America's Civil War

V.I.P. Visit

ON APRIL 7, 1963, seven months before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy made a nine-minute helicopter ride from the presidential compound at Camp David for a surprise visit to the Antietam National Battlefield. The previous Sunday, the president—an avid student of history and a World War II veteran—had visited Gettysburg with his wife, Jackie.

A remarkable, seven-minute silent film of)—shows the 45-year-old president riding in the back seat of an open, white convertible and visiting notable Antietam sites. The presidential security detail at the battlefield appeared to be less than robust. Kennedy, of course, was traveling in an open-top Lincoln Continental limousine when he was shot during a motorcade through downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963.

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