Editor’s Note: The following document is from the Warren Commission report, Volume 21, Price Exhibit #7. It is the testimony of Steve Landregan, historian and archivist for the Diocese of Dallas, and former editor of The Texas Catholic. On November 22-24, 1963 Landregan was Assistant Administrator at Parkland Hospital and was one of the many members of the Parkland staff involved in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The document was dictated during the course of the weekend and has been left in the spoken style with minimal editing to retain the sense of immediacy.
On Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, I had left the cafeteria shortly before 12:30 and walked down the steps to the coffee shop on the basement floor to make a purchase at the gift shop. I returned by elevator to the first floor and remember someone saying, “The President just went by.” Someone else said, “He turned into the hospital.” Then another said, “Oh, God! He’s been hurt and they’re bringing him here.”
I went immediately to the emergency area and directly to Major Surgery. I believe I was stopped at the corridor entrance by the Admitting Office and identified by a hospital person, but I am not sure.
The first thing I remember seeing in the Major Surgery area was Mrs. Kennedy outside Trauma Room #1, and Doris Nelson, emergency room supervisor, standing at the entrance to the Trauma Room in a blood-splattered uniform. There were others there in the corridor, but I don’t remember any faces.
The Major Surgery area was crowded with unnecessary personnel. I asked all hospital personnel and medical staff who were not directly involved with patients to leave the area. It was necessary to repeat this about three times before the area was finally cleared and it still remained crowded because of the military aides and other members of the presidential party as well as those medical staff and hospital personnel attending patients. I closed the door to the OB-Gyn area and had the door to Radiology closed and asked someone to cover the windows on both doors with paper and tape.
I then went out to get a police officer to secure the door from the Radiology Department to the Emergency Room.
By the triage desk I saw C.J. (Jack) Price, Parkland Administrator and Assistant Administrator Bob Holcomb for the first time and they said, “There’s Steve” and told me the administrative secretaries needed me because they were getting swamped by telephone calls. I said I would call them. I then went out the back door of the emergency entrance to Police Chief Curry and asked for an officer to secure the Emergency Room and was given one immediately.
Upon my return to Major Surgery, I again noticed Mrs. Kennedy, who was sitting on a chair by this time with a man in a brown suit and with gray hair kneeling beside her chair. I believe he was Congressman Gonzalez from San Antonio. I went to the sink in the nurse’s station to get a cup of water for Mrs. Kennedy. As I passed by the chart desk, I overhead a man on the telephone saying, “He’s pretty bad, Mr. Attorney General.”
I took the cup of water to Doris Nelson and asked her to give it to Mrs. Kennedy and offer to help clean up some of the blood that was visible on her face and her clothing.
I then called Fayetta Gannon, administrative secretary, from the nurse’s station and told her to say nothing to the press until she heard from me.
‘Get a priest’
When I came out someone shouted, “Get a priest.” The phones in the nurse’s station were now busy, so I went to Social Service and called Holy Trinity Catholic Church. A voice that I thought was Father Oscar Huber’s answered and I identified myself and said we needed a priest at Parkland right away. The voice answered, “He’s on his way.” I went directly to the ambulance dock and told police Chief Curry that a priest was in route and asked him to send someone to assist him in getting into the hospital.
I returned to Major Surgery and asked a member of the White House staff, “Who’s handling the press?” I had pointed out to me a man by the name of Malcolm Kilduff who was Acting White House Press Secretary. I went to Mr. Kilduff, identified myself and asked what I could do to help the press. He said nothing is to be released then added “We need a place to take the White House Press Corps.” I suggested “We can use the Doctors’ Lounge or nurse’s classrooms. Let’s go.” We went upstairs at a run and went first to the Doctors’ Lounge which Kilduff said was too small. We then looked at classroom’s 101 and 102, which he agreed would be fine. He left by the side door to bring the White House press around. I advised the College of Nursing office that classrooms 101 and 102 would be out of service indefinitely. I recall asking someone to order extra straight lines from the phone company.
