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JFK Assassination Tape: Long-Lost Version Of Air Force One Recording Made Public

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PHILADELPHIA -- A long-lost version of an Air Force One recording made right after President John F. Kennedy's assassination can now be heard by the general public.

The Raab Collection is a Philadelphia historic documents dealer that acquired the tape from a Kennedy aide's estate and put it up for sale. It donated a digitized copy Monday to the National Archives outside Washington.

U.S. archivist David Ferriero calls the recording an important discovery that's accessible at the National Archives and on its website.

Raab vice president Nathan Raab says the tape provides a more complete view of the chaotic circumstances following Kennedy's assassination in Dallas in 1963.

The tape has around 40 minutes of additional material not in the official version in the government's archives for decades, including debate about what to do with Kennedy's body.

The tape includes an exchange between Rose Kennedy, JFK's mother, just sworn-in President Lyndon Johnson and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson.

"I wish to God there was something that I could do. And I wanted to tell you that we are grieving with you," said President Johnson.

"Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I know you loved Jack. And he loved you," said Rose Kennedy.

"Mrs. Kennedy. We just wanted to -- we feel like we've lost..." said Lady Bird Johnson.

"Thank you very much," responded Kennedy.

In another part of the tape, an aide is heard trying to locate the whereabouts of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis LeMay. The tapes reveal that LeMay was airborne during the assassination, while his whereabouts had before been a source of speculation. "General LeMay,” said the aide, “is in a C 140...He's inbound. His code name is Grandson. And I wanna talk to him...If you can't work him now, it's gonna be too late, because he'll be on the ground in a half-hour."

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