Nov. 22, 1963, was one of the darkest days in U.S. history, when a young president who had captured the imagination of the world was gunned down sitting with his wife in a motorcade driving through the heart of Dallas.
The assassination of John F. Kennedy shook the confidence of a country that had emerged less than a generation earlier, triumphant from World War II, and set the stage for the social upheavals of the rest of the decade.
The official explanation for the assassination was that a nonentity named Lee Harvey Oswald had carried off the murder entirely on his own — for reasons that have never been fully explained. This left many Americans unsatisfied and gave rise to the modern industry of conspiracy-mongering that still defines much of American political discourse.
The various investigations and reports on the case amounted to uncounted millions of words, some of which have been locked away in government archives for more than a half century, holding secrets that could never have seen the light of day during the Cold War.
It’s hard to imagine that they contain new information that will make a difference to anyone still living. But to professional researchers, historians and the undying band of assassination buffs still poring over the film shot by Abraham Zapruder in Dealey Plaza — and to ordinary citizens who care about their country’s history and the integrity of its political institutions — the promise of clearing up the remaining questions about that awful day in 1963 is a matter of consuming interest. (Yahoo News/AP)
Here’s a look back at that dark day.