Jacqