The Kennedy Legacy & the Secret Service Agent from North Dakota - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

The Kennedy Legacy & the Secret Service Agent from North Dakota

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Clint Hill, Washburn, ND native, U.S. Secret Service, 1963 Clint Hill, Washburn, ND native, U.S. Secret Service, 1963
U.S. Secret Service Agent, Clint Hill, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy U.S. Secret Service Agent, Clint Hill, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy
Clint Hill, Bismarck, 2013 Clint Hill, Bismarck, 2013
Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin, Authors, "Five Days in November," Bismarck State College, 2013 Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin, Authors, "Five Days in November," Bismarck State College, 2013
Clint Hill, Assistant Director, U.S. Secret Service (retired), Bismarck State College, 2013 Clint Hill, Assistant Director, U.S. Secret Service (retired), Bismarck State College, 2013

 

His code name was "Dazzle," though he says he never knew why.

He's the man seen climbing over the back of the Presidential limousine in those iconic photos from Dallas in 1963.

Former Secret Service Agent Clint Hill -- he's a North Dakotan.  He's visiting Bismarck.  And he's recounting the Kennedys, the era and his remarkable role in a tragic American event 50 years ago this month.

"So I had a wonderful childhood in Washburn, North Dakota.  Growing up on the banks of the big Missouri.  It has served me very well," says Clint Hill, Assistant Director, U.S. Secret (retired).

From the banks of the Missouri to the Secret Service, such was the path that led Clint Hill to the Kennedy Presidential detail.  As a Secret Service Agent, he was assigned to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.  "She was very devoted to her husband and he was very devoted to her," says Hill.

Hill says working with the Kennedys required a special touch, due to the President's physical condition.  "There was some things that he just couldn't do.  He couldn't bend over and pick up his son, for example.  He'd have to, either one of us would pick him up, and hand him to him, or he'd have to get down on a knee."

Clint Hill was also part of the Dallas motorcade in 1963 -- the day America lost a President.  When the shots rang out, he's the man who ran to the Presidential limousine and climbed over the back to Mrs. Kennedy.   He's also the last surviving passenger of that Presidential limousine that raced to hospital with the fallen President.

"I've always had a sense of guilt and responsibility for what happened in Dallas, because at the time that it happened, considering everything -- my position, the shooter's position, everything else -- I was the only one who had a chance to do anything that day.  And I couldn't get there fast enough to do it. There wasn't anything more I could have done considering everything, and yet that lingering inability to prevent from happening what did happen still eats at me."

Fifty years later -- after serving Presidents, traveling the world and being a part of history -- coming home to North Dakota has special meaning for Clint Hill.  "So it was just a magnificent way to grow up as a child.  I wish my own grandchildren had that opportunity to grow up like that."

John F. Kennedy also had connections with North Dakota, as he made five appearances here from 1958 to 1963. 

Clint Hill's first book about the Kennedy legacy, "Mrs. Kennedy and Me," was a New York Times' best seller.  His new book, "Five Days in November," about the Kennedy assassination, will be released November 19th.  Hill told KX News that despite everything that happened, being a Secret Service Agent is the best job in the world.

Clint Hill has been a speaker at "The Kennedy Legacy:  50 Years Later" at Bismarck State College this week.  The three-day event runs through tomorrow.

 


 

 

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