Weatherford Democrat

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November 22, 2013

Wright: ‘He was truly a beloved president’

On Nov. 22, 1963, former Weatherford mayor and Speaker of the House Jim Wright was this area’s congressman and spent much of that fateful day with and talking to JFK. Though now 90 years old, and 50 years later, his memories have not faded

(Continued)

“We were doing our best to tell him what we knew and what we could put together on that subject. Shortly after when the plane landed, the president looked at us and said, ‘We must consider this conversation this afternoon on the way to Austin.’”

Unbeknownst to both parties, it would be the last conversation Wright and Kennedy would have.

“That day was an emotional roller coaster,” Wright recalled. “Before it was over, it had us all down in the lowest level of despondency.”

Traveling in the sixth car in the presidential motorcade headed through downtown Dallas, Wright followed the others down the 10-mile route through downtown Dallas, heading to the Trade Mart, where the president was to speak at a luncheon.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout of all the people on the streets,” Wright said. “It was a great welcome from a multitude of people through the streets of Dallas.”

Wright saw the president’s car turn off onto Elm Street and, just a few minutes later, heard the first gunshot.

“My first instinct was that it was the backfire of a car,” he said. “And then I heard the second one and I said, “Doggone it, some goofy guy is trying to fire a 21-gun salute!’ But when I heard the third shot, I realized that the cadence was just off so I knew it wasn’t that.”

At the time, Wright’s car had passed beneath the window of which Lee Harvey Oswald was said to be standing with his gun.

“I didn’t see him, but there were several others in the motorcade who claimed he was leaning out with the rifle in his hands,” Wright said.

As Wright’s car headed toward the freeway and to the scene of the shooting, he saw a secret serviceman running beside the president’s car, which was carrying JFK, wife Jackie and Connally, and dive inside to push the president down.

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