From the moment it was announced on November 22, 1963 that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated until he was buried four days later, the world’s attention focused on his widow Jacqueline Kennedy. Despite the First Lady’s achievements as a goodwill diplomat, hostess, preservationist and arts advocate, it was the sudden role thrust on her by tragedy which transformed her into an indelible icon. This was the result of a four-day process shaped by several simultaneous elements, including how she behaved and reacted, what she determined for public display, where she wanted it performed and when she timed it, and why she was motivated to make the decisions she did. What she truly experienced as a private person so blended with how she appeared as a public persona, that the two elements become inextricably interwoven. This photo essay traces those four days by keeping her as the central visual focus, from the coffin being transported from Parkland Hospital to Air Force One, his successor’s swearing-in ceremony on the plane and its arrival at Andrews Air Force Base for transport to Bethesda Naval Hospital, the laying in state at the White House, memorial service at the U.S. Capitol Building, funeral at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Parkland Hospital and Air Force One, November 22, 1963 Following the gunfire which struck President Kennedy just after noon, his limousine sped to Parkland Hospital, where efforts were made to determine if his life could be saved. Throughout the ordeal, Jacqueline Kennedy remained at his side, first waiting briefly in a hall and then entering the trauma room, where he was pronounced dead at one p.m. Central Time. Jacqueline Kennedy insisted on entering the ambulance at Parkland Hospital which would transport the coffin of the late President to Love Field where Air Force One waited to return them to Washington, D.C. The presidential party, including Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, followed the Parkland Hospital ambulance carrying the coffin of President Kennedy to Love Field Airport, where the presidential airplane, Air Force One, stood waiting. Mrs. Kennedy sat with her hand on her husband’s coffin, seated in the back of the ambulance with him. The coffin was carried up the stairs through the passenger door of the plane, and to the back where four seats had been removed to make room for it. Still wearing her blood-stained pink suit, Jacqueline Kennedy
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