I went back downstairs to Major Surgery where Doris Nelson motioned me over and whispered to me, “Kennedy’s dead.” I asked if the priest had come, she replied no, so I went out through OB-Gyn where I saw Jack Price and whispered, “He’s dead.” I then went to the ambulance dock and asked Chief Jesse Curry if he had seen the priest. He said no. He then asked, “Is the President dead?” I answered, “Yes.” He turned and walked away. About that moment I saw Father Huber and took him by the hand and said, “Please hurry, Father” and led him back to Major Surgery. As I recall when he went into Trauma Room #1, another priest that I believe was Father Thompson came into the area.
I see Mayor Earle Cabell standing just outside the Trauma Room # 1door. At that moment a secret service agent, Clint Hill, with no coat on and a bloody shirt came up to me and said, “We’ve got to get a casket.” I replied “Let’s go.” We then started for the corridor. Jack Price stopped me and asked, “Where are you going.” I replied, “To get a casket.” He said, “Wait, somebody’s already doing that.” I called back the secret service agent who was already in the corridor. He talked with Jack Price and several others and then Price said (to) take him to a phone and get a casket from the nearest funeral home. I gave the Secret Service man my coat to cover his bloody shirt. He said he had put his over the President. We went first to the Social Service Office. I asked Virginia Diebel, director, “Where is the nearest funeral home?” She answered, “O’Neal’s on Oak Lawn” and gave us the telephone number. We could not obtain an outside line because incoming calls had them all blocked. We went to Mr. Price’s office and used his private line.
I called O’Neal’s Funeral Home and identified myself to Mr. O’Neal and then turned the phone over to Agent Hill who told Mr. O’Neal that they needed a casket right away at Parkland Hospital. I don’t recall him saying who or what it was for. He then gave the telephone back to me and Mr. O’Neal asked me what kind of a casket they wanted. I asked Agent Hill who replied, “Tell him to send the best that they have on hand, and send it right away.” I relayed the message to Mr. O’Neal.
I returned to Major Surgery and called Norris Uzee, Housekeeping Director and told him to lower the flag to half-staff. Jack Price asked me to get some more water for Mrs. Kennedy, which I did, and asked Doris Nelson to take it to her. I noticed that some coffee was being brought in from the corridor and taken back into the area where Mrs. Kennedy was.
Jack Price then called me over and asked me how they planned on taking out President and Mrs. Johnson to return to Love Field. I did not know. We then stopped a member of the Presidential party and Jack said there (was) a way to get him out without going through the crowd.
Mr. Price then left with some members of the Presidential party to investigate the route he had in mind, presumably through the tunnel to the Staff Residence. While they were gone, another secret service man came up to me and asked if the casket had arrived yet. I said, “Not to my knowledge, but left to check on it. At the emergency ambulance dock, I determined that the casket had not yet arrived.
On returning to the Major Surgery I overheard Mayor Cabell saying to no one in particular, “It didn’t happen…it didn’t happen.” Returning to the ambulance dock I saw the white O’Neal hearse pulling up with the casket. I asked the police officers to clear the corridor because the casket was being brought in. It was, as I recall, a plain, bronze casket. I walked down the corridor ahead of the casket to just outside the door from the corridor into Major Surgery. At this point I turned around and noticed a half-dozen or more people helping Mr. O’Neal roll the casket. Several of them had on press badges so I stopped the group and said, “That’s far enough. Thank you, we’ll take it from here.” Jack Price, two secret service agents and I took the casket in the rest of the way to Trauma #1.
Coming out I noticed Ed Maher, chairman of the hospital district’s board, in the area. He spoke to me, and went into the area close to Trauma #1 and I do not recall seeing him again until much later. A member of the White House staff approached me and asked if there was any way that the President’s body could be removed other than through the public corridor? I suggested that it could be taken out through the OB-Gyn section and through the doorway across from Minor Medicine and Surgery, but that it would still have to be taken out the emergency room entrance. I showed him this possible route and he agreed that this would be the best one.
