With USA Today picking up on Gayle Nix Jackson’s search for the original version of her grandfather’s film of President Kennedy’s assassination, Gerda Dunckel’s film of Orville Nix talking about what he saw and heard on November 22, 1963, is timely.
The pink Chanel suit worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on the day her husband was killed is a Shakespearan icon of the tragedy of November 22: a woman’s beautiful garment soaked in her husband’s blood.
“I didn’t want to pander, to become part of the cottage industry of Kennedy books,” says novelist Nicole Mary Kelby about her new book, The Pink Suit. .”This book is not about cute clothes. It’s about how Jackie Kennedy set out to redefine how Americans defined themselves. Mamie and Ike Eisenhower (the Kennedys’ predecessors in the White House) were Grandma and Grandpa.”
This book isn’t even a book about Jackie Kennedy (she only appears once and is referred to throughout only as “the Wife”). Rather, it is a book about something that is now almost equally important: How November 22 shaped the way Americans understand themselves.
As the United States lurched towards war over Soviet missiles in Cuba in October 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy refused the suggestion that she leave her husband in the White House and move to a safer location.
After killing Lee Harvey Oswald on national television, Ruby, the owner of a Dallas nightclub, usually denied that he was part of any conspiracy. On other occasions he intimated that he might have a different story. In June 1964, he asked Chief Justice Earl Warren to bring him to Washington to testify; Warren refused.
John and Jackie Kennedys sent out a Christmas card every year. They were about to send one in November 1963 when tragedy struck. The Kennedy’s never-sent 1963 Christmas card is now a collector’s item; one sold for $45,000 in 2006.
“Just as the president’s car was passing by, I heard what sounded like fireworks to a ten year old child. I remember turning my head from side to side trying to see where they were coming from. It sounded like different directions. All of a sudden, Jacqueline Kennedy stood up in the car as it raced away.”
— Bren Young of Camdenton, Missouri, who was in Dealey Plaza at age 10. She spoke to The Lake News Online.
I was in Dealey Plaza yesterday and I saw Bill Newman talking to a TV correspondent. On November 22, 1963, Newman and his wife Gayle and their young two children were among the people closest to President Kennedy when the fatal shot rang out.
I recalled my own conversation with Newman seven years ago. We spoke in the lobby of the hotel where we were both attending a JFK research conference. A plumber by trade, he struck me as a down-to-earth man who accepted the accident that delivered him into one of the most decisive moments in American history, and he lived with it responsibly.