary embolism due to lung cancer at, that’s right, Parkland Hospital.
3) What Happened to the Window From Which JFK Was Shot?
John F. Kennedy was shot from the window of the Texas Book Depository. So, a few years later, the building’s owner, David Harold Byrd had the window removed and framed to be hung in his home. However, a subsequent owner of the building, Aubrey Mayhew, claimed that actually Byrd had removed the wrong window and so Mayhew took out the supposedly correct window. Both Mayhew and Byrd’s son have tried to sell the windows on eBay, running into problems when dealing with the other’s claims.
4) Who is the Only President to be Sworn in by a woman?
Lyndon Johnson is America’s only President to have been sworn in by a woman. However, Johnson wasn’t trying to make a statement. They needed to find someone to swear him in quickly, so they pulled Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes to administer the Presidential oath. LBJ was sworn in aboard Air Force One while the others onboard – including Jackie Kennedy – looked on as the new President of the United States took over for the now-deceased John F. Kennedy.
November 22, 1963 will remain one of the darkest days in American history. By this one event, a new future was forged. We can never go back, never know what might have been if JFK had lived. We can only wonder. This is one reason why we wrote the What She Knew Trilogy.
We hope we were able to bring to light some little known facts in history and maybe even peak your interest in our ‘what if’ saga.
K.R. And T.L.