CINCINNATI (AP) – Many items that make up the searing images from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — from the ill-fated presidential limousine, to the gravesite eternal flame, to the historic Air Force One plane where Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office — are available for public viewing 50 years later.
In some cases, officials had to scramble to make that happen.
The Boeing jetliner on which Johnson took the oath of office is in a hangar near the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. Federal budget cuts had halted shuttle bus trips from the museum to the hangar last May, but museum officials decided to resume the tours on a trimmed schedule with the anniversary approaching.
Johnson took the oath of office administered by U.S. District Judge Sarah Hughes of Texas with the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy standing next to him. The plane — built in 1962 for presidential use — was retired by the Air Force in 1998, having flown eight presidents starting with Kennedy.
The eternal flame was recently returned to its spot at Kennedy’s gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia after months of repairs and upgrades. The flame was on a temporary burner in the cemetery visible to tourists during the project.
Among the other items that were part of the events of late November 1963 and are on display around the country:
- The limousine the Kennedys rode in through Dallas when the president was fatally shot is at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.
- The flag that draped the president’s coffin and the saddle, sword and boots from the “riderless horse” in his funeral procession are among the artifacts being exhibited for the first time starting Nov. 22 at the Kennedy Library in Boston.
- A drum and drumsticks from his funeral are among items on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington.
- The Texas School Book Depository from where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shots houses the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
- The suit worn by Texas Gov. John Connally, which has bullet holes and blood stains from the shooting that also seriously wounded him as he rode in the limo, recently went on display at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library in Austin.
Oswald’s rifle and the blood-stained pink suit Jacqueline Kennedy wore that day are not on display. They are among assassination-related items and documents kept by the National Archives and Records Administration.
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