60 years after JFK’s assassination, Secret Service members share memories in new documentary
Clint Hill remembers President John F. Kennedy’s assassination as if it happened yesterday. At the age of 91, the event still plays like a movie in the former Secret Service agent’s mind.
“I have this sense of guilt. I should have been able to do more than I did,” he told documentary filmmakers.
Hill is one of the voices featured in “JFK: One Day in America,” a new three-part series from National Geographic premiering Nov. 5 in advance of the 60th anniversary of the president’s death on Nov. 22, 1963.
The documentary also includes interviews with several other eyewitnesses including a fellow Secret Service member, a co-worker of the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and journalists who were waiting to cover the jail transport of Oswald and witnessed his murder instead.
“We weren’t sure how many people would actually still be around, to be honest,” director Ella Wright said.
Several key sources have died throughout the intervening years, and it wasn’t clear what the remaining eyewitnesses — many of whom are in their 80s or 90s — might be willing or able to share.
But most of the people producers reached out to agreed to interviews, producer Charlotte Rodrigues reported, with several of those interviews lasting seven hours or longer.
How to watch
The series will air on National Geographic at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 and will be available on streaming services Disney+ and Hulu on Nov. 6.
“They still feel it and think about it and, actually, they’re incredibly vivid in their recall of it. They’re incredibly emotional about it still,” executive producer David Glover added. “That leads to a very intense documentary and, in a way, their age just adds to that intensity rather than diminishing from it.”
The series is divided into three parts across three episodes: assassination, manhunt and revenge, the first of which features several scenes from the Kennedys’ brief stay in Fort Worth.
The couple’s warm reception in the city would soon be overshadowed by the dark turn of their fateful motorcade through downtown Dallas.
Archival footage shows Hill, who was assigned to the first lady’s security detail, as he leapt from the car behind the Kennedys onto the back of their convertible after hearing shots fired.
“Mrs. Kennedy was screaming, ‘They shot his head off. I love you, Jack,’” he recalled.
Kennedy’s assassination stunned people around the world, but few are likely to remember the event as intimately as Hill, who can still picture the first lady cradling her husband’s head in her lap.
“The one thing,” he said in an on-camera interview, “that I would be willing to do or give is my life for his if I could change it that day.”
Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.