Monday, May 12, 2008

J.D. Tippit's Widow Sees His Name On Officers' Memorial For First Time

By TODD J. GILLMAN / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON — More than four decades have passed since Marie Tippit lost her husband to John F. Kennedy’s assassin on that fateful November day in Dallas, and on Monday, she got to see J.D. Tippit’s name on a national police memorial, alongside those of thousands of other fallen officers.

The rain was falling steadily as the 79-year-old widow made her first visit to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. She rubbed her thumb gently across the marble, pursing her lips. A tear spilled down her cheek as her son patted her back.

For Mrs. Tippit, J.D. was more than a footnote to history, or a key piece of evidence to the Warren Commission’s investigation.

“He was a good police officer and he was a good husband and father,” she said.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Tippit will sit on the dais at a candlelight vigil expected to draw 20,000 to the memorial, a few blocks from the Capitol.

“This means a lot to us,” said Craig Floyd, chairman and CEO of the fund that built the memorial in 1991, personally playing tour guide.

He showed Mrs. Tippit the marble panel with her husband’s name. Just to the right, the name “John Kennedy” — a New York City police officer killed in 1922, placed there to remind visitors of Officer Tippit’s place in history.

He showed Mrs. Tippit the marble panel with her husband’s name. Just to the right, the name “John Kennedy” — a New York City police officer killed in 1922, placed there to remind visitors of Officer Tippit’s place in history.

“He represents — even though he was killed by the man who killed a president, because of that he just kind of represents a lot of the other officers that were killed in the line of duty, just out there doing their jobs every day,” Mrs. Tippit said.

She has long since remarried but often uses the name of her first husband. Life goes on, she said. But just as the world hasn’t forgotten the Kennedy assassination, she thinks often of her first husband. He was 39. That day, Nov. 22, 1963, he stopped home for lunch — not something he often did. She whipped up some tuna and fried potatoes and he rushed back to work.

Officer Tippit spotted Lee Harvey Oswald wearing a zipped-up jacket. It was 68 degrees, and the jacket looked out of place. He stopped his patrol car and got out. Oswald pulled a handgun and shot at point-blank range. It was 1:15 p.m., just 45 after the president had been shot.

Eyewitnesses called police. Oswald was cornered at the Texas Theater.... [Read the complete story]

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