'A Sad Day for All People. ' John F Kennedy Was America's Youngest President When He Was Killed 50 Years Ago. Marion McMullen Looks at How Some of the World's Leading Figures Reacted to the Terrible News

The Journal (Newcastle, England), November 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

'A Sad Day for All People. ' John F Kennedy Was America's Youngest President When He Was Killed 50 Years Ago. Marion McMullen Looks at How Some of the World's Leading Figures Reacted to the Terrible News


JOHN F Kennedy was just 46 when his life was ended by a sniper's bullets in Dallas 50 years ago.

The assassination shocked the world as news of the violent death of the 35th president of the United States spread.

TV and radio programmes were cancelled and ordinary people wept in the streets as news of the tragedy quickly unfolded.

Conspiracy theories about the assassination have abounded ever since and there have been books, TV documentaries and films, but the first reactions to JFK's death on November 22, 1963, still reflect the stunned horror of people all over world.

First Speaker John McCormack told the New York Times on hearing the news: "My God, my God, what are we coming to?" Lyndon B Johnson was sworn in as the new president 99 minutes President John F visiting England in June after the death of JFK with his widow Jacqueline witnessing the ceremony - her stockings still stained with her husband's blood.

Johnson said: "This is a sad day for all people.

We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed.

For me it is a deep personal tragedy. I know the world shares the sorrow that Mrs Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do."

Former president Harry S Truman, who was 79 at the time, said : "I am shocked beyond words at the tragedy that has happened to our country. The President's death is a great personal loss to the country and to me. He was an able president, one the people loved and trusted."

Queen Elizabeth said she had been left "shocked and horrified" at the news and British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Hume said: "There are times in life when the mind and heart stand still and one such is now. He was young and brave and a great statesman. The loss is deep and sad because he was the most loyal and faithful of allies."

Eighty-eight-year-old Sir Winston Churchill also issued a statement saying: "This monstrous act has taken from us a great statesman and a wise and valiant man."

He added: "Those who come after Mr Kennedy must strive the more to achieve the ideals of world peace and human happiness to which his presidency was dedicated."

Labour leader Harold Wilson said: "I am sure I am speaking for everyone in this country when I express our deep horror at this evil act. …

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