I then attempted to clear the OB-Gyn area of all but necessary personnel and asked that the windows and the doors in the area be covered to prevent the possibility of any unnecessary observation or photographs. I recall two Otis Elevator men who were standing by the emergency room elevator asking if it was necessary to continue holding the elevator and I told them I felt it could be put back into normal service at this point.
About that time I noticed Dr. Earl Rose, Dallas County Medical Examiner, was completing the legal papers necessary for removal of the President’s body. He appeared quite agitated and was asking where Judge Theorn Ward was. During the next few minutes there was considerable activity trying to locate the justice of the peace and seemed to be some question as to whether or not an autopsy would be ordered on the President.
When the necessary papers were completed, the door to Trauma #1 opened and Mr. O’Neal and two assistants rolled out the casket containing the President’s body. Mrs. Kennedy stood at the rear of the casket and placed her right hand on it, following along.
Moving the casket
I took hold on one side of the casket and assisted in moving it as far as the area of the doorway opposite the Minor Medicine and Surgery area; then I dropped back and followed the casket to the ambulance dock and observed the casket being placed in the hearse. The curtains on the hearse windows had been drawn as had been requested a few minutes earlier by a member of the White House staff.
I watched the hearse and other special cars pull out of the emergency entrance and leave for Love Field then returned to Major Surgery and walked in to Trauma Room #1. I remember noticing some flowers in a wastebasket then asking that the room be cleaned up and put back into operation and returned to classrooms 101 and 102 to assist with the press conference with the doctors who had treated the president.
Later, in the corridor I was met by Jack Price carrying a tan briefcase with Governor Connally’s name stamped in gold. He was with Dr. Luther Holcomb, a prominent Dallas clergyman. Jack asked me if I would take Dr. Holcomb up to Mrs. Connally and handed me the briefcase and asked that I give it to Mrs. Connally. Two other people came up at that time and identified themselves as members of the Connally family and asked to be taken to Mrs. Connally with Dr. Holcomb.
We took the elevator to the surgical suite where I was admitted after identifying myself to a guard and being cleared by a nursing supervisor. We went to the office of Dr. M. T. (Pepper) Jenkins, chief of anesthesiology, where Mrs. Connally had been taken. I introduced myself to Mrs. Connally, gave her the briefcase and introduced Dr. Holcomb. A number of people, including Judge Merrill Connally and other members of the family and friends were present in the room and in the corridor outside. Among them was Cliff Cassidy, administrative assistant to Governor Connally.
I believe it was Mr. Cassidy who asked me if any arrangements had been made to advise the press of the Governor’s condition. I said, “No, but I would be happy to assist.” He suggested after consulting with several other men in the corridor, whom I did not know, that I might go down and announce that a statement would be made shortly on the Governor’s condition. I did this and believe that I was accompanied by Mr. Cassidy when I went down to 101 and 102.
A number of the press were still there in great activity, and I mounted the platform and made the announcement that there would be a statement very shortly on the condition of Governor Connally. We then left the room and went upstairs to the surgical suite. As we arrived, Dr. Robert Shaw was in the corridor and another man in scrub clothing, who was subsequently identified as Bill Stinson, Administrative Assistant to the Governor. Mr. Cassidy and several other men talked with Bill Stinson, who made some comment to the effect that too many people were trying to make decisions and that he was the only one that could make them. I was then introduced to him by Mr. Cassidy and he advised me that all activities concerning the Governor should be coordinated through him. I told him that this was fine and would make it much easier for us to know who was in charge. At this point Dr. Shaw came out of the surgeons locker room; he, Julian Read, the Governor’s press aide, Cliff Cassidy, Bill Stinson and I proceeded down to 101 and 102, where Dr. Shaw, gave a report on the progress of surgery thus far on Governor Connally.
