Former Secret Service agent speaks of fateful day in Dallas in 1963Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's not every day Secret Service Agents from Fargo greet a passenger off a flight at Hector Airport. But tonight, those agents welcomed one of their own - one of the most notable Secret Service Agents - from one of America's most tragic days.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
It's not every day Secret Service Agents from Fargo greet a passenger off a flight at Hector Airport. But tonight, those agents welcomed one of their own - one of the most notable Secret Service Agents - from one of America's most tragic days. North Dakota Native Clint Hill was the agent assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy the day JFK was assassinated in Dallas. For years, he remained silent about the tragedy. Tonight, he told his story at Concordia College, which is honoring him with an Alumni Achievement Award.
57 years after he left Concordia, Clint Hill would return to the campus carrying with him, details from a day that haunts him and his country to this day.
Clint Hill – Retired Secret Service Agent: “I saw the President grab at his throat, and so I jumped and ran, trying to get on the back of the presidential car.”
For years, so many new Clint Hill as "that man" who would climb aboard Kennedy's limousine when shots rang out in Dallas.
Clint Hill: “There was a third shot that rang out, hit the President in the head, near the ear, it was so massive and violent that it spewed blood and brains all over including myself and Mrs. Kennedy came out of her seat on the trunk trying to grab material that came off the President's head. She did not know I was there.”
For years, the tragedy would cripple Hill emotionally, physically.
Clint Hill: “I went into a deep depression for 7 years, alcohol and tobacco. I finally quit that and then I started to heal myself.”
It would be decades later before Clint Hill would return to Dallas, Texas and retrace his footsteps and relive that fateful day, but he says those two return trips changed his life.
Clint Hill: It was the best thing I could have done, I should have done it a long time before then, It helped me healing slowly ever since.
Hill finally went public recently, writing a book about the assassination. It would mean a cathartic healing period in his life. Still.
Clint Hill: “Still a part of me feels responsibility and guilt because I was the only one who could have done anything.”
Hill is impressed with the interest young people have in Kennedy and the story of his assassination. Hill says it is his job to set the record straight, dispelling the conspiracy myths that still surround the steamy afternoon in Dallas that changed the country forever.
Hill is working on another book called "Mrs. Kennedy and Me.” It will be out next spring. He continued to guard Jackie Kennedy a year after JFK's assassination.