There have been four Presidents of the United States who have been assassinated. Just about every American knows about the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln — although James Garfield and William McKinley were also shot and killed while in office.
What many Americans might also forget is the attempted assassination attempts. Although there have been numerous plots which have been prevented over the years, it has been much more rare to actually shoot a President, while having him survive the attempt.
36 years ago today, President Ronald Reagan was shot in an attempted assassination attempt.
The shot was made by John Hinckley Jr., who was amongst a group of reporters following the President to his limousine. Reagan had just been speaking to leaders of the AFL-CIO.
Besides Reagan, he shot three others who were surrounding the President. His Press Secretary Jim Brady, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, as well as District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty.
Right after being shot, Reagan was shoved into his limousine, it was not yet known that he had actually been shot. The .22 caliber bullet collapsed the President’s left lung, while he was lucky enough to have it just barely miss his heart. Despite being 70 years old, he was able to step up and walk on his own into the hospital.
Even during this difficult time, his strong sense of humor was still something which shown through. As he was in the Emergency Room waiting for the surgery which would save his life, he explained to his wife Nancy, “Honey, I forgot to duck.”
He also spoke to the surgeons there and wanted to make sure of something before they proceeded, “Please tell me you’re Republicans.” A jury in 1982 found Hinckley not guilty by reasons of insanity.
During September of last year, Hinckley was released from a mental hospital after being there for more than 30 years.
What do you think? Where were you when President Reagan was shot? Let HYPELINE News know what you think in the comments!