THE PITILESS GLARE of the Texan sun was making Jacqueline Kennedy very uncomfortable, but she dared not put on her blue-tinted sunglasses; she must keep on waving and smiling at the crowds cheering along both sides of the route. It was a joy-day in Dallas. The enthusiasm of the town’s folk had surprised all those in the procession. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, seated on the right of the huge blue Lincoln-Continental bearing the number-plate GG-300 of the Columbia district, was thoroughly enjoying it all. He kept turning from right to left, and back again, waving and beaming that wide presidential smile.
He had been warned to expect something quite different from this from the hair-trigger-tempered Texans. He had been told that they would spit in his face - as had happened a few weeks before to Adlai Stevenson. This was, after all, the domain of his bitter rival, Senator Barry Goldwater, who wanted to turn back the clock to the days of King George III.
Yet now he was being received with acclamation, “Howdy Jack” and “Viva Jacuelina” resounding on every side, received yet more warmly than in Paris, Mexico or even Berlin. The very weather had changed for him, despite the warnings of last evening’s papers, which had forecast rain and mist. The temperature was 85° F in the shade. It Was Friday, November 22nd.
The Presidential procession, was preceded only by motorcycle outriders from the local police, they had been ordered not to use their sirens at all, perhaps so that the cheers of the crowd, expected to be far less warm, should be heard to the full.
At midday, the procession arrived at the center of Dallas, that wide-spreading town in Texas everything and everybody is larger than anywhere else, whose real population center is relatively tiny. There is just the one principal road, Main Street, reflected in several parallel byways.
President Kennedy glanced at the small-whitewashed building, pseudo-Spanish in style, standing at the sharp corner where Harwood Street turns into Main Street. This was the ‘City Hall,’ whose basement houses the police headquarters. From a window of his office on the third floor, District Attorney Wade was watching the passing of the cavalcade. Just above him was the detention center for “his” suspects...
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