Friday, November 22, 2013

What role did the weather play in the Kennedy assassination?

The front page of  The Montreal Gazette from Saturday, November 23, 1963.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy, assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. There was a chance that the horrific events of  that day might not have happened at all had the weather forecast been right. The day was grey and gloomy as the President arrived at the Airport in Dallas earlier that morning. Weather records indicate that 0.06" of rain had fallen with more forecast for the day. This would likely mean a plexiglass bubble would have been used on the Presidents 1961 midnight blue Lincoln Convertible to keep him and the First Lady dry. Unfortunately as the motorcade was set to leave for the cross town journey at 11:50am the weather turned bright and sunny and even warm for late November. The mercury at Love Field in Dallas would reach 70F (21C) after a cool overnight low of 55F (13C). Other sources I checked had the overnight lows as cool as the 40's. But the warm Texas sun and southerly winds between 15-30mph would push temperatures up and with the unexpected sunshine, the President decided not to go with the plexiglas covering. Shots would ring out at Dealey Plaza at 12:30pm killing the 35th President of the United States and seriously injuring Texas Governor John Connally.

By all accounts the 60's were a turbulent decade that seemed to start that fateful day back in 1963. The death of  JFK greatly shocked and saddened Americans and Canadians alike including my mother, who was 33 at the time and decided to keep scrapbooks of every news clipping surrounding the assassination and aftermath. The books she kept were a wealth of information when I decided to take a peek through them somewhere around my 10th birthday. I actually read each and every article, sparking my interest in newspapers. It is hard to believe 50 years has passed and yet the pain and loss continue for many, as well as the questions and theories as to how it all played out. One thing was certain, the world lost a courageous leader that day, far too early.

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