Nightly News | November 18, 2013
>>> we are back, and tonight we begin our coverage of the 50th anniversary coming up this friday of the assassination of president kennedy in dallas . tonight the story of a man who witnessed it up close. former secret service agent clint hill still haunted by the events of that day, described in a new book "five days in november," which comes out tomorrow. tonight agent hill returns to dallas with savannah guthrie for a rare and personal look back on that day.
>> 50 years ago this week the kennedys came to dallas .
>> there is mrs. kennedy , and dallas turns out for them.
>> he is not in his limousine. is he reaching across the fence, shaking hands.
>> it all changed in an instant.
>> chaos, confusion, and for the men willing to take a bullet for the president, utter desperation.
>> the secret service men on top. that agent was 31-year-old clint hill , a man still struggling with what might have been.
>> a tragic situation, and something that just never goes away. it's always eating at me.
>> we first met hill in 2012 . he told us how he was right by mrs. kennedy 's side as the nation mourns.
>> it must have broken your heart.
>> it still does.
>> now five decades later we return to dallas to retrace those final fateful steps.
>> it was the usual practice to have open air motorcades.
>> he didn't even like you agents hanging on to the back of the car.
>> no, because he didn't want it to appear that there was anything between him and the people.
>> is this where the crowds were really getting thick?
>> this is where the crowds really started to build and grow. they were very enthusiastic and very friendly.
>> reporter: but the crowds began to thin as the motorcade turned towards the plaza.
>> you round this corner not knowing lee harvey oswald is right up there.
>> i was on the car behind the presidential car when all of a sudden as we got down here a little bit farther there was a loud explosive noise that came over my right shoulder. as i turned towards the noise, my eyes caught the back of the president's car, and i saw him grab at his throat like this and move violently to his left towards mrs. kennedy , and i knew something was wrong, so i jumped off my position on the car and ran towards the presidential vehicle.
>> the limousine might have been hit by gunfire.
>> it hit the president in the head, and when that happened, she turned and stood up on the back of the car.
>> that famous moment when she reaches across the trunk. no one understood what she was doing. you knew.
>> i knew. she was trying to gather material that had come off the president's head. i got up on the trunk, and i got ahold of her, and i put her in the back seat, and i looked down, and that's when i saw the president, the right side of his face was up, and i could see his eyes.
>> you knew at that moment this is a fatal --
>> it was my assumption that it was a fatal shot, that he was dead, and i turned and gave a thumbs down to the follow-up car to let them know how serious the situation was.
>> mrs. kennedy said something in those moments.
>> oh, she said, jack, jack, what have they done to you? then she said i have his brains in my hand, and then she said, jack, jack, i love you, jack.
>> the president of the united states is dead.
>> reporter: it was a moment that changed not just a nation, but a young man forever.
>> you know in your head there's nothing you could have done.
>> but your heart?
>> that's the problem. it's that aching sensation that, oh, if only.
>> how about that after all these years, like it was yesterday. savannah guthrie with clint hill tomorrow night as our week-long coverage continues. tom brokaw 's interview with the widow of the dallas police officer who was also killed that day.