On today’s date in 1963, the assassination of U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy caused chaos and confusion around the world, including in Toronto, where the Toronto Stock Exchange was closed in the middle of a session for the first time ever.
The assassination, which was reportedly carried out by former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald, remains a cornerstone of contemporary history. At the time, it caused a stunned reaction around the world. Although the Warren Commission concluded Oswald acted alone, conspiracy theories abound.
“Crowds of excited people lined the streets and waved to the Kennedys. The car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository, gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza,” reads the website of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
“Bullets struck the president’s neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The governor was also hit in the chest. The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital just a few minutes away. But little could be done for the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites, and at 1:00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead. Though seriously wounded, Governor Connally would recover. The president’s body was brought to Love Field and placed on Air Force One. Before the plane took off, a grim-faced Lyndon B. Johnson stood in the tight, crowded compartment and took the oath of office, administered by US District Court Judge Sarah Hughes. The brief ceremony took place at 2:38 p.m.”
JFK PAPERS RELEASED
Last summer, the U.S. government began releasing more than 30,000 files related to Kennedy’s assassination as outlined in legislation drafted in 1992. The most recent batch of documents was released this April.
Experts are still poring over the documents to determine exactly why Oswald carried out the assassination in Dallas more than 50 years ago.
KENNEDY HALF DOLLAR
In 1964, the first Kennedy half dollar was struck by the U.S. Mint, which still uses the design today. Early coins were struck in silver while more recent examples have been struck nickel-clad copper.