50th anniversary brings attention to JFK limo at Henry Ford

50th anniversary brings attention to JFK limo at Henry Ford

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DEARBORN, Mich. (WJBK) -

On Friday, the world will mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963

The limo he was riding in that fateful day, a 1961 Lincoln Continental code-named X-100, is on display at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn and has been for 35 years.

Museum officials plan to hold a special tribute on Friday.

Donna Braden, a curator at The Henry Ford, joined FOX 2 to talk about the limo, the public's response and how you can participate.

What is the response you get from people when they see the vehicle?

Braden: "Well, what happens is, people get very quiet. They don't really talk. I've watched people stop in their tracks as they cruise through the museum and they go, 'This is the real car?' They can't believe it. They look at the label, look at the car. This is a very profound personal connection. I've seen people forget their kids are there because they have to do a very personal thing. Only later they can reflect on it."

Tell us a little bit about the vehicle, make and model, etc.


Braden: "It was a limousine produced by Ford Motor Company with some modifications by companies in Cincinnati to make it longer and to add some features. Ford produced a few vehicles for the Secret Service and leased them to the Secret Service. This was one of those cars. This was in production when Kennedy was inaugurated. His initial parade was not in this vehicle. He got the car in June and it became very linked with his presidency. It was bright blue car at the time. It was very reflective of his youth and his energy and of that era.

Obviously it did not have the top on it like it does now. They continued to use this vehicle for presidents after Kennedy?

Braden: "It amazing to us today, I know. A lot of people comment on that. I think they took it back and looked at it and decided that with modifications, it was much more efficient and easier to continue to use the car."

They weren't worried about how the actual presidents felt about the eeriness of it?

Braden: "That's a good question. I don't think we'll ever know the answer to that."

Tomorrow people can come from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and see the vehicle?

Braden: "Yes. Please come out. Tomorrow is a day for pilgrimage. I'm going to do it myself. It's going to be interesting to watch people and their reactions and have my own reaction as well."

Online: www.thehenryford.org/jfkremembered

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