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November 15th, 2013
01:09 PM ET

"Piers Morgan Live, Rewind": An eyewitness to the murders of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK's legacy, and Kerry Kennedy on guns

Whether you fell asleep early, stayed out too late, or simply want to watch it again, we realize it's not always possible to get your entire "Piers Morgan Live" fix from television. As an answer to this, we offer the below labor of love – "Piers Morgan Live, Rewind" – dedicated and designed to getting you caught up and connected to the conversation.

  • “People were crying already, they were screaming”

On Wednesday, the eve of CNN's Original “The Assassination of President Kennedy,” Piers Morgan devoted his entire primetime hour to remembering the life and legacy of America's 35th president.

Among the program's esteemed guests was Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist and author Hugh Aynesworth, who had a front row seat to the events surrounding the death of JFK, and the subsequent arrest and death of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Then 32-year-old reporter for the Dallas Morning News, Aynesworth was not on assignment that day, but went down to see the presidential motorcade nonetheless, in the process ending up with quite a story.

After hearing three shots ring out, he ran directly to the scene of the action.

“I don't know how fast I reacted because it was such an instantaneous bedlam there. People were crying already, they were screaming, they were bumping into each other, and I don't know how I reacted or how fast, but I knew somewhere in that first minutes my journalistic background kicked in," recalled Wednesday's guest. "But it was just, 'wow,' because we didn't know who was shooting, we didn't know how many were shooting, we didn't know where they were shooting from."

Upon learning via police radio that an officer had been shot, Aynesworth ran to where authorities were pursuing a suspect, a man who was revealed to be Oswald:

“We looked around for him in a couple of places and I heard another radio in an FBI man's car, said, there's a suspect in the Texas Theater. So, I was seven or eight block away, but I knew I had to get there, so, ran like mad," said Aynesworth. "So, they came up, they stopped a couple other people and then they grabbed him.”

Aynesworth was also in the basement of the Dallas Police Department headquarters at that dramatic moment when Jack Ruby ended Oswald’s life:

“When I got up the next morning and found out they hadn't transported [Oswald] in the middle of the night, I said to my wife, ‘Come on, we're going.’ I didn't shave, I didn't eat, I just threw on some clothes, ran down in the City Hall basement, and I got in there about 10 minutes beforehand and saw what happened there," he told Morgan. "I could not see Ruby because I was ... milling in a crowd and some of the cameraman, you know, they wear this big 80 pound cameras at that time. It was a little tough to get in there but pretty soon we knew it was Jack Ruby, and they pounced on him –several of them. It was fast.”

Aynesworth is the only man to have witnessed and written about seeing all three of these historic events, a fact he details in his latest book “Witness to History.”

  • “The Cult of Kennedy is going to be with us forever"

Where does President Kennedy rank among the pantheon of American presidents? This was precisely the question Piers Morgan put to three notable historians – Robert Dallek, Douglas Brinkley, and James Swanson – as part of Wednesday evening's special report on the death of JFK.

Dallek, who authored the book “Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House,” suggested that JFK suffered from not having had an extended period of time in office:

“He was not a great president, he was there for only a thousand days ... [but] I think he's certainly a significant president," he noted. "I think one could see a direct line from him to Barack Obama, and when we get a woman as president, I think you can see a direct line to that as well. He put across that nuclear test ban treaty which was a major, major advance.”

Swanson meanwhile, who wrote “End of Days, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” shared his perspective of Kennedy as a political leader:

“John Kennedy was an American patriot who believed in American exceptionalism ... he believed that America had a special role in the world ... The core of his greatness is that he could inspire people to do great things," said Swanson. "The space program was a classic example ... That's the core of his greatness, his ability to inspire people.”

A professor and presidential historian, Brinkley took a more philosophical approach:

“John F. Kennedy is always the handsome statesman, president gunned down in his prime. So, the cult of Kennedy is going to be with us forever. The whole world is watching this 50th Anniversary right now because he's somebody they cared about," he said. "There’s only a few presidents that people get that emotive about in America.”

  • “Our children are dying in the streets ... we’ve got to stop it.”

As part of the program's special coverage on the eve of the CNN Original “The Assassination of President Kennedy,” Wednesday evening saw "Piers Morgan Live" welcome author, activist, and niece of JFK Kerry Kennedy to share her unique insights and perspective.

