ND native and Secret Service agent talks about the day the agency failed to save the President
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
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(WDAY TV) - For the first time since that dreadful November in 1963, the man who was assigned to protect President John Kennedy in Dallas is finally talking about that day and the horrible years that followed. North Dakota native and Concordia College graduate Clint Hill is profiled in a just released book called: "The Kennedy Detail."
Hill and other secret service agents from that deadly day finally opened up about the failure of the agency to protect and save the president.
Who can forget this powerful image? A secret service agent running and jumping aboard Kennedy's limousine a split second after gunfire echoed in Dealey Plaza.
CLINT HILLRetired Secret Service Agent: “Well I still feel a sense of responsibility because I was the only agent in a position to do anything that day.
That agent was Washburn, North Dakota native Clint Hill, who tried to save Kennedy in those first tragic moments.
“She did not know I was there and I tried to get a hold of her and pushed her back a little bit.”
Hill, who went to Concordia before joining the Secret Service, has finally broken his silence. Joining other agents who were there that deadly day and who refused these last 47 years to discuss Kennedy's death.
“There are some agents today who will not talk about it because it is still too painful.”
In the book, Hill who was actually assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy describes climbing on to the back of the limousine as a third shot rang out, hitting President Kennedy in the head sending skull sections, blood and brains on to Hill and Mrs. Kennedy.
Hill has remained silent all these years. Guilt and alcohol have haunted him since. This despite a little known fact that Jackie Kennedy personally thanked Hill days after the president's funeral, but Hill knows everything changed that moment he heard the shots. The age of innocence, Hill writes just died right there.
“I realize it was not a situation I could have changed. I did the best I could do under the circumstances that day.”
When Hill was born in Larimore, North Dakota, it was the height of the depression. His parents left him at a child’s home, where a Washburn couple later adopted him.
Barnes and Noble in Fargo has the new Kennedy book featuring Clint Hill. There are plans to order more of the book because of the local tie-in.
It is the first time readers of the Kennedy death actually hear from several of the secret service agents who were on the detail that day. Barnes and Noble says it is common for a book like this to do well regionally when the story involves someone locally.