IOP resident remembers leading JFK funeral procession

IOP resident leads, remembers JFK funeral procession
Published: Nov. 21, 2013 at 11:35 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - Isle of Palms resident Dan Simanaitis can vividly remember the day President John F. Kennedy was buried.

He was there.

The retired lieutenant, who often represented the navy during key functions at The White House, received his most important assignment November 24, 1963.  He was asked to serve as the ceremonial guard for the late president's burial procession.

"I was absolutely enthralled with the Kennedy's and I really took it as a personal loss when he was assassinated," he said.  

In the days preceding JFK's assassination, Simanaitis says the naval troops had already been rehearsing for a possible funeral.

"We received information to be on the alert and to practice for a potential state funeral for Herbert Hoover."

Instead, the Lieutenant stood only footsteps away as the late president's closest family said goodbye.

"They spent a couple seconds, maybe ten seconds and looked in the casket and Bobby Kennedy shook his head no, and Mrs. Kennedy shook her head that way and they closed the casket, knelt down and walked away,"  Simanaitis said.

"It's a day that's embedded in my memory forever."

Copyright 2013 WCSC.  All rights reserved.