Excerpts from our online
BILL & SUE-ON HILLMAN: A
50-YEAR MUSICAL ODYSSEY
Where Was I?
Our CKX-TV Friday Noon Show on November
22, 1963 was interrupted by an important news bulletin. US President John
F. Kennedy was reported shot while appearing in a motorcade in Dallas Texas.
He had been rushed to hospital. We were all shocked, but resumed our show.
At 1 pm we rushed to the teletype
room to read the news reports as they came in over the wire. The news was
not good -- half an hour later the White House Press Secretary announced
that the President was dead. I spent the rest of the day in the College
dorm TV room watching the emotional television reports.
Years Later: JFK's Air Force One and Dealey Plaza
Fifty years later, Sue-On and I had
cause to recall the events of that fateful day of November 22, 1963. Returning
from a gig in the southern States we stopped at the Wright-Patterson Air
Force base in Dayton, Ohio, to photograph the thousands of aircraft and
artifacts on display at the USAF Museum. The gigantic "hangars" at this
birthplace of aviation contain a multitude of galleries representing all
phases of aviation and space flight. One of the most interesting attractions
is the Presidential Gallery which showcases the various aircraft used by
US presidents through the years. The most popular aircraft is the Air Force
One which flew JFK on his final flights to and from Dallas in November
Not wanting to transport Kennedy's
coffin down in the cargo area the Secret Service agents sawed at cabin
entrance so that the casket could be angled through the door to the cabin
area. We took photos of the repaired cut as we entered and walked through
the aircraft. Among the other photos we took is the area in which Johnson
was sworn in as the new president, as well as the cockpit, conference areas,
galley, communication centre, and the seat where widowed Jackie had sat
across from her late husband's casket during the flight back to Washington,
DC. An incredible and very important page from 20th Century history.
A year after the Air Force One
visit we spent an afternoon in Dallas touring the Sixth Floor Museum area
at Dealey Plaza. It was an eerie feeling staring through the window from
which Oswald fired those infamous shots. After viewing the historic exhibition
which chronicles Kennedy's life, times, assassination and legacy, we descended
to the street to stand on an "X" that marks the spot where the first bullet
hit the president. We also explored the controversial "grassy knoll."