About 45 minutes after President John F. Kennedy wasassassinated in downtown Dallas, Officer J.D. Tippit was on patrol in thenearby Oak Cliff neighborhood. He slowed down as he saw a man who met the vaguedescription of the shooting suspect walking down the street.
Moments later, Tippit got out of his patrol car and Lee Harvey Oswald openedfire, killing Tippit instantly.
In tribute to the fallen officer, the city's police force can wear a specialbadge throughout November, which marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy'sassassination and Tippit's death.
"We wanted to pay our respect to the sacrifice that J.D. Tippit made tothe city of Dallas," said Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas PoliceAssociation, which is helping facilitate the sale of the badges.
Tippit's 85-year-old widow, Marie Tippit, appreciates the gesture. She saidthe badge bearing her husband's name, number and date of death not only honorshim but also serves as a reminder of all of those who have died in the line ofduty and how fast an officer can be killed.
"It was just remarkable that I kept going. Without God's help Iwouldn't have because I just couldn't picture how we were going to live withouthim," she said. "I just couldn't figure that out.
"I had three children that needed their Dad, but he wasn't thereanymore."
J.D. Tippit had broken from his usual routine that day and ate lunch athome, where his wife fried some potatoes and made a sandwich for him.
"I kissed him bye not realizing that would be the last time I would seehim, but I felt the Lord really blessed by letting him come by that one lasttime," she said.
He was killed at about 1:15 p.m. by Oswald, who was arrested shortly afterat the Texas Theatre. Oswald was killed two days later by nightclub owner JackRuby during a police transfer.
Tippit, 39, had been an officer for 11 years when he was killed. He andMarie, who were both from the small northeast Texas town of Clarksville, weremarried Dec. 26, 1946, after he returned from World War II, where he served asparatrooper in the U.S. Army.
"He was a great family man," said Marie Tippit, now agreat-grandmother. "He loved his work. He felt that he was helping."
The badges, made by Utah-based SymbolArts, cost $70, with $5 from each salegoing to the Dallas Police Association's Assist the Officer Foundation, whichhelps injured officers and their families.
Rich Fiet, a sales executive with SymbolArts, said that so far about 300have been sold.
"It just is a reminder to the officers that we lost an officer in theline of duty and all of us are out there doing the same duty that J.D. Tippitwas doing that day and we should all be mindful of the dangers of thejob," said Sr. Cpl. Rick Janich, curator of the Dallas Police Department'smuseum.
Pinkston said that they will also be honoring Tippit at a candlelight vigilon evening of Nov. 22 at the historical marker placed last year near theintersection where he was killed.