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President Kennedy’s Body Taken to Naval Hospital at Bethesda

Nov. 22, 1963 - After the Presidential jet landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland at 5:58 p.m., the coffin containing President Kennedy’s body was placed in a Navy ambulance and taken to the naval hospital at Bethesda, Maryland. Mrs. Kennedy and the President’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, rode in the ambulance. By the time the ambulance arrived at Bethesda shortly after 7 p.m., a crowd of several hundred people had gathered at the front entrance. They stood back in silence. An honor guard of 200 sailors that had waited there marched to the front entrance. Mrs. Kennedy, dry-eyed but looking dazed, and Attorney General Kennedy conferred with the commanding officer of the hospital, Admiral C.B. Golloway. Four Roman Catholic priests arrived to offer their services, and the Roman Catholic chaplain at the hospital, Commander Robert B. Brengartner, consoled Mrs. Kennedy. Others who joined her were the President’s aides and close friends: Lawrence O’Brien, Kenneth O’Donnell, and David Powers, as well as Pamela Turnure, Mrs. Kennedy’s secretary. President Kennedy’s children, Caroline and John Jr. have not been told of their father’s death. Mrs. Kennedy apparently wished to tell them herself, and they have thus far been shielded from the news. The children, after following their regular schedules until late afternoon under the custody of their nurse, Maude Shaw, were taken from the White House to an unknown destination shortly before Mrs. Kennedy arrived back in Washington with the body of the President.


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