No matter what your thoughts are on this tragic day in 1963, one thing is for sure: It happened, and it happened exactly 48 years ago this afternoon on Elm Street in downtown Dallas, just 15 miles from Innovative-IDM.
The first shot hitting Kennedy was captured by AP photographer Ike Altgens who was standing across Elm Street from the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza. Unfortunately, Altgens, by his own admission, froze on rifle report, and didn’t snap another picture until seconds had passed and the motorcade was past him and nearly to the triple underpass.
To hear Altgens tell it later:
“I had pre-focused, had my hand on the trigger, but when JFK’s head exploded, sending substance in my direction, I virtually became paralyzed,” Altgens later told author Richard B. Trask. “This was such a shock to me that I never did press the trigger on the camera.
Altgens’ final photo taken just after the fatal shot shows Jackie Kennedy and Secret Service agent Clint Hill on the back of the Presidential limousine.
“[T]o have a President shot to death right in front of you,” Altgens continued, “and keep your cool and do what you’re supposed to do—I’m not real sure that the most seasoned photographers would be able to do it.” Still, he said, “there is no excuse for this. I should have made the picture that I was set up to make. And I didn’t do it.”