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The Nation Remembers: Visitors Tour JFK's Air Force One in Dayton

Updated: Monday, November 25 2013, 05:04 PM EST
DAYTON, Ohio (Larry Davis) -- Images of Air Force One are a part of our memories of the assassination of President Kennedy.

And the plane that brought the President to Dallas and returned his body to Washington the same day is open for tours at the Air Force museum near Dayton.  Local 12 News reporter Larry Davis shows us the wide range of history made on air force one that fateful day.

This is Sam 26000, better known as Air Force One.  Its been housed here at the Air Force museum since 1998, but it will always be remembered for its place in history 50 years ago.

November 22nd, 1963, Air Force One arrived in Dallas. President Kennedy and the First Lady were all smiles as they made their way down the steps. 

Steve Cawthon was in second grade; he remembers that day.

"I just take myself back to this, just a classic picture to when they landed in Dallas.  They came out of this door right here, and the picture of Mrs. Kennedy coming down first, the classic pink dress and the pill box hat, it just absolutely takes you back."

Later, tragedy would strike the Presidential motorcade. 

President Kennedy died of his gunshot wounds.  His coffin later carried back on to Air Force One for the trip back to Washington.

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination, museum tourists walk the narrow aisles of this plane. The cockpit, the seats, the state room are behind partitions.  You can feel the history.

Doctor Jeff Underwood is a historian at the Air Force Museum, "I think the voices of the people past might be a little louder in the aircraft that they will hear them a little more clearly because everything will be focused for that one moment when they get to experience what it would have been like 50 years earlier."

And this was the exact spot on air force one where Lyndon Johnson raised his right hand and was became in as the 36th president of the United States.  And this was the picture taken of Lyndon Johnson taking the oath of office.  The photographer crammed into a crowded corner.

"I can get just a feeling of what it would have been like thinking of all those people their heart has been torn because someone they know has been murdered."

A short distance away President Kennedy's casket was stored here in the back of the plane. Jackie Kennedy sat by its side.

"We have the contrast between the high politics just 30 feet away from us, but right here it goes back to something as personal as a widow flying her murdered husband back from Dallas to Washington D.C."

Also on display at the museum are the blankets for the President and the First Lady, the pilot's log book, the trip itinerary.  An x on the flight card marks the cancellations of two planned stops; the assassination forcing a detour to Washington.

Touring Air Force One at the Air Force Museum brings back memories for those who remember the day a young President was assassinated.  It was like it was just yesterday this plane flew eight Presidents from JFK to Bill Clinton; but it will always be remembered as John F. Kennedy's Air Force One.

The museum will now shuttle visitors to the plane four times a day and seven days a week through December 1st.

VIDEO hereThe Nation Remembers: Visitors Tour JFK's Air Force One in Dayton


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