Jacqueline Kennedy Secret Service agent to speak in Libertyville
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:24AM
The image of Clint Hill jumping on the back of the presidential limousine only seconds after the shooting of President John F. Kennedy will be forever etched in the memories of many Americans.
For Hill -- the former Secret Service agent assigned to Jacqueline Kennedy, who attempted to shield the President and First Lady on that November 1963 day in Dallas -- the memories will forever haunt him.
Looking back, Hill does not believe there is anything he could have done differently to stop the president’s assassination. But he still feels a sense of guilt.
“I feel a great deal of responsibility for not being able to protect the president,” said Hill, who is now 80 and lives in the Washington, D.C. area. “I reacted, but it was too late. I got close, but it wasn’t close enough.”
Hill will be in Libertyville to discuss and sign his new book, “Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir” on Monday, April 23. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Libertyville Civic Center, 135 W. Church St. The event is being sponsored by the Cook Memorial Library District, in conjunction with Lake Forest Book Store.
Hill served as the Secret Service agent in charge of protecting Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy from 1960 to 1964 and served five presidents during his tenure with the Secret Service.
Hill said he vowed never to write a book about his experiences but was convinced to do so by Lisa McCubbin, an award-winning author and journalist who served as co-author.
In the book, Hill reflects on his years of service as the loyal guardian of Mrs. Kennedy. Hill -- who had been previously assigned to protecting President Eisenhower -- admits he had initially been disappointed that he had not been assigned to protecting President Kennedy but eventually developed a close friendship with the First Lady.
“She was an extremely intelligent lady, very elegant and classy and a great mother,” said Hill. “She was very devoted to her children and her husband, and she wanted to do the best job she could as First Lady of the United States.”
Hill accompanied the First Lady on many of her overseas trips to Greece, Paris and Asia as well as South America.
“She was a wonderful ambassador. Wherever she traveled, she drew large crowds,” Hill said “At the same time, she loved her privacy.”
“We were very close,” he said. “We had a wonderful professional relationship.”
Hill also got to meet the president on many of his Secret Service assignments with the First Lady including at their family home in Hyannis Port, Mass. “He had a wonderful sense of humor,” he said. “He was just a wonderful man to be around.”
Hill remained on as the Secret Service agent for Mrs. Kennedy until after the election of November 1964, about a year after President Kennedy was killed. He talks in the book about the many dark days that followed JFK’s assassination.
The Cook Library had originally planned to host Hill’s visit at the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills but moved it to the larger venue at the Libertyville Civic Center because of the significant public interest. As of Monday, more than 150 people had signed up for the event, according to Gabriella Pantle, public relations coordinator for the Cook Library District.
The event is free but pre-registration is required and can be made by calling the library at (847) 362-2330 or visiting webres.cooklib.org.
Books for signing will be available for purchase, courtesy of Lake Forest Book Store.