Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dan Farrell dies, took photo of JFK Jr saluting his father's coffin

Dan Farrell, whose photograph of a young John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting during the 1963 funeral ceremonies for his slain father became one of the most memorable images surrounding the Kennedy assassination, died April 13 at a hospital in Rockville Centre, N.Y. He was 84.

The cause was pneumonia, said a son, Daniel M. Farrell.

On Nov. 25, 1963, Mr. Farrell was on assignment in Washington for his newspaper, the New York Daily News, covering the funeral of President John F. Kennedy, who had been killed three days before in Dallas.

After beginning his day at the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Farrell moved to a spot across from St. Matthew’s Cathedral in downtown Washington. He stood on a crowded flatbed truck alongside scores of other photographers, about 150 feet from the cathedral’s front door.

Fifty years later, Mr. Farrell recalled the scene in an interview with the Daily News.

“It was the saddeset thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” he said.
When the mourners emerged from the cathedral, Mr. Farrell trained his Hasselblad camera on the Kennedy family. As the president’s coffin was placed on a horse-drawn caisson, his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, leaned down and said something to her son. It happened to be his third birthday.

Mr. Farrell was watching through a telephoto lens.
“She said, ‘John, salute,’ ” he recalled in 1999. “He didn’t respond at first. I took a deep breath. She said, ‘John-John, salute.’ ”

The young boy, wearing a light blue jacket and short pants, stepped forward and raised his right hand to his brow. Mr. Farrell snapped just a single frame.
Other members of the president’s family, including his widow and brothers, are visible in Mr. Farrell’s original picture, but it is dominated by the quiet gesture of its smallest figure.

The moment was captured on newswreel film and by at least one other photographer, Stan Stearns of United Press International. Mr. Farrell’s photograph, sometimes cropped to show only John Kennedy Jr., was sent out on the Associated Press wire service and became an enduring symbol of one of the most solemn days in the country’s history

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