WATCH: Friends, Colleagues React to News of JFK's Death
(WASHINGTON) -- President John F. Kennedy has been the subject of a great many historical tomes and memoirs, but in the days following his death, it was the spoken words of his friends and colleagues, which Americans experienced by way of television. Partisan politics were temporarily put aside to honor the life and service of the 35th president of the United States.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Johnson traveled to Texas as vice president, but returned to the nation's capital on the evening of Nov. 22 as its commander-in-chief. His first public remarks about Kennedy's assassination were delivered on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk was flanked by other members of Kennedy's White House cabinet when he recalled the deceased president's "gallantry and wisdom." He also referred to Lyndon Johnson as "one of our greatest Americans" and asked the nation to support the new president.
Kennedy's Republican opponent during the 1960 election, Richard Nixon, issued a brief statement after the fatal shooting. In honoring Kennedy's memory, Nixon called on Americans to "reduce the hatred that drives men to such terrible deeds."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The president that preceded Kennedy in the White House, Dwight D. Eisenhower, spoke to reporters in New York City. The 73-year-old blamed a "psychopathic" action for taking the Kennedy's life.
Harry S. Truman
Former president Harry S. Truman was at Washington's National Airport when the press caught up with him. Truman, 77, referred to Kennedy as a "good man" and described the president's killer as "good-for-nothing fellow."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. described Kennedy as "a friend to the cause of civil rights." When asked about death threats made on his own life, the activist and clergyman said that he decided to continue his work "even if it means death."
Alabama Gov. George Wallace put himself at odds with Kennedy when he sought to preserve segregation in his state. It was the death of the president that made Wallace's words of consolation, and not political opposition, possible.
Theodore H. White
The Making of the President, 1960 author, Theodore H. White, remembered Kennedy for his "kindliness." The Pulitzer Prize-winning White would later go on to write an essay for Life magazine which, at the urging of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, likened the Kennedy presidency to the fictional court of Camelot.
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