48 years ago …November 24, 1963
It was a Sunday and my husband, myself and a close friend were in our NY City apartment. grieving over the assassination of President Kennedy. We were also glued to the TV set because the accused killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was about to be transferred from the Dallas police station to a nearby county jail.
Nowadays we are used to 24 hour news broadcasting and instant replays. In 1963, however, it was a big deal to be watching this event “live” and we didn’t want to miss a bit of it. The TV screen showed the halls of the Dallas Police station, jammed with reporters and we had no inkling of the dramatic events that were about to unfold before our very eyes.
Suddenly the door opened and Oswald was escorted into the room. He was barely before our eyes when a man leaped forward and shot him at close range. None of us could believe what we’d seen.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo above was shot by Robert H. Jackson of the Dallas Times-Herald. It is amazing that he could react so quickly. That same picture had flashed before our eyes but was soon obscured as a roomful of men wrestled the shooter to the ground. It wasn't long before he was identified as Jack Ruby...a well known man about town
Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, had gained admittance to the Police station by impersonating a newspaper reporter. No one thought to check for weapons and it was easy for him to draw his gun and fatally wound the 24 year old Oswald. Ruby was tried and convicted of murder but he petitioned for a second trial and died in 1967 of cancer before he could be tried again. (He went to his death convinced that he’d been poisoned with “cancer cells”.)
Ruby never explained why he shot Oswald and speculations have been going on for years as to their connection with the crime syndicate and the assassination of President Kennedy. When I hear those arguments it never fails to take me back to that November day in 1963 and to the shock of watching an execution take place before our eyes and the eyes of a stunned nation