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November 23, 2023

3 Powerful Snaps of the Final Moments of John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963

In 2013, there was a story in TIME magazine, regarding previously unpublished images of President Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas, Texas, in 1963. The color pictures, snapped in the moments before the US president was shot dead as he rode in an open-top limousine through Dallas on November 22, 1963, were taken by H. Warner King and lay sitting in storage before being found by his daughter, Sonia King.

John and Jacqueline ride in an open-top limousine on the way to the Dallas Trade Mart, Nov. 22, 1963, where Kennedy was to give a speech later in the day.

Her father had been an amateur photographer in New Zealand during World War II, but was working as a jewelry wholesaler in Dallas when he took the snaps.

“My dad arranged to be in town the day he heard Kennedy was coming to Dallas because he wanted to take pictures. He knew Dallas really well, and he knew where to go to get close to the motorcade,” she told the magazine. “The cars passed him and he photographed John and Jackie. In one photo, they’re smiling right at him.”

Ms King, who was 10 at the time of the shooting, says her father returned to New Zealand in 1975 after retiring, taking the color slides with him. He died in 2005 and Ms King was going through his possessions recently when she came across a red box labelled November/December 1963 Kennedy.

Despite ill political winds in Texas, the Kennedys were greeted on Nov. 22nd by cheering throngs in Dallas.

“I found these pictures right away. Now, 50 years later, his photographs of the Kennedys finally see the light of day.”

But shots capturing the aftermath of the shooting with the motorcade taking the fatally injured president to hospital are missing, possibly out of respect.

“I think he may have deliberately destroyed them,” Ms King said. “The assassination was at the forefront of my father’s mind for a long time.”

Kennedy’s well-wishers crowded close to his limousine as the motorcade neared Dealey Plaza.

The photos feature on the cover of the November 25 US edition of the magazine to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

(All photos by H. Warner King)


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