November 22nd, 2013
08:01 AM ET

Honoring the Life of JFK, Solemn Ceremony Planned in Dallas

At just after noon Friday, Dealey Plaza will go quiet as the crowd pauses for a moment of silence.

It was at 12:30 p.m. Dallas time, 50 years ago when the day was scarred by the gunshots in the plaza that ended the life of one of America's most beloved presidents - John F. Kennedy.

For Dallas, it will be a delicate balancing act of honoring Kennedy's memory without sensationalizing his murder.

"At 12:30...bells will toll across the City of Dallas, a poignant moment honoring John F Kennedy's life," reports CNN's Ed Lavandera.

A new JFK monument will be unveiled during the ceremony, located in the ground on the infamous section of land known as the Grassy Knoll. The inscription on the monument is the final paragraph of the speech JFK intended to deliver at the Dallas Trade Mart on November 22, 1963.

Dallas has spent decades trying to shake off the reputation of "The city that killed Kennedy," which is not easy, as that dark day of history is rehashed daily by tour operators.

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill tells "New Day" anchor Kate Bolduan he remembers "every moment of it, just like it just happened” and gives a glimpse of that tragic moment. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

It took him less than two seconds to reach the Kennedy's car during the presidential motorcade.

“Well, just before I got to the car, there was a third shot that rang out, hit the president in the head, and when that happened, because it was so explosive and caused eruption of material out of his head, Mrs. Kennedy got up in the trunk trying to retrieve some of the material. I got up there and pushed her back into the back seat, and then the president's body fell to its left into her lap with his head, the right side of his face was up, and I could see his eyes were fixed, I could see through the skull area, the brain matter was gone. I assumed it was a fatal wound and that he was dead.”

Agent Hill knew the trauma was too extensive for doctors to be able to revive the president.

“I was very upset, but I had a job to do and I placed myself up in a position to prevent any further damage from being done because I had no idea if there were going to be more shots fired.”

Assigned to First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s detail for a year after the assassination, Agent Hill says "the sparkle in her eyes was gone," and that “she changed remarkably.”

“Her primary focus was making sure the children are okay and making sure she did whatever she could to help the president's memory be retained by as many people as possible.”

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