The motorcade left Love Field at 11:55 a.m. to travel an 11-mile route through downtown Dallas, the streets clogged with spectators. Limousines moved out of Love Field onto Mockingbird Lane to Lemmon Avenue, then onto Cedar Springs Road off of Turtle Creek, onto Harwood and then to Main Street. Massive crowds filled the sidewalks, people hung out of windows in skyscrapers above, and many broke through the barricades spilling out into the street. The crowd was much bigger than the police had anticipated and, by all estimates, was the largest of the entire Texas trip. Through 12 blocks of cheering, screaming, whistling cacophony, the cars carefully inched their way as far as the courthouse at the end of Main. The motorcade then moved onto Houston Street and then to Elm, where crowds thinned out around Dealey Plaza. The drivers were instructed to proceed west on Elm past the Texas School Book Depository building, under the Triple Underpass, and to arrive at the Dallas Trade Mart for a luncheon scheduled for 1:00 p.m. where thousands were expected to be in attendance.
At precisely 12:30 p.m., as the President’s car passed the Texas School Book Depository on its right, a gunshot cracked the air … and what followed turned a triumphant, joyful, exhilarating day into horrific tragedy.