Of the many images that have burned into the world's conscience when JFK died, the First Lady in her pink suit may be the most enduring.
President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline arrived in Dallas, Texas aboard Air Force One shortly before noon on November 22, 1963.
"They look like 'Mr. and Mrs. America'," a staffer noted in his journal.
Television and print painted them as the golden couple of the Western world.
To the public, the 46-year-old leader of the United States was a happily married father-of-two. At 34, his wife of ten years was lauded for the style she had brought to the previously dowdy White House.
To millions, she was "Jackie".
Landing in Texas, 56 years ago this week, in her pink suit and matching hat "the most beautiful woman to ever occupy the White House" smiled and waved to the welcoming crowds.
One of the things she remembered about the day was how the President had asked – for the only time in their marriage – what she planned to wear during their trip to Dallas, she told William Manchester in one of two, five-hour interviews conducted for his 1967 account of the assassination, The Death of a President.
"There are going to be all these rich, Republican women at that lunch," JFK told her, "wearing mink coats and diamond bracelets. And you've got to look as marvellous as any of them. Be simple – show these Texans what good taste really is."
She had tramped in and out of the room, holding dresses in front of her until she settled on the pink bouclé ensemble with navy blue lapels and matching hat.
While the suit is often credited to Chanel, it was instead an exact replica – even using Chanel material – made by Chez Ninon in a Park Avenue salon, to avoid political criticism.
Jackie had worn it on six occasions prior to that day. Little did she know only hours after she and the President stepped off the plane, the suit would be splattered in her husband's blood, and she'd never wear it again.
"There'd been the biggest motorcade from the airport," she told journalist Theodore H. White a week after JFK's death.
"They were gunning the motorcycles; there were these little backfires. There was one noise like that, I thought it was a backfire …"
The first shot hit the President in the upper spine, and Jackie reacted by trying to put her arms around him.
"When he was shot, he had such a wonderful expression on his face," she told White.
"You know that wonderful expression he had when they'd ask him a question about one of the ten million gadgets they have in a rocket; just before he'd answer, he'd look puzzled – and then he slumped forward."
The second bullet entered the back of his skull.
"He had his hand out; I could see a piece of his skull coming off," she said.
She remembered being surprised by the fact it was flesh-coloured, not white; and later recalled climbing onto the trunk of the car to retrieve the serrated piece of his skull sliding onto the road.
"Then he slumped in my lap. His blood and brains were in my lap."
She held him in her arms on the desperate dash to the hospital.
"I kept saying, 'Jack, Jack, Jack' and someone was yelling, 'He's dead, he's dead'," she recalled.
"All the ride to the hospital I kept bending over him saying, 'Jack, Jack, can you hear me? I love you Jack.' I kept holding the top of his head down, trying to keep the brains in."
The President was effectively "dead on arrival" when the car, its back seat wet with his blood, reached the hospital. But Jackie, in her bloodstained suit, refused to leave his side.
"They came trying to get me, they tried to grab me, but I said, 'I'm not leaving'," she said, telling one of his physicians, "I want to be there when he dies."
When another doctor tried to remove her from the operating room, she responded, "It's my husband, his blood, his brains are all over me."
She knelt in his blood on the floor, finding his hand under the sheet as a priest administered the last rites.
Jackie stayed with him as they put his body in the casket – and it was there she said farewell with a kiss, and slipped the wedding band from her own finger onto his.
Still in shock from the bullets that killed her husband – and missed her only by inches – Jackie stood beside the new President, Lyndon B Johnson as he was inaugurated, refusing all offers to change her bloodstained clothes: "Let them see what they've done."
She wiped the blood from her face, and instantly wished she hadn't. "One second later, I thought, 'Why did I wash the blood off?' I should have left it there."
The sight of Jackie in her pink suit was "one of the most poignant", recalled Lady Bird, Johnson's wife.
"That immaculate woman, exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood."
Jackie refused to leave her husband's casket even long enough to alight from the presidential plane in Washington via the passenger ramp.
Instead, she stayed with it on the cargo lift and jumped down herself, hand-in-hand with Attorney-General (and JFK's brother) Robert Kennedy, and the two rode with it to Bethesda Naval Hospital and then back to the White House, where it lay in state in the East Room.
It was full morning before Jackie, in her blood-spattered suit, left her dead husband's side, and only then for the most painful duty of all: to see their children for the first time, and try to find the words to tell them what had happened.
The suit, still stained with her husband's blood, was put in a bag and today rests in a climate-controlled vault in the National Archives just outside Washington, with orders that it should not be seen by the public until 2103, so as not "in any way to dishonour the memory of the late President or cause unnecessary grief or suffering to members of his family."
"I thought it would be bound in black and put away on dark library shelves," Jackie said of the assassination.
But the nightmare of that day, and the sight of the President's dazed widow in her bloodstained pink suit, has never – and will never – go away.