Dallas November 22, 1963
ROBERTS, Newsweek: The curtains were drawn. They had gotten the president's casket aboard by removing some seats from the back of the airplane. They were waiting for the press--the president, I later learned, had insisted on some press witnesses to his swearing-in--and for Judge Sarah Hughes. . . . She arrived and was taken aboard. Then Kilduff gave us the signal to come aboard. I can remember Smitty as we crowded aboard the plane. We went up the forward ramp and were pushing back toward the midsection of the plane. Smitty looked down at his right hand and said, "My God, I've lost my typewriter."
SMITH, UPI: All of the shades of the larger main cabin were drawn. The interior was hot and dimly lighted. Kilduff propelled us toward the president's suite two thirds of the way back in the plane. I wedged inside the door and began counting. There were 27 people in the compartment. Johnson stood in the center with his wife, Lady Bird. U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes, a kindly faced woman, stood with a small black Bible in her hands, waiting to give the oath. . . . The compartment became hotter and hotter. It developed that Johnson was waiting for Mrs. Kennedy, who was composing herself in a small bedroom in the rear of the plane.
SID DAVIS, Westinghouse Broadcasting Co.: It was just a matter of minutes until Mrs. Kennedy appeared. I was startled when I saw her because I had never seen her with a hair out of place. . . . her right stocking was saturated with blood from her husband's head wound. By that time, it was caked on her right leg. I saw some blood on her skirt and on her right wrist. She had said at the time she didn't change her dress because she wanted the people of Dallas to see what they had done.
ROBERTS, Newsweek: [Kennedy aide] Larry O'Brien found a Bible in the president's sleeping compartment . . . . They had the oath read over the phone from Washington on a secretary-to-secretary basis, and then it occurred to someone--how do we know that this is the presidential oath? [Johnson aide Jack] Valenti got Deputy Attorney General [Nicholas] Katzenbach and made sure that this was word-for-word the oath, and it was typed out on a little Air Force One memo pad. The judge had that and the Bible.
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE
DAVIS, WBC: Before [the judge] asked him to raise his right hand, Johnson said he wanted a glass of ice water. They brought a tumbler . . . and I remember Johnson, he could swallow a whole glass of water at one time. He just gulped [it] down.
SMITH, UPI: Judge Hughes held out the Bible, and Johnson covered it with his large left hand. His right arm went slowly into the air, and the jurist began to intone the constitutional oath, "I do solemnly swear [that] I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States."