Returning to major surgery, Mr. Stinson advised me that it would be necessary to set up the Governor’s office temporarily in the hospital and asked if there was an area available. I told him that we would make space available and asked how much room was needed. Mr. Stinson suggested we go upstairs so he could take off his scrub suit and put on street clothing and then check whatever areas might be used.
We went to the surgical suite, where he dressed, and then came down to the Administrative Offices where I showed him Carol Reddick’s area. He advised that this would be adequate, that they would like to have the secretaries room in both offices and would need additional telephones. We then went down to the switchboard area where Mr. Stinson spoke with Mr. Johnson of the Telephone Company, who was in the switching room and advised him of what would be needed. He then asked me if we could get a sign to place over the office. I asked him for the wording and he said, it doesn’t matter, just Governor Connally’s Office. I picked up the phone in the PBX switchboard room, called Mr. Crall and asked him to get such a sign. He indicated that it would be impossible to get the plastic sign made that afternoon, but that he would order one and have it first thing Saturday morning and in the meantime, would make a small paper sign to go on the door.
Bill Stinson then returned upstairs and I returned to the Administrative area and advised Carol Reddick that it would be necessary for her to move out of her offices and called Norris Uzee, director of housekeeping, and asked him to set up a desk for Carol Reddick in the file area outside of Bob Holcomb’s office. I then went into Jack Price’s office where Ed Maher, Bob Holcomb, and Bob Struwe, comptroller, were. I sat down and started drinking a cup of tea. This being the first free moment I had, I called home to talk to my wife, Virginia. She had not yet returned from the Trade Mart where she and other ladies of our church had been asked to serve at the luncheon for President Kennedy. I talked with my mother, who was quite upset, and found, at this point, I became really upset myself for the first time since the series of events had begun.
I then returned to the Surgery suite where I asked what facilities would be needed for Mrs. Connally, members of the family, and was advised that Mrs. Connally would like to stay as close to the Governor as possible as would Mr. Stinson and Mr. Read. I called Norris Uzee, who came up, and directed him to set up as comfortable facilities as possible in the small isolation room off of the recovery area where the Governor would be taken. I then stopped Elizabeth Wright, director of nursing service, in the hall, and asked her to have two rooms on 2-East set up for Mr. Read and Mr. Stinson and four rooms in the Staff Residence for other members of the family. I then returned to the Administrative Suite where for some time I was tied up with telephone calls from local, national, international press.
I then went back upstairs where I checked the room prepared for Mrs. Connally and talked with Mr. Stinson about bringing telephone service into the room for her. The telephone man was called and came up shortly and it was decided to bring a telephone cable over the roof through Dr. Jenkins office and drill a small hole through the wall. I contacted Paul Crall, director of maintenance, and advised him to cooperate with the Telephone Company in any way.
I then contacted Judge Connally and told him we would like to prepare dinner for the members of the family and asked him to determine the number that we would need to serve. He told me shortly that there would probably be 18 to 20 and I advised him that we would serve dinner to them at 5:45. I then contacted Bessie Lively, director of dietary services, and asked her to prepare to serve 18 to 20 in Dining Room B at 5:45. I then returned to the Administrative offices where I was involved in conversations with members of the press and members of the Administrative staff concerning the events of the day.
Beth Wright brought the keys to the four rooms in the Staff Residence that had been prepared for members of the Connally family. I then called Paul Crall and asked that the locks on the door to Carol Reddick’s office be changed, taken off the master lock system and all keys given to Fayetta Gannon. I instructed Fayetta that when she got the keys to put individual tags on them and hold them for me.
Tending to the family
I went back upstairs and asked Katie Huber, nurse supervisor, to please see that the family was taken down to the cafeteria at the appropriate time, to which she agreed. I then returned to the office for a short time before going with Jack Price and someone else, I don’t remember who, to the cafeteria where we were served a sandwich. At this time I advised the cafeteria cashier that the police and highway patrolmen should not be charged for their meals and cleared this with Jack Price.
