SKIATOOK, Okla. - It was 51 years ago today when a Secret Service agent jumped onto the back of a black limo carrying President Kennedy moments after he was shot.
On Saturday, that man was on Skiatook Lake supporting a mission to help others.
“I remember everything that happened that day from the time I woke up that morning in Fort Worth to the time we finally arrived back in Washington at Andrews Air Force Base and took the president’s body out to Bethesda Naval Hospital for the autopsy,” Clint Hill said.
Special Agent Clint Hill was behind the president’s limo when the shots were fired in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
“When I saw the president react to being shot just below the neckline and just to the right of the spinal column, he grabbed at his throat. I knew something was wrong so I ran to the car trying to get to the president and Mrs. Kennedy to provide a barrier behind him so that nothing further could happen. Unfortunately, I got there a little bit too late,” Hill said.
The emotional trauma from that day sent Hill into a deep depression and haunted him until just a few years ago.
“I cut off all relationships with friends and family. I pretty much locked myself into my home and lived on alcohol and tobacco,” Hill said.
In 2009, Hill met a writer he could trust and began to talk about what happened in 1963. He said that is when he finally began to heal.
Hill was in Skiatook Saturday to sign copies of the book that tells his story.
A newly remodeled overlook on Skiatook Lake is now called the Clint Hill Heroes Gathering Place.
It’s a place for veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to find understanding and their voice.
“It takes a lot of guts and strength to really sit down and talk and get those feelings out so that you can really begin a normal life again,” Hill said.
Hill’s memoir is called “Mrs. Kennedy and Me” and was published two years ago. His second book, “Five Days in November,” was released last year.