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Air Force One’s Worst Day

21 Nov 2013, 17:47 UTC
Air Force One’s Worst Day
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Inside the president's airplane in the frantic hours after JFK's assassination.

There have been other presidential airplanes, but the one known, prosaically, by its serial number SAM26000 is the most famous by far. It’s the one Jackie Kennedy had a hand in designing, the first built specifically to transport the U.S. head of state around the world, and the scene, 50 years ago, of some of the most emotional moments in presidential history.
On November 22, 1963, 28 people crowded into the stateroom of this specially outfitted Boeing 707 to watch Lyndon Johnson take the oath of office, with the widow of assassinated President John F. Kennedy standing at his side. Just inside the rear door of the aircraft, in the aft galley, sat her husband’s coffin. The presidential party had arrived in Dallas only three hours earlier, on this same airplane.
The locations that figured most prominently in that awful day have become part of American lore — Dealey Plaza, the book repository, the grassy knoll. For this 50th anniversary, two writers turned their attention to the airplane that carried one U.S. president to Dallas and brought a different one back to Washington the same day. Washingtonian editor Garrett ...

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