REAGAN SURVIVED ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT 35 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) On March 30, 1981, thirty-five years ago today, President Ronald Wilson Reagan was shot as he left a speaking engagement at the Hilton Hotel here in the Nation's Capital. Mr. Reagan became the first president since JFK to be hit by gunfire.
The President and three others were shot by John Hinckley, Jr.* who was immediately taken into custody. The assassination attempt, which came just 69 days into Mr. Reagan's first term, took place at 2:27 p.m. as the president, accompanied by aides and Secret Service agents, exited the hotel.
Six shots were fired from a Rohm RG-14 .22 caliber pistol. Special Agent Jerry Parr of the United States Secret Service pushed Reagan into the back of the Presidential car in an attempt to get him out of the line of fire while Special Agent Timothy McCarthy, placing his body in front of the President, took a bullet in the abdomen.
The other victims included James Brady, Reagan's Press Secretary and Special Agent Thomas Delahanty. The President was taken to nearby George Washington University Hospital.
After getting out of his car, the President's legs became wobbly and he was taken into the hospital where he was attended by a surgical team headed by Dr. Joseph Giordano.
Mr. Reagan, who had been given blood, was wheeled into surgery at 3:24 p.m. Although groggy, the President said to the doctors...
"I hope you are all Republicans."
Dr. Giordano replied...
"Today, Mr. President, we are all Republicans."
A bullet was found in Mr. Reagan's lung just an inch from his heart. Thanks to the quick action by the Secret Service and the medical staff at George Washington University, President Reagan recovered.
In his book "Reagan's America: Innocents at Home," Garry Wills writes...
"The grace and humor Reagan showed after the attempt to assassinate him...added a mythical quality to his leadership, revealing his character in a way that made it almost impossible to dislike him."
*John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. was born on May 29, 1955 in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He grew up in Dallas, Texas and attended Texas Tech University.
"Ronald Reagan: Grace Under the Scalpel, the Great Communicator Strikes Again," by David Emery, www.urbanlegends.about.com/
June 19, 2012