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.