John F Kennedy, the 35th President of the USA, was shot dead as his motorcade passed through the streets of Dallas, Texas on this day in 1963 - an event so shockingly etched into the consciousness that more than 50 years later, people still ask: “Where were you when it happened?”
The video above recalls the events of the tumultuous day. At approximately 12.30pm the President and his wife Jackie were waving at crowds lining the streets from the back of an open-top limousine when a gunman or gunmen opened fire. Kennedy was hit twice - the second a fatal wound to his head. He was rushed to hospital, but doctors could not save him and he was pronounced dead at around 1pm.
His body was put in a casket and taken aboard Air Force One where, in the presence of Mrs Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B Johnson was sworn in as the new President of the United States as the plane returned to Washington.
At the time of the shooting, the motorcade had been passing a grassy knoll on Elm Street. In its immediate aftermath, amid panic and confusion, numerous police officers and spectators ran up the knoll and from a bridge over Elm Street to the area behind a five-foot fence on its crest, believing some of the shots to have originated there.
Other witnesses believed shots had come from the Texas Book Depository, a seven-storey building which was situated behind the motorcade at the time of the assassination. The Depository building was eventually sealed, and a roll call of employees was made.
One of those discovered missing was Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old former marine who had lived in the Soviet Union and was married to a Russian bride. Just 70 minutes after the assassination, Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theatre cinema, initially for the murder of a Dallas policeman.
Meanwhile, a rifle had been found on the sixth floor of the Book Depository. First identified as a German Mauser, police later stated that the weapon was an Italian Carcano which had been bought by one AJ Hidell – an alleged alias of Oswald.
Oswald would never stand trial – he was shot dead two days later by local nightclub owner Jack Ruby while being escorted to a car for transfer from Dallas Police Headquarters to the County Jail, as television cameras broadcast events live to the nation.
A seven-man board of enquiry into the assassination, chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren, reported in September 1964. It concluded that Oswald had acted alone in killing Kennedy; several historians, researchers and commentators have subsequently been severely critical of the Warren Commission’s findings and the highly selective choice of evidence used to reach its conclusion.