NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fifty years after his death the assassination of President John F. Kennedy still brings back painful memories for those who knew him best. That includes his friend, Neil Gallagher.
Gallagher, 92, is recovering from skin cancer surgery. The former New Jersey Congressman still tears up when he remembers that awful day in Dallas.
“These moments come fleeting back in my mind. Not like it was 50 years ago, but maybe 50 seconds ago,” he told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan on Friday.
Gallagher said he was in an office in Washington D.C. with Speaker of the House John McCormack when they were surrounded by Secret Service agents.
“Because John McCormack was now second in line. We really didn’t know if it was a conspiracy,” he explained.
Gallagher and other Democrats eventually made their way to Andrews Air Force Base where the president’s body was flown. There, Gallagher said he saw the president’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, who he knew well.
“People were walking. Everyone was crying,” he recalled. “I walked over to where Bobby was all by himself. I put my arms around him and we just walked up and down. He was crying.”
Gallagher said RFK described how FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told him about the tragedy.
“He said that the old man called me and says, ‘Your brother is dead’ and hung up,” Gallagher explained.
The bad blood between Hoover and Kennedy has been well documented, but Gallagher said he would rather remember the good and charming friend that he knew as the president.
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