Kennedy's Secret Service agents tell their story

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on November 19, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 21 at 9:08 PM

DALLAS - For the first time, we are hearing extensively from the Secret Service agents who protected President Kennedy and especially from the one who came closest to saving him in Dallas.

Two different films show agent Clint Hill, jumping on the back of the limo to try and help. Now a book by the agents is revealing what happened and how Hill and the others still feel some sense of failure for not keeping Kennedy safe.

The stretch of Elm Street through Dealey Plaza is brief. But former Secret Service agent Hill traveled it countless times in his mind.

“Well I still feel a sense of responsibility because I was the only agent who was in a position to do anything," he said.

Hill is the agent who sprinted from the trailing car toward the presidential car after hearing the first shot.

Just as he approached, the third shot hit Kennedy and the First Lady tried to retrieve part of his skull. “She didn't know I was there. So I did my best to get her back in the seat I grabbed a hold of her a little bit and pushed her back," he said.

Hill's gladly telling his story now as part of a book by Gerald Blaine, who was also in the Kennedy Secret Service detail, because both says there was no conspiracy.

“We felt it was about time that we speak up because if we didn't speak up I'm afraid history would be so confusing," Blaine said.

According to co-author, Lisa McCubbin, it also gave the many Kennedy agents a chance to bare long buried emotions. “I wanted to show that human side, that these are not just nameless faceless men in sunglasses and dark suits," she said.

For years, Hill felt he could've saved Kennedy. But now after studying the angles and distance of the fatal shot comes a different conclusion.

“I realized that it was really not a situation that I could have changed in any way that I did the best that I could do under the circumstances that day," he said.

There are few professions with the potential of 100 percent failure. But Blaine says the Secret Service is one of them and when Kennedy was killed, they all failed.

And they never can forget.

E-mail: bwatson@wfaa.com

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