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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. IV - Page 147« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Mrs. John Bowden , Jr. Connally)

Mr. Specter.
Mrs. Connally, tell us what happened at the time of the assassination.
Mrs. Connally.
We had just finished the motorcade through the downtown Dallas area, and it had been a wonderful motorcade. The people had been very responsive to the President and Mrs. Kennedy, and we were very pleased, I was very pleased.
As we got off Main Street--is that the main thoroughfare?
Mr. Specter.
That is the street on which you were proceeding through the town, yes.
Mrs. Connally.
In fact the receptions had been. so good every place that I had showed much restraint by not mentioning something about it before.
I could resist no longer. When we got past this area I did turn to the President and said, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you."
Then I don't know how soon, it seems to me it was very soon, that I heard a noise, and not being an expert rifleman, I was not aware that it was a rifle. It was just a frightening noise, and it came from the right.
I turned over my right shoulder and looked back, and saw the President as he had both hands at his neck.
Mr. Specter.
And you are indicating with your own hands, two hands crossing over gripping your own neck?
Mrs. Connally.
Yes; and it seemed to me there was--he made no utterance, no cry. I saw no blood, no anything. It was just sort of nothing, the expression on his face, and he just sort of slumped down.
Then very soon there was the second shot that hit John. As the first shot was hit, and I turned to look at the same time, I recall John saying, "Oh, no, no, no." Then there was a second shot, and it hit John, and as he recoiled to the right, just crumpled like a wounded animal to the right, he said, "My God, they are going to kill us all."
I never again----
Mr. Dulles.
To the right was into your arms more or less?
Mrs. Connally.
No, he turned away from me. I was pretending that I was him. I never again looked in the back seat of the car after my husband was shot. My concern was for him, and I remember that he turned to the right and then just slumped down into the seat, so that I reached over to pull him toward me. X was trying to get him down and me down. The jump seats were not very roomy, so that there were reports that he slid into the seat of the car, which he did not; that he fell over into my lap, which he did not.
I just pulled him over into my arms because it would have been impossible to get us really both down with me sitting and me holding him. So that I looked out, I mean as he was in my arms, I put my head down over his head so that his head and my head were right together, and all I could see, too, were the people flashing by. I didn't look back any more. The third shot that I heard I felt, it felt like spent buckshot falling all over us, and then, of course, I too could see that it was the matter, brain tissue, or whatever, just human matter, all over the car and both of us.
I thought John had been killed, and then there was some imperceptible movement, just some little something that let me know that there was still some life, and that is when I started saying to him, "It's all right. Be still."
Now, I did hear the Secret Service man say, "Pull out of the motorcade. Take us to the nearest hospital," and then we took out very rapidly to the hospital.
Just before we got to Parkland, we made a right-hand turn, he must have been going very fast, because as he turned the weight of my husband's body almost toppled us both.
Mr. Specter.
How fast do you think he was going?
Mrs. Connally.
I don't know; very rapidly. The people I could see going by were just rushing. We were just rushing by very fast. We arrived at the hospital and sat there what seemed to me like an interminable time, and from what I know was just a few minutes, but the thoughts that went through my mind were how long must I sit here with this dying man in my arms while everybody is swarming over the President whom I felt very sure was dead, and just when I thought I could sit and wait no longer, John
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