Fallen Leaders

Lady Bird Johnson - Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1963

On November 22, 1963, at approximately 12:30 p.m., local time, President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas, while riding in a motorcade with his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife, Nelly Connally. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Hospital where, at 1 p.m., the President was pronounced dead.

Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, were also riding in the motorcade, two cars behind the President’s car. Unharmed, they too were rushed to the hospital. On the death of President Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson became President of the United States. He was sworn in at approximately 2:30 p.m., on board Air Force One, moments before returning to Washington, DC, with Mrs. Kennedy and the late President’s casket on board.

At her husband’s side, Lady Bird Johnson found herself at the center of the tragic events that brought the country to a standstill. Two or three days after the assassination, she recorded her recollections. Speaking slowly, choosing her words carefully—and with the sensibilities of a poet—she told what she saw and gave voice to the heartbreak of a day that is emblazoned in our national memory.

Transcript of Lady Bird Johnsonís audio diary from November 22, 1963, page 1

So detailed were Mrs. Johnson’s observations, this typed transcript of her tape recorded account served as her official statement to the Warren Commission, the body created to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.

Some of the handwritten notes are in the hand of Mrs. Johnson; others are in the hand of Abe Fortas, a prominent Washington, DC, attorney and close friend of the Johnsons who often advised them.

National Archives, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texas

Excerpt:

An excerpt from the original recorded media is available in the Flash version of this exhibit.

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Transcript of Lady Bird Johnsonís audio diary from November 22, 1963, page 2

So detailed were Mrs. Johnson’s observations, this typed transcript of her tape recorded account served as her official statement to the Warren Commission, the body created to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.

Some of the handwritten notes are in the hand of Mrs. Johnson; others are in the hand of Abe Fortas, a prominent Washington, DC, attorney and close friend of the Johnsons who often advised them.

National Archives, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texas

Excerpt:

An excerpt from the original recorded media is available in the Flash version of this exhibit.

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President and Mrs. Kennedy deplane from Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, photograph by Cecil Stoughton, November 22, 1963

National Archives, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts [NLK-WHP-ST-STC420-51-63]

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Lady Bird Johnson working on her diary in the second floor bedroom of the White House, photograph by Robert Knudsen, November 15, 1968

Mrs. Johnson’s account of November 22, 1963, proved to be the first entry of an audio diary that Mrs. Johnson maintained throughout her years as First Lady.

National Archives, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texas [NLLBJ-D2440-7a]

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