Geoff Owen (FT Editor 1980-1991)
In 1963 I was the only FT journalist in the US. At 2pm on November 22nd I returned to my desk after lunch to be greeted with a shout from across the newsroom – “Kennedy has been shot”.
The events of the next few days and weeks, which I spent mostly in Washington, are imprinted in my memory: the signing of the presidential oath of office by Lyndon Johnson in the presence of a blood-stained Jackie Kennedy, the bizarre incident when the president’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters; and, some days later, Johnson’s powerful address to both houses of Congress, which united the nation behind him.
On the Monday after the assassination came the state funeral, which I watched from a vantage point near the Capitol. It was an extraordinarily moving occasion – the dignity of the procession, the silence of the grieving crowd along Pennsylvania Avenue, the tall figure of General de Gaulle along with other world leaders marching behind the late president’s widow. No one who was there will ever forget it.