As the daughter of the late Robert Kennedy, she lost both her father and her uncle to gun violence, a subject on which Piers Morgan’s strong views are well known.

After thanking Morgan for his ongoing advocacy, Kennedy offered her recommendations on curbing firearm violence:

"I think that the only way we're going to make this happen is that Americans who don't agree with Wayne LaPierre ... are going to have to stand up and band together and start saying, 'we demand change,' she insisted. "We demand change of our politicians and we demand change of our leadership, and we're not going to accept that guns run rampant anymore.”

Kennedy, who has also spoken publicly on stricter gun control, added a powerful closing thought:

"Our children are dying in the streets, our children are dying in our homes. We've got to stop it.”

For the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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soundoff (11 Responses)
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    November 16, 2013 at 9:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Macresarf1

      BobO: I think you have provided a very neat and satisfactory solution to a tragic question which has dogged the nation for 50 years. Do you know what happened to the proposed theatrical movie following this scenario? There has always been plenty of evidence and Robert de Niro was supposed to have accepted the role of Carlos Marcello. Now it is listed on the IMDb as "in development." Regards - Macresarf1

      November 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Bob O

    Oswald could not have killed Kennedy since his brains were blown out the back of his head onto the trunk of the car.
    Why do you think Jackie O crawled onto the trunk ?,Why don't you ask about that ?,Why not give her credit for bravery ?
    What would you do if a rain of bullets just killed your husband next to you and hit the governor in front of you ?
    Would you take cover or crawl out into the open on the trunk of a moving car ?
    Asking this question means Oswald could not be the one who made the shot.
    Oswald could not have blown his brains out the back from behind.
    The shot came from the right near the grassy knoll.
    The trigger man name is Johnny Roselli.
    He was placed there and Oswald was placed in the schoolbook depository by Carlos Marcello.
    Carlos was the number one target of Bobby Kennedy, it was personal between them.
    The itinerary and route taken by the president was supplied by Lyndon Johnson to Carlos.

    November 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Tyrus Wong

    I have questions I'm trying to post...

    November 23, 2013 at 2:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick

      You are a patriot dude and this forum has no room for the likes of us. And their censorship is only proof of that fact. They only make themselves look stupid.

      November 25, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Tyrus Wong

    As anyone can these days, I’ve captured frame-by-frame screen shots of the kill shot that proves to me that, that shot came from someone firing in FRONT of JFK and to his right.
    Too graphic to have shared at the time of course, but isn't it time to look at that detail and really discuss it? I captured the initial blood splatter from JFK’s brain and you can clearly see it moving back and BEHIND JFK’s former position when he was reacting to having been shot through his neck…his right elbow and forearm elevate suddenly and mimics this same explosive force; this CANNOT happen from any type of explosive shot that starts from behind JFK's head because matter simple doesn’t move that way when impacted…it can’t! PLUS, as we learned before, there were TWO different types of bullets that struck JFK and proof of this is the fact that the neck shot (the perfect bullet) that also struck Connelly would have certainly exploded by the time it made contact with Connelly’s fourth rib (bone) and it would have taken out that portion of his chest, killing him…BUT IT DIDN’T…it passed through…because it was a full metal jacket bullet…The kill shot bullet of course, made contact with JFK’s head on the right side and exploded upon impact…
    Amazingly, EVERYONE at Parkland hospital (after likely being persuaded by the Secret Service) told the same story of JFK’s head shot wound, describing it completely falsely by stating that the back of his head had been shot off…A COMPLETE LIE… photos showing JFK’s head (being released now)…show the entire back of JFK’s scalp is COMPLETELY INTACT… so why would all of those PROFESSIONAL people mistake this entire area for having been blown away??? That is simply not possible unless they were directed to do so and by someone very high up in authority and likely backing up their direction with a hand gun or several!!!

    November 23, 2013 at 2:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Tyrus Wong

    ... frustrating this site will not allow me to post the rest of my comments...

    November 23, 2013 at 2:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tyrus Wong

    Please visit my Facebook site ( as I will complete this posting there; asking the rest of the questions that are stuck in my mind regarding the murder of this great man, we all lost and that is the saddest fact that our world since that terrible day changed for the worse and we struggle still...

    November 23, 2013 at 3:00 am | Report abuse | Reply
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