Dakota Datebook

That Day in Dallas

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

 

Most Americans alive on today’s date in 1963 likely remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was brutally murdered during his final, and tragic, presidential Dallas motorcade. North Dakota native Clint Hill has it etched in his life – he was in the fray.

Born in Larimore and raised in Washburn through high school, he went on to Concordia College in Moorhead. Following graduation in 1954, he served as an Army intelligence agent. Four years later, Hill joined the elite Secret Service, whose mission since Theodore Roosevelt’s term included guarding the first family.

After JFK’s election, Hill was assigned to protect Jacqueline Kennedy and was behind the presidential convertible that day in Dallas.

In the recent book, The Kennedy Detail, Hill writes: “I heard an explosive noise from my right rear … I turned toward the sound … scanned the … limousine and saw the President grab at his throat and lurch to the left. I jumped off the running board and ran toward his car. I was so focused on getting to the President and Mrs. Kennedy to provide them cover that I didn’t hear the second shot. Once in the back seat, I threw myself on top of the President and First Lady, so that if another shot came, it would hit me instead.”

In an interview with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Hill said, “I still have a sense of responsibility and a guilt feeling I should have been able to do more, because I was the only one who had that chance.”

That historic series of gunshots and heartbeats on Dealy Plaza, took a devastating toll on the North Dakota native that lasts to this day.

Dakota Datebook written by Steve Stark

Sources:

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://jfklancer.com

Blain, Gerald; McCubbin, Lisa; Hill, Clint: The Kennedy Detail, (2010) Simon and Schuster

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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