November 22, 2013 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, by Lee Harvey Oswald and for those that were alive on November 22, 1963, they remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. Two days after the assassination, as Oswald was being transferred from the Dallas City Jail to a private armored car, and surrounded by law enforcement officers and reporters, Jack Ruby stepped out from the crowd of reporters and at 11:21 AM CST, shot Oswald with a .38 revolver to the abdomen and killing him.
Standing next to Ruby with his microphone in hand, and wearing a white raincoat, was radio station WNEW-AM of New York reporter, Ike Pappas. Pappas would always remember where he was, not only on the day of the assassination, but on November 24, 1963.
Born, Icarus (“Ike”) Nestor Pappas on April 16, 1933, in Flushing, New York, Pappas graduated Long Island University and served in the United States Army for two years assigned to the Stars and Stripes.
At the time of JFK’s assassination, Pappas was working for the radio station which sent him to Dallas to cover the tragic events. As Oswald was being led out and came into view, Pappas began his report, “Now the prisoner, wearing a black sweater, he’s changed from his T-shirt, is being moved out toward an armored car. Being led out by Captain Fritz.” (car horn sounds) “There’s the prisoner.” (Pappas holds his microphone out towards Oswald) “Do you have anything to say in your defense… ”
Before Oswald could answer, Ruby stepped out in front of the reporters, moved in front of Oswald and fired one shot into Oswald. Pappas excitedly continued his reporting, “There’s a shot! Oswald has been shot! Oswald has been shot! A shot rang out. Mass confusion here, all the doors have been locked. Holy mackerel!” Several photographs and live television film show Pappas at the moment of the shooting. Pappas subsequently testified at Ruby’s trial and before the Warren Commission.
Pappas joined CBS News in 1964 as a news writer and in 1967 became network correspondent and stayed for over 25 years. He covered the Vietnam War, the anti-war protests, the Apollo Moon shots, the civil rights protests, the 6-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Martin Luther King’s assassination, and in May, 1970, was on the grounds of Kent University when the Ohio National Guards shot four students during an anti-war protest.
After his lay-off from CBS News in 1987, due to downsizing by the station, he then formed his own television production company and appeared in several movies. Pappas died on August 31, 2008 at age 75 at Arlington, Virginia. He was married to Carolyn Hoffman Pappas.
Ike Pappas was a veteran reporter who, on November 22, 1963, while just doing his job, was thrust into one of this nation’s greatest tragedies… the assassination of President Kennedy, and will be forever linked to it by film and photography.