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Mrs. Connally Speaks on Husband’s Recovery

Jan. 25, 1964 - Mrs. Nellie Connally (pictured left Nov. 22) thought her husband, the Governor of Texas, was dead when a bullet from the assassin who killed President Kennedy struck him. Mrs. Connally told The Dallas Morning News that she had heard all three shots but that the Governor did not hear the one that hit him. “I whispered to him over and over,” she said, “all the way to the hospital, ‘Be still, it’s going to be all right.’ He would come to for a few seconds, but I think he was mostly unconscious on the drive to the hospital.”

Governor Connally was shot through the back. The bullet passed through his chest and broke a wrist before entering his thigh. Doctors said that if a few more minutes had elapsed before he arrived at the hospital, he would have been dead. “For days and days,” Mrs. Connally said, “any time I stopped for a few moments, all this would go through my mind again. I’ve gone through it second by second hundreds of times. I kept reconstructing this nightmare, and it absorbed my mind for days and days,” she said. “But now, I guess I’ve found a place in my mind for the memories. Each day, I think about it less and less. Time always helps so much.”

Mrs. Connally said she lost control for a moment a month ago when a 19-gun salute was fired for the arrival of West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard. The Chancellor visited President Johnson in Texas. “I was standing behind John,” she said. “When they began firing a 19-gun salute, when they fired that first shot, I began shaking all over. Tears came into my eyes. I lost control for a moment, until I realized what it was. I asked John later how he felt when he heard that first shot. He said, ‘Just like I’d been shot again.’”


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