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Inside Parkland Hospital & Aboard Air Force One the Day JFK Was Killed

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News
The front page of The Dallas Times Herald after President Kennedy's assassination, on display by the Texas State Archives and Library Commission.

Before that afternoon fifty years ago, neither Sid Davis nor Julian Read could have expected what they’d be called upon to do – much less that they’d both be eyewitnesses to history. 

Davis was a young radio reporter based in Washington D.C.

Read was on the other side of the journalistic fence, serving as press aide for Texas Gov. John Connally.

But they were both on a press bus in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 – the day President John F. Kennedy was shot.

After 50 years of virtual silence, Austinite Julian Read recently opened up to KUT about his experience that day. 

Credit Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, UT Arlington Library Special Collections
Julian Read used a chalkboard to draw diagrams of the seating arrangements in the cars in the motorcade to brief reporters.

After the chaos of the motorcade, where the press bus was just a few car lengths behind the president, Read rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital. He was in search of the governor’s wife, Nellie Connally. “I wanted to know what had happened, because I wanted to be able to talk to the press.”

Listen to an excerpt of his remarks:

Sid Davis was the Westinghouse radio pool reporter in Dallas that day. He traveled from the motorcade onto Air Force One, where he witnessed Lyndon Johnson’s presidential swearing-in ceremony. He said the iconic photo of that moment proved “the Constitution still lives, the Constitution works, and it showed the world the United States was not imperiled here.” 

These recollections appear in “One Day in Dallas,” a 30 minute special report from KUT based on extensive interviews with Davis and Read. Both men describe that day in 1963 in vivid detail.

“One Day in Dallas” airs on KUT News 90.5 FM at 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. today, Nov. 22. You can also listen to and download the entire program below. 

Credit Cecil W. Stoughton, White House Press Office
Sid Davis is just barely visible in this iconic photo of Lyndon Johnson's swearing-in: His face is pointed downward, looking at his reporters' notebook, in-between the three men on the right.

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.
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