The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CNHI News Service Originals

November 22, 2013

An eyewitness to history

(Continued)

“I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout of all the people on the streets,” Wright said. “It was a great welcome from a multitude of people through the streets of Dallas.”

Wright saw the president’s car turn off onto Elm Street shortly before noon and, just a few minutes later, he heard a gunshot.

“My first instinct was that it was the backfire of a car,” he said. “And then I heard the second one and I said, ‘Doggone it, some goofy guy is trying to fire a 21-gun salute!’ But when I heard the third shot, I realized that the cadence was just off so I knew it wasn’t that.”

In seconds, Wright’s car had passed beneath the sixth floor window of the Texas Book Dispository building from which authorities say Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed Kennedy.

“I didn’t see him, but there were several others in the motorcade who claimed he was leaning out with the rifle in his hands,” Wright said.

Wright recalled a secret serviceman running beside the president’s car — which was carrying JFK, wife Jackie, Connally and his wife Nellie — and observing the agent diving inside the convertible to push the president down.

“Then the car shot forward, and I saw Ms. Kennedy leaning against the backseat looking out of the back of the car,” said Wright. “The secret serviceman was pulling her back into the seat. We followed the car to (Parkland Hospital). When we got there, I saw people helping carry the president inside and also helping Connally, who had been shot also.”

A few minutes later, said Wright, he and others were informed that Kennedy had died.

“A man came up to me with a microphone and wanted me to make a comment, but I just couldn’t express myself,” he said. “I’ve been in war, been overseas, been in combat missions, and that was bad, but something about this was just devastating.

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