Fifty years ago the nation was shocked and saddened by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s home state of Massachusetts was especially heart-broken by this tragedy. Local services and memorials following the news were held as mourners tried to ease the pain. —
Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite
Frank H. Hill/ Globe Staff
Nov. 22, 1963: Stunned readers saw the first pictures and read the first news clips from Dallas reporting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The simple sign, "President is dead," alerted those farther back in the crowd to the terrible news.
Ollie Noonan Jr./Globe Staff
Nov. 23, 1963: A mourner was overwhelmed by grief outside a memorial service being held for President John F. Kennedy at Harvard University.
Dan Sheehan/Globe Staff
Nov. 23, 1963: A solitary mourner paused with his hand over his heart in front of a portrait of John F. Kennedy in the window of Hammond Organ Studios of Boston. The lettering next to the picture of JFK says, "Words are insufficient."
Philip Preston/Globe Staff
Nov. 22, 1963: When confirmation of the president's death came, thousands poured from places of employment in Boston. At St. Anthony's Shrine on Arch Street, the rector ordered a high Mass of requiem for the president. It was delayed because of the crush of more than 2,000 men and women. A second Mass was scheduled in the downstairs chapel, but both services overflowed with people. Memorial candles by the hundreds were lit for the repose of the soul of President John F. Kennedy at the shrine.
Boston Globe Archive
Nov. 25, 1963: Throngs of people gathered in front of 83 Beals St. in Brookline, where President John F. Kennedy was born May 29, 1917. A memorial conducted by veterans organizations was held and a wreath and black bunting was placed on the commemorative plaque that the town of Brookline had erected in 1961.
Dan Sheehan/Globe Staff
Nov. 23, 1963: A detachment of 26th Yankee Infantry Division fired the first of periodic volleys from a 105-mm cannon on Boston Common at 7 a.m. Guns sounded each half-hour until sunset. On the day of the president's funeral a 21-gun salute boomed at noon over Boston Common.
Louis Russo/Globe Staff
Nov. 25, 1963: Memorial services for President John F. Kennedy were held in front of the State House timed precisely to those at Arlington National Cemetery. In reverent silence stood nearly 10,000 mourners including 2,000 National Guardsmen at rigid attention along Beacon Street. Church bells from the steeple of nearby Park Street Church and St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral tolled solemnly. The religious-military services concluded on the mournful notes of Taps blown by buglers from three different points. As the notes finished, a squadron of 12 jet fighters of the 102d Tactical Fighter Wings zoomed over the gold dome of the State House.
Edison Farrand/Globe Staff
Dec. 24, 1963: Young Freedom Riders visited the John F. Kennedy birthplace in Brookline. Sixty-five young people age 13 to 16, accompanied by 15 adults, visited the president's birthplace for a brief memorial service, as they traveled though Boston to attend local rallies. Many were among those arrested and jailed with 15 New England clergymen in November in a civil rights protest in Williamston, N.C.
Dec. 17, 1963: The Christmas scene on historic Boston Common had this sign set amid a tableau of a shepherd and his flock. A manger scene is in the center background with the State House at the far right. For the first time the Christmas lights in the State House would not be used. Governor Peabody has asked that they be turned off during the 30-day period of mourning for the late President John F. Kennedy.
Charles Dixon/Globe Staff
Jan. 19, 1964: At the Mass being celebrated for President John F. Kennedy at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, 1,800 people were invited into the service and, outside, 3,000 onlookers surged against police lines. Onlookers at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross waited in 29-degree cold to catch a glimpse of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. As she appeared in the arched doorway of the cathedral at the end of the service, the throng that had waited hours for a glimpse of her raised their voices in admiration and they applauded. "It was beautiful," Mrs. Kennedy said holding the hand of Cardinal Cushing as she emerged from the cathedral.
Paul J. Connell/Globe Staff
Jan. 19, 1964: Jacqueline Kennedy wiped a tear away at the Mass for her husband. Cardinal Cushing celebrated a solemn pontifical requiem high Mass in memory of the late President John F. Kennedy at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Erich Leinsdorf played Mozart's "Requiem Mass in D Minor,' and 180 members of three choruses: the New England Conservatory, the Harvard-Radcliffe Choral Society, and the Chorus Pro Musica participated in this solemn occasion.
Charles Dixon/Globe Staff
Jan. 19, 1964: This photo of the crowd in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross was taken from an MTA elevated car. Trains slowed to a crawl as they passed the cathedral so as not to disturb the solemn services being held inside.
Dan Sheehan, Globe Staff
April 5, 1964: John McFarland of Angel Memorial Hospital with a bull being shipped to Bolivia as part of the Heifer Project Settlement, in memory of President John F. Kennedy. The Heifer Project, founded in 1944, sent farm animals and birds to countries where economically the food supply was short. The families receiving these gifts were given training and paid the gift forward by passing on the first offspring of the livestock to another family in need.
Charles B. Carey/ Globe Staff
April 16, 1964: Opening day at Fenway Park raised $36,818 for the Kennedy Memorial Library Fund, as a share of the ticket proceeds were designated to aid the Memorial Library. At that time the library was expected to be built in Cambridge. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy who had said he was "anxious to get a look at that boy" — meaning 19-year-old rookie Tony Conigliaro — was as delighted as the rest of the fans when in his first time at bat, Conigliaro hit the first pitch for a home run.
Joseph Runci/Globe Staff
Nov. 15, 1964: Young mourners gathered at the State House for opening of ceremonies of John F. Kennedy Memorial Week as ordered by Governor Endicott Peabody. More than 1,000 people stood at the foot of the State House staircase as the voices of the Harvard Glee Club rang out. There were special exhibits all week in the Hall of Flags and Doric Hall to commemorate the one-year anniversary.