Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 20, 2013

'He was truly a beloved president': Former Speaker recalls ride in JFK motorcade



Traveling in the sixth car in the presidential motorcade headed through downtown Dallas, Wright followed the others along the 10-mile route, heading to the Trade Mart, where the president was to speak at a luncheon.

"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 and, just a few minutes later, heard the first 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."

At the time, Wright's car had passed beneath the window where Lee Harvey Oswald was said to be standing with his gun.

"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.

As Wright's car headed toward the freeway and to the scene of the shooting, he saw a secret serviceman running beside the president's car, which was carrying JFK, wife Jackie and Connally, and dive inside 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," Wright said. "The secret serviceman was pulling her back into the seat and 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."

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