Colonel Swindal begins a quick climb. He ascends higher than he had ever flown with President Kennedy, high enough to see clearly the curvature of the earth, and for the first time it hits him.
In a letter to William Manchester, the author of The Death of a President, Swindal describes the moment: “As the sun set on the flight from Dallas, flying over the storm clouds at forty thousand feet and darkness coming on so fast because of our high speed toward the East, suddenly realizing that President Kennedy was dead I felt that the world had ended and it became a struggle to continue.”
From Chris Jones’ “The Flight from Dallas”
What happens when two magazine writers publish stories on the same topic within a month of each other? We get to read some of the best long-form journalism of the year. Both Esquire’s Chris Jones and The Washingtonian’s Garrett M. Graff wrote about what it was like to be on Air Force One after the Kennedy assassination. Jones’ “The Flight From Dallas" hits 7,600 words, but Graff’s "Angel is Airborne" totals 18,000. Save some time to read both because they’re equally gripping and uniquely told narratives.