For Henry Dashiell "Hank" Burroughs Jr., a veteran White House Associated Press photographer, accompanying President John F. Kennedy to Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, was going to be another routine assignment.
The whirlwind Texas trip was to end in Hyannis Port, Mass., where Kennedy would spend Thanksgiving.
The presidential party landed at Dallas Airport at 12:37 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on a warm, sun-splashed afternoon.
As Kennedy departed Air Force One, he walked across the airport tarmac to well-wishers behind a chain link fence.
Burroughs recorded Kennedy shaking hands before getting into the open-topped presidential Lincoln for Dallas. He would be dead in less than an hour.
"Hank called it The Last Handshake," said Peg Burroughs, who was married to the photographer for 28 years and is writing a biography of him.
The photo is part of an exhibit that she organized of her late husband's work for display at Norair Hall at BayWoods of Annapolis, an assisted-living community.
"Hank was 12 cars back in the motorcade when he heard the shots. And until his dying day, he said he heard four shots. At first, he said, he thought it was some kind of `Texas salute,'" Burroughs said from her BayWoods home.
"It was pure chaos, he said, with people running around and crying."
"It was a hard day," the photographer told The Sun in a 1999 interview. He died in 2000.
Burroughs returned to Washington to cover the presidential funeral, creating another memorable image -- of JFK's flag-draped casket passing in front of the U.S. Capitol.
With his camera -- first a bulky Speed Graphic and later a Leica, Rolex and Nikon -- Burroughs recorded some of the most momentous figures and events of the 20th century -- the administrations of presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Gerald Ford, the Nuremberg war-crime trials, the Berlin airlift, America's entry into space and Watergate.
Burroughs was born in Washington in 1919, and later moved with his family to the 3000 block of Harlem Ave. in Baltimore. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute.
His interest in photography began as a 5-year-old and stemmed from his grandfather, the official photographer at the Navy's powder factory at Indian Head, Charles County.
He worked for Blakeslee-Lane Inc., the North Charles Street commercial studio, then was hired by The Washington Post as a fashion photographer in 1938. He joined AP in 1944.
The first president he covered was FDR, and he once photographed him being pushed in a wheelchair into a joint session of Congress, looking haggard after returning from the Yalta Conference of early 1945. The picture was never published, though, because of the prohibition against showing FDR in his wheelchair.
His wife said Burroughs enjoyed covering Harry S. Truman, reveled in Kennedy's wit and kept a suitcase packed at all times for the unpredictable Lyndon B. Johnson and his last-minute trips to his Texas ranch.
"Hank always said Truman was a down-to-earth guy who always accommodated the photographers who requested, `Just one more, Mr. President.' He called them the One More Club," said the wife.
"Hank was a most remarkable and sort of uncharacteristic White House photographer who as a breed have to have sharp elbows, an aggressive spirit and a competitive drive that gets him to the front to get `the picture,'" said Terence F. Smith, longtime friend and former neighbor on the West River, who is media correspondent for the Jim Lehrer News Hour on PBS.
"He was able to always get `the picture' without stepping on many toes," he said.
Marlin Fitzwater, the only press secretary to serve two presidents -- Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush -- was another Anne Arundel neighbor.
"No matter how much time you spend in the White House, in its rooms, or on presidential trips, the rigors and challenges help form an intimate bond between you and anyone who has ever worked there. And that's how I felt about Hank," Fitzwater said. "He was so much more than a photographer. He was a dignified and charming person who had a sense of history whenever he looked into the lens."
An eye problem led to Burroughs' retirement in 1976. "The AP wanted him to come inside and be an editor, but Hank said, `I'm a shooter, not an editor,'" his wife said.
His favorite event, his wife said, was the National Spelling Bee. "He appreciated the drama and the agony the kids were going through as they tried to spell," she said.