Written By: Ben Cosgrove

“Now in the sunny freshness of a Texas morning,” LIFE magazine wrote in its Nov. 29, 1963, issue, alongside the first photo in this gallery, “with roses in her arms and a luminous smile on her lips, Jacqueline Kennedy still had one hour to share the buoyant surge of life with the man at her side.”

It was a wonderful hour [LIFE wrote, just a week after JFK’s assassination]. Vibrant with confidence, crinkle-eyed with an all-embracing smile, John F. Kennedy swept his wife with him into the exuberance of the throng at Dallas’ Love Field. This was an act in which Jack Kennedy was superbly human. Responding to the warmth his own genuine warmth evoked in others, he met his welcomers joyously, hand to hand and heart to heart. For him this was all fun as well as politics. For his shy wife, surmounting the grief of her infant son’s recent death, this mingling demanded a grace and gallantry she would soon need again.

Then the cavalcade, fragrantly laden with roses for everyone, started into town. Eight miles on the way, in a sixth-floor window, the assassin waited. All the roses, like those abandoned in Vice President Johnson’ car [last slide in this gallery], were left to wilt. They would be long faded before a stunned nation would fully comprehend its sorrow.

Here, LIFE.com presents photos by Art Rickerby most of which never ran in LIFE made in the hours before, as well as the moments immediately after, the killing that shocked the world.

Buy the LIFE book, The Day Kennedy Died


John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

John and Jackie Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

Lyndon Johnson with Jackie and John Kennedy in Forth Worth on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, just hours before JFK's assassination.

Lyndon Johnson with Jackie and John Kennedy in Forth Worth on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, just hours before JFK’s assassination.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

JFK in Forth Worth, Nov. 22, 1963

JFK in Fort Worth, Nov. 22, 1963

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

President John Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and others at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963.

President John Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and others at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

President John Kennedy in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before flying to Dallas.

President John Kennedy in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before flying to Dallas.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

President John Kennedy delivers a brief speech outside the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before flying to Dallas.

President John Kennedy delivers a brief speech outside the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before flying to Dallas.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

President John Kennedy greets admirers in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before flying to Dallas.

President John Kennedy greeted admirers in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before flying to Dallas.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

The scene at Dealey Plaza in Dallas in the moments after John Kennedy was shot, Nov. 22, 1963.

The scene at Dealey Plaza in Dallas in the moments after John Kennedy was shot, Nov. 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

Outside Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, where JFK was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. in the afternoon, half an hour after being shot.

Outside Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, where JFK was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. in the afternoon, half an hour after being shot.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

Vice President Lyndon Johnson's car at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963.

Vice President Lyndon Johnson’s car at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963.

Art Rickerby/Life Pictures/Getty Images

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