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Truman on Assassination: “I Am Shocked Beyond Words”

Nov. 22, 1963 - Former President Harry S. Truman, himself an intended victim of assassins’ bullets thirteen years ago this month, said the assassination of President Kennedy was a tragedy for the nation. “I am shocked beyond words at the tragedy that has happened to our country and to President Kennedy’s family today,” Mr. Truman said in his statement. “The President’s death is a great personal loss to the country and to me. He was an able President, one the people loved and trusted. Mrs. Truman and I send our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Kennedy and the family.” Mr. Truman said he planned to attend the funeral and burial services for Mr. Kennedy. Mrs. Truman reported that the 79-year-old former President had suffered “quite a shock” when he heard the news of the assassination. She said he was “too upset” to make his statement until four hours later. Former President Herbert Hoover said he was “shocked and grieved.” He said that President Kennedy “loved America and has given his life for his country. I join our bereaved nation in heartfelt sympathy to Mrs. Kennedy and their two children.” Bernard Baruch, elder statesman and adviser to Presidents, said: “The American people and the whole world have lost a friend. Peace was John F. Kennedy’s dominant goal, and he brought the world closer to it. He inherited problems greater and more difficult than those that have faced any other American president. He made progress on these problems and, given time, I believe he would have mastered them.” General of the Army Douglas MacArthur sent the following telegram to Mrs. Kennedy: “I realize the utter futility of words at such a time, but the world of civilization shares the poignancy of this monumental tragedy. As a former comrade-in-arms, his death kills something within me.”


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