Froggy (infrogmation) wrote,

50 Years Ago Today in Dealey Plaza - One Young Couple's Story

On 22 November 1963, Gayle and Bill Newman with their sons Clayton and Bill Jr. went to see President Kennedy as the motorcade drove through Dallas. They became some of the closest witnesses to the assassination.


"We were just in front of the Triple Underpass on Elm Street and we were at the edge of the curb getting ready to wave at the President. [...] The President's car was some fifty feet still up infront of us coming towards me. There was a shot and the President, I don't know who was hit first, but the President jumped up in his seat and I thought it scared him, there was a firecracker, cause he looked, you know fear, and then, as the car got directly in front of us, well, a gunshot apparently from behind us hit the President side, side of the temple." -- Bill Newman

"We were standing next to the curb so the children could see the President. And the car was just up a piece from us. This shot fired out, and I thought it was a firecracker. And the President kind of raised up in his seat, and, uh, I though he was going along with a gag or something, and all of a sudden this next one popped, and Governor Connally grabbed his stomach and kind of layed over his side. And then another one, it was all so fast, and President Kennedy reached up, grabbed, looked like he grabbed his ear, and blood just started gushing out, and my husband said 'Quick, get down!' and I grabbed the baby and we ran and layed down on the grass and I got on top of him. It was just right by us when it all happened. -- Gayle Newman.

Usually in Presidential motorcades, a car or truck with press photographers rode right in front of the President’s limousine to take photos along the route. Somehow on this day in Dallas the press car wound up 8 cars behind the President’s. No doubt there’s some perfectly innocent reasonable explanation for that. Anyways. Some of the reporters jumped out when they got to where the assassination just took place, and seeing the Newmans on the ground covering their children, told them to stay put for a moment while they took their photos.


Jay Watson of WFAA radio & tv, per his own description, "commandeered a car" to bring the Newmans directly to the Channel 8 television studios. (Understand this was before the era of portable hand held television cameras.) A colleague was assigned to tell the studio to be ready to go live and to be sure to record it (not yet the usual practice). Within 20 minutes of the shooting, the Newmans were recounting what they saw on live television.

Oh, for anyone not familiar with Dealey Plaza, "behind" them where they thought the shots came from was the north knoll and pergola. The 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository was to the left and in front of them. The Newmans were not interviewed by the Warren Commission.
Tags: assassinations, coup d'etat, dallas, dealey plaza, jfk, kennedy
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