March 22, 2021

Glimpse inside Hosting Plans for John F Kennedy before the Fatal Shot in Texas

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Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of the then Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, had elaborate hosting plans for the Kennedys on the day he was shot. 

On November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was fatally shot in Dallas, Texas. Lady Bird Johnson and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson had plans to host the Kennedys overnight. 

The former First Lady's biography, "Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight," by Julia Sweig, details Lady Bird's plans for hosting the Kennedys on the day he was fatally shot. 

John F. Kennedy pictured at his desk in Oval Office in The White House. | Photo: Getty Images


The Kennedys were scheduled to sleepover during their five-city two-day tour in Texas. Part of Lady Bird's plans included possible horse-riding and interesting dinner entertainment. 

Sweig shared that the Johnson's had swapped rooms for the Kennedys' visit so that they would be more comfortable. A hospitality the Kennedys had done for the Johnsons years prior. Sweig wrote about the situation:

"There was something again forced, yet strangely informal and intimate, about these two very different couples playing musical bedrooms."


On top of switching rooms for the President and First Lady, Lady Bird had installed a different bed to help with Kenndey's back pain so he would be comfortable. 

The courteous host had to borrow eight horses and brought in her own I'm case Jacqueline Kennedy wanted to horse ride. The host planned a special dinner too. 

However, the day ended with her becoming the First Lady of the United States. 


She had her staff learn to pour champagne on the rocks, as that was how Jackie preferred to drink it. She had also made arrangements for a barbeque on the banks of the Pedernales River.

The preparation for the dinner included baking 20 pecan pies and eight loaves of bread. She organized elaborate dinner entertainment, which was to feature a horserider with a lasso. Sweig detailed the dinner preparations:

"Final arrangements for the next day's barbecue... twenty pecan pies, eighteen loaves of bread, a horseman with a lasso, and a sheepdog act awaited."


Of course, Lady Bird's extensive plans would never be enjoyed by the Kennedys. On November 22, 1963, on the way to Dealey Plaza, J.F.K was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Lady Bird had discussed the day in her diary, which features in the biography. She recounted how Jackie and her grace and poise moved her during the ordeal. 

John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy pictured on the day of his assassination in 1963, Dallas Texas. | Photo: Getty Images

Lady Bird had woken up on that beautiful day, ready to host her close friends. However, the day ended with her becoming the First Lady of the United States. 

Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office as the President on the plane on the way to Washington, with the recently widowed Jackie by his side.