While we were eating, Beth Wright came down with Katie Huber and said that the family did not want to eat together, that half would come down and be served and then the other half. I advised Mrs. Lively of this and the first group soon came down and was served in Dining Room B. After they had left and gone back upstairs, Mrs. Connally, Judge Connally and the rest of the family came down. I gave to Judge Connally at this time the keys to the four rooms in the Staff Residence.
A number of other minor events transpired during the several hours described above which I do not remember too clearly and am unable to relate with any degree of certitude. I remember leaving the hospital at approximately 9:30 that evening and returning home.
Nov. 23, 1963
On Saturday morning I arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 7 a.m., after being called by Bill Burrus of the Dallas Times Herald at 6 a.m. and asked me to meet him early to get some information on the Governor. I came into the hospital and did not find Bill Burrus but did find Bill Stinson who breakfasted with me that morning.
During the course of the day Saturday, a number of things were undertaken to assist members of the Governor’s staff, including additional telephone circuits, the designation and preparation of additional rooms on the second floor for the Governor’s staff, including rooms 220, 222, 224, 223 and 225. Mr. Crall was advised what would be needed in the way of locks to secure the various doors and was instructed to make the necessary changes. I checked with the Governor’s staff and made sure that arrangements had been made to serve breakfast to Mrs. Connally and to any other members of the family who were present.
Bill Stinson took me with him to the bedside of Governor Connally, where Mrs. Connally had just confirmed to him that the President had been assassinated. The Governor appeared worn, but was talking and seemed quite lucid. During the course of the day and the evening, the majority of time was spent on the telephone and in person with various members of the press. With regard to late Friday night, about 11 o’clock, Bob Dutton, night administrator, called me at home reporting that he had taken some members of the press down to the Emergency Room to photograph Trauma Room #1. I told him that this was permissible.
On Sunday, November 24th, I checked in the hospital at about 7:30, went to the Recovery Room to check the Governor’s condition and arrangements for Mrs. Connally’s breakfast. I found neither Mrs. Connally nor the Governor both had awakened. I went then to the cafeteria where I had breakfast with Bill Stinson and his wife. Pete Geilich joined us later. Following breakfast in the cafeteria, Bill Stinson asked me if I would like to meet the Governor and took me upstairs to the Recovery Room where he introduced me to Governor Connally.
While in the Recovery Room, Dr. Tom Shires, Dr. James “Red” Duke, medical resident, and Dr. Shaw came in and indicated that the Governor could sit up in a chair for a short time that day. I had Norris Uzee set up comfortable chair in the Recovery Room at the Governor’s bedside. The doctors also indicated that Governor Connally could shave that morning and I brought up a razor and shaving cream from my desk, which were not used because the Governor indicated he preferred to wait until Mrs. Connally awakened and shave himself with an electric shaver.
Nov. 24, 1963
The balance of Sunday morning was spent with various members of the press and photographers who wished to make pictures of Trauma Room #1. Shortly before 11:30 Pete Geilich received a telephone call from Bob Struwe advising him that large crowds had gathered at both the City Hall and the County Courthouse in anticipation of the Jail transfer of Lee Oswald from the City to the County Jail. Bob Struwe felt that there was a possibility of an incident and suggested we might want to alert the Emergency Room. Pete Geilich, advised me of the call, which at that time I understood him to say was from Jack Price and asked if I felt it was indicated, which I did. Mr. Geilich then proceeded to alert the Emergency Room and asked them to delay any lunch hours until after the transfer had been affected.
At approximately 11:30, I was standing in the corridor talking with one of the members of the Highway Patrol concerning the transfer of Oswald, discussing the great amount of attendant publicity, when an Associated Press reporter dashed up to us in the hall and stated that Oswald had been shot and they are bringing him here.
