The assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas 50 years ago next month has always been a sensitive issue for Texans, and the Texas State Archives is marking the occasion with an exhibition that will bring the tragedy of that day home for people who remember it, and for those who have only read about it in history books.
The Archives gave 1200 WOAI news a sneak peek at the blood stained and bullet hole filled white shirt and black business suit that Gov. John Connally was wearing the day he was critically wounded by one of the same bullets that struck President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
"I think it makes it real," State Conservator Sarah Norris told 1200 WOAI news in the secure room where the items are being prepared for display. "You can read about it and you can think about it, but to be in the room with it definitely gives you pause."
The shirt and suit contain bullet holes consistent with the wounds that the then 45 year old governor received that day. There are bullet holes in the back and in the lower right chest, as well as in the wrist and the left thigh, where the bullet lodged.
"Clearly they sustained damage on the day of the shooting," Norris says. "They have holes and they sustained damage from the blood of the wounds received on November 22, 1963."
The suit does not contain the blood stains that are found on the shirt, because Mrs. Connally had it laundered before donating the items to the Texas Archives, saying at the time that the sight of the blood on her husband's clothing made her ill.
The items, which have not been seen in public since early 1964, will go on display in the main lobby of the DeZavala Archives Building, which is across Brazos Street from the Capitol Building in Austin, starting on October 22, one month before the 50th anniversary of the assassination.