It was a stunning bouquet of 3 dozen red roses that First Lady Jackie Kennedy had with her as the limousine carried her and President Kennedy through the streets of Dallas on November 22nd, 1963.
Then the shots rang out in Dealy Plaza. The roses were dropped as The first lady tried to comfort her dying husband as the car raced to Parkland Hospital.
As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the that awful day in Texas, an Oklahoma family holds on to a precious memento found inside the hospital.
One of the roses Mrs. Kennedy had in the car with her that were discarded as the presidential party raced into the emergency room. Found by an Oklahoma doctor who happened to be doing his surgical residency at Parkland.
“He and two of the other doctors wandered around trauma room one. There they found the bouquet of roses in a trash basket”, says Don’s widow Jan Gilliland. “There was distinctly blood on it and who knows what else was on the rose.”
Dr. Gilliland was able to preserve the rose and made a special display case for it. The stem fell off years ago but the rose bud itself remains intact.
A silent witness to the events that happened inside the presidents car as the bullets were fired.Over the years some have encouraged the family to put the rose up for auction..it could be worth a fortune, bur Dr. Gilliland said no..as does his wife. “He wanted to contribute it to history and it to have more dignity than that”
The Kennedy Rose. A fascinating and somber Oklahoma connection to THAT day in Dallas.