Nov. 22, 1963, marks 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was slain in Dallas, devastating the nation and his family. More >
Nov. 22, 1963, marks 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was slain in Dallas, devastating the nation and his family. As his wife, Jackie, said shortly after his death, "There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot."More >
LENEXA, KS (KCTV) -
When a dying President John F. Kennedy was rushed into Trauma Room 1 at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, the stunned doctors and nurses couldn't believe their eyes.
They leaped into action and fought in vain to save the life of the president who had taken a fatal shot to his head.
The instruments they used, including the respirator and the stretcher, were boxed up. In later years, Parkland would remodel its emergency and surgical rooms.
To avoid collectors getting their hands on these valuable items, the General Services Administration used non-federal funds in 1974 to purchase the items from the trauma room. That included the trauma room's front door and clock.
The items were given to the National Archives with the stipulation that they remain secret out of respect for the president's family and not to dishonor the late president's memory. The inventory created at the time of the purchase is public.
The public is not allowed access to the materials in accordance with a gift deed of assassination-related items provided by the Kennedy family, such as the blood-soaked pink boucle suit worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1953.
The items taken from the Parkland trauma room were stored for years at a National Archives site in Fort Worth. But the federal government decided in 2007 to move the materials to Lenexa.
They are now stored at the National Archives and Records Administration's Central Plains Region office off 95th Street and Renner Road just west of Interstate 435. The items are in crates in the temperature-controlled underground storeroom.
Jim Graham, now 83, was an FBI special agent who flew from Kansas City to Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, to help with the complex investigation into the shooting that killed the president and critically injured Texas Gov. John Connally.
He said he was surprised that the room's contents were saved and are now in Lenexa. He believes because it's where the president was pronounced dead that the materials should be made public.
"For historical purposes, it would be worthwhile," he said.
After the president was killed, the fear was that assassins could target Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, now president, and others. He wanted to quickly leave Dallas, but he didn't want to leave without Jackie Kennedy. And she refused to leave Texas without her husband's body.
Graham said it's important to look at what happened in that room at Parkland as well as what didn't. An autopsy wasn't performed because Jackie Kennedy wouldn't leave without her husband and LBJ wouldn't leave without her and the Secret Service was insisting that they leave Dallas.
The lack of complete records and differences between what doctors saw at Parkland and what was described when the president's body was prepared for burial has helped fuel conspiracy theories.
"I don't think anybody at that time realized that the medical examination of the body hadn't been done," Graham said. "I don't think they gave it any thought. They had no reason. I don't think they purposefully took the body other than at Jackie's request."
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