November 22, 1963 President Kennedy Is Assassinated
Richard Nixon Forgets Where He Was When He Heard The News
Almost everyone in the United States who was living on November 22, 1963 can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the shocking news that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
That is everyone except Richard Nixon.
Forget the conspiracy theories and all the other unsolvable aspects of the JFK assassination. Nixon’s supposed amnesia of that day is one of the oddest stories related to the assassination.
When I say everyone remembers where they were, I mean everyone. If you think I am mistaken about this, ask anyone who is over the age of 55, and you shall see this is no exaggeration.
Maybe this story about Kennedy’s 1960 Presidential opponent Richard Nixon not recalling where he was is apocryphal, maybe not.
There are three stories attributed to Nixon’s recollection (or non-recollection) of that memorable day.
The first story where Nixon says he can’t remember where he was or what he was doing when he learned Kennedy was assassinated is based on an FBI memo of February 23, 1964. What the circumstances were of the FBI asking Nixon for his recollections of the assassination are unclear. Since I have never seen a copy of the actual memo, only mentions of it on other web sites, I don’t know if it is true.
If it is true, and Nixon could not recall where he was, it is unbelievable and highly bizarre.
The other versions of that day, where Nixon remembers where he was, are recounted in magazine articles. In a November 1964 Readers Digest article Nixon says he heard about the momentous event after coming off a flight to New York (from Dallas no less), getting into a taxi and a man ran over from a corner and told him the President had been killed.
The final version was told to Esquire Magazine nine years later in 1973 is similar to the previous story. Nixon claims that his cabbie “missed a turn somewhere and we were off the highway…a woman came out of her house screaming and crying. I rolled down the cab window to ask what the matter was and when she saw my face she turned even paler. She told me that John Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas.”
The only thing wrong with both of these stories is that a newspaper article from November 23, 1963 shows a “shocked” Nixon after arriving in New York, apparently before getting a taxi at the airport.
There are other claims that Nixon was still in Dallas at a Pepsi Cola meeting when the shots were fired at Kennedy.
The day after the assassination Nixon released a statement saying “The assassination of the President is a terrible tragedy for the nation. Mrs. Nixon and I have sent a personal message expressing our deepest sympathy to the members of the family in this hour of sorrow.” Unlike other dignitaries who were asked where they were when they heard the news, no reporter at the time bothered to ask the former Vice-President where he was when he found out the President was dead.
One can only hope that years later, Nixon remembered attending Kennedy’s funeral. At least there is photographic proof. Nixon and his wife Pat were among the last to pass in the funeral line at the Capitol to gaze upon the fallen president’s casket on November 25.
Richard Nixon was a man who had a hard time remembering things. It’s a good thing he eventually got a tape recorder.