I noticed the telephone company service man for the hospital standing in the Nursing Service Office. I immediately opened the door and told him to arrange for 25 straight lines to the press room immediately. Then proceeded directly to the Emergency Room where Oswald was just being brought in by attendants. Oswald was taken into Major Surgery placed in Trauma Room #2.
We immediately established security, cutoff Major Surgery from the rest of the Emergency Room. I advised emergency room personnel that all emergencies until further notice would be handled in the other areas, no more to be brought to Major Surgery. I then asked Dr. Don Jackson and nurse Sally Lennon, who were not assisting with the Governor, to make a list of all those present with Oswald in Trauma Room #2.
I assisted in clearing the Trauma Room area of all unnecessary personnel and then tried to remove the unnecessary personnel from the Major Surgery area outside the trauma room. At this point, I noticed Bill Burrus of the Dallas Times Herald standing in the doorway of Trauma Room #1 and asked Bill if he would leave, which he appeared to do.
I found out subsequently that he appeared to leave and then ducked behind a curtain in a booth in major surgery where he was discovered later by Bill Stinson and was escorted out by police officers.
Covers were placed over the windows from Radiology and the registration desk on the path where Oswald would be taken to major surgery. I also asked for police officers to cover the doorway from the registration desk in through pediatrics.
Audrey Bell, operating room supervisor went to summon the elevator to the first floor and Dr. Tom Shires came out of Trauma Room #2 headed for surgery. I stopped him long enough to get a report from him on the type of wound and the condition of Oswald for release to the press. Dr. Shires stated that Oswald had a gunshot wound that entered on his left side and did not exit and that he was in extremely critical condition and would be taken immediately to surgery. Oswald was then brought out of Trauma Room #2 and taken up to surgery.
At this point a large number of police and members of the press asked how they could get upstairs, since they could not all fit in the emergency room elevator. With the police in the lead, I took them up the back steps by the Record Room and at the top of the steps directed another member of the hospital staff to take them up to the surgical suite. The members of the press were separated and taken to classrooms 101 and 102 and advised that I would have a statement for them shortly.
Making a statement
I then proceeded to the second floor surgical suite where I contacted Police Captain Will Fritz and asked him if he wanted us to handle press releases on the condition of Oswald, or if he wanted to handle them himself. Captain Fritz said that he would let us handle them as we would on any patient. I then proceeded to the Administrator’s office where Jack Price and I typed out a very short release, which was given to the press a few minutes after 12 o’clock.
It said, “Dr. Tom Shires, Chief of Surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital and Southwestern Medical School, advises me that Lee Harvey Oswald is currently undergoing surgery for a single gunshot wound that entered on his left side and did not exit. The patient is in extremely critical condition. Dr. Shires will make a personal statement when the surgery is completed.”
This statement was repeated probably six or seven times for various news media and I attempted to answer whatever questions that were put to me. Pete Geilich appeared at this time and offered to act as courier between surgery and the press room.
At 1 p.m. Pete Geilich brought down a second bulletin which I read to the assembled members of the press and it said, “Oswald has suffered a massive injury of the abdomen with injuries to the major vessels. Bleeding has been controlled. A cardiac arrest has developed. The patient’s left chest has been opened and cardiac massage begun.”
This bulletin was also read any number of times for the various members of the press and I attempted to explain what a cardiac arrest was and what cardiac massage was. At approximately 1:12 Pete Geilich arrived again with a third bulletin, which I read to the group and which said, “Lee Oswald is still alive and has been put on a pacemaker.” This bulletin was also read several times and I gave as detailed an explanation of what a pacemaker was and what purpose it served.
At approximately 1:25, Dr. Tom Shires with no written statement arrived at the press room, announced that Oswald had been pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m. when he failed to respond to emergency efforts following a cardiac arrest. Dr. Shires stated that death was due to massive bleeding caused by a gunshot wound. He then attempted to answer a few questions and subsequently withdrew at my request to prepare a written statement.
