This past November marked the 55th Anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.
For many who lived through that tragic event, time stopped the instant the news flashed across the world that our 35th President had been assassinated. That moment is “freeze-framed” and seared within most of our memory forever.
On Thursday, President Trump declassified and approved the release of over 2,800 classified documents related to the 1963 assassination by the National Archives.
The documents thus far shed nothing new regarding the decades-old theories, speculations, and presuppositions as to who killed JFK. Was it the CIA, the mob, the Castro regime, or Oswald — and if it was Oswald, did he act alone?
The tragedy is still surrounded by mystery, over 5-decades later, with more than 60% of Americans believing there’s more to those 8-seconds that we’ll most likely never know.
However, one man who has lived every day recalling the details of that tragic event of November 22nd, 1963 is former Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, who was the first one to reach the mortally wounded president.
In an exclusive interview, Hill now 86 relives the moment he raced from his backup limo towards the presidential limousine and climbed on to the trunk of the accelerating auto, where he quickly spread eagled himself over both the First Lady and the President’s slumped body. He recalls looking down at the President’s face, now resting on the First Ladies lap, and the gruesome image of blood and brain matter everywhere within the speeding limousine.
“One thing that I’ve never been able to erase from my mind is being on the back of the car looking down at the President, who was lying with his face in Mrs. Kennedy’s lap.”
Hill continues, “The right side of his face is up and I can see that his eyes are fixed. There’s blood everywhere. I can see the gunshot wound. In the room that’s in the skull, I can see that there is no more brain matter left.”
Adding, “That is something I could never, and have never been able to, erase from my mind.”
However Hill’s biggest regret is not responding quickly enough to hearing the first gunshot, and believes to this day “he should have been faster” – and blames himself for the President’s death.
That’s a heavy a burden to carry for 55-years, and it’s taken quite a toll on the former secret service agent. The raveling interview by the Sun Online chronicles the aftermath of the assassination, and Hill’s spiral into an emotional abyss.
‘I’m still haunted by the sight of seeing there was no brain left in his head and I almost drank myself to death after JFK’s Assassination.”
“I think I should have been faster,” he said. “My job was to protect them and I was unable to do that.
Adding, “If I had been slightly faster I may have been able to prevent the president’s fatal wound and that has bothered me ever since. It always will – I’m sure.”
After the assassination Hill was assigned to protect the former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and then assigned to protect the new president Lyndon Johnson.
However, it wasn’t until he retired in 1975, when he began to suffer from PTSD, by reliving the assassination in horrific nightmares, forcing him deeper and deeper into seclusion and drinking himself nightly into a stupor
He cut himself off from almost all friends and family and barely saw anyone other than his wife and two children from 1976 until 1982.
Hill acknowledged “I self-medicated with alcohol during that period of time. I just didn’t care about anything and I didn’t want to have any contact with anybody.
Adding, “Friends would come by and I wouldn’t even acknowledge that they were there. I just ignored everything.”
Hill has since reclaimed his life, and his demons of self-doubt have been finally put to rest.
However, he believes President Trump – like JFK – is a target for a potential attack.
“I think it’s much more difficult today,” he said. “The challenges are much greater to protect the president, whoever it might be.