The 50-year anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination brings back bitter sweet memories for a former Secret Service agent from Cleveland
The 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination brings back bittersweet memories for a former Secret Service agent from Cleveland.
Paul Landis' kitchen table is filled with one of the most memorable moments in U.S. history.
As a Secret Service agent for the Kennedy detail, Paul spent his days and nights with them.
"It was a very unique time, we were very close," said Landis.
For Paul, the anniversary of JFK's death is a personal and painful one.
On that dreadful day, Paul was in the car behind the President.
"Just after we completed the first turn is when I heard the first shot, came over my right shoulder. Then I heard the second shot, it came so rapidly. When I looked up at the President, there was a third shot, and that's when I saw it hit him," recalls Landis.
Through it all, Paul remained focused on his job for as long as his emotions would allow.
"When it hit me is when we got the President's body back to Air Force One, everybody settled and I moved to the front row of the plane. I broke down completely then," said Paul.
Parts of Paul's memories are detailed in three books. But for 40 years prior, he didn't talk about the shooting. He says he felt a sense of guilt and failure.
"I didn't like to talk about the fact that I was in the Secret Service because the assassination would come up," said Landis.
Paul remained with the First Lady for six months after the shooting, but he says the emotions were too strong. He left the Secret Service, but has never forgotten a family so filled with kindness.