At 2:20 p.m. Dr. Shires returned to the press room, where he read the written statement to the media. Following the prepared statement of Dr. Shires, I distributed copies of a history of Parkland Hospital which had been requested by a number of reporters involved.
After leaving the press room I set about attempting to determine who would be responsible for releasing a statement concerning the autopsy and subsequent disposition of the body of Oswald. I discussed the problem with Jack Price and Bob Holcomb. Jack Price suggested that I contact Dr. Rose or Captain Fritz’s office. I went to the morgue, which was guarded by police officers with riot guns and, after being cleared by Dr. Sidney Stewart, was taken into the necropsy suite where Dr. Rose was in the process of performing an autopsy on Oswald.
I spoke with Captain Pat Daugherty of the Dallas Police Department, who advised me that the press should be told that any further statements on Oswald would have to come from the Dallas Police Department. At this point I returned to the press room and made the announcement that upon the death of the Oswald, the body had gone into the custody of the Dallas Police Department, and that a medico legal autopsy report would have to be released by Captain Fritz’s office. At this point most of the reporters left the hospital and returned to the Dallas City Hall.
There then followed a session with Jack Price, Bill Stinson, Col. Homer Garrison and Major Smith of the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, and Captain Bob Crowder and Sergeant Robinson of the Texas Rangers. The session concerned security measures to be taken for the Governor when he was moved from the Recovery Room to the patient floor. Mr. Price asked me to tour the hospital from top to bottom with this group of officials, which I did. It was decided after reviewing possible sites, to move Governor Connally into room 224, this door locked from the inside, entry being possible only through room 222.
In addition rooms 220, 223 and 225 would be reserved for members of the Governor’s family. Several additional security measures were taken, including the erection of a spotlight on the roof outside of rooms 223 and 225, and the preparation of special bullet deflecting window coverings for the Governor’s room and the adjoining room
Jack Price asked me to have Fayetta Gannon and Bob Holcomb prepare a list of departmental employees to be used in connection with stricter security measures to be imposed upon the hospital. This list was to be furnished to the State Highway Patrolmen who would be guarding the various entrances to the hospital. Visiting hours were suspended for Sunday afternoon and were to be limited on Sunday night. Late in the afternoon, Fayetta Gannon and I left the building to attend Mass and upon our return were unable to gain admittance since we had no identification and the guards were posted on all doors.
We were admitted following identification by Mrs. Huber, a nurse supervisor. Before leaving for the night on Sunday night, the idea of asking the various radio stations to broadcast that normal clinic hours would be kept on Monday was discussed and abandoned because it might encourage an unusually heavy attendance at clinic due to the natural curiosity of people following the events of the last 72 hours.
On Monday, Jack Price and I composed the following memorandum for Jack Price to distribute to all the employees:
At 12:38 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally were brought to the Emergency Room of Parkland Memorial Hospital after being struck down by the bullets of an assassin.
At 1:07 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963, Lee H. Oswald, accused assassin of the late president, died in an operating room of Parkland Memorial Hospital after being shot by a bystander in the basement of Dallas’ City Hall. In the intervening 48 hours and 31 minutes
Parkland Memorial Hospital had:
* Become the temporary seat of the government of the United States.
* Become the temporary seat of the government of the State of Texas
* Become the site of the death of the 35th President
* Become the site of the ascendancy of the 36th President
* Become the site of the death of President Kennedy’s accused assassin.
* Twice become the center of the attention of the world.
* Continued to function at close to normal pace as a large charity hospital.
What is it that enables an institution to take in stride such a series of history jolting events? Spirit? Dedication? Preparedness? Certainly, all of these are important, but the underlying factor is people. People whose education and training is sound. People whose judgment is calm and perceptive. People whose actions are deliberate and definitive.
Our pride is not that we were swept up by the whirlwind of tragic history, but that when we were, we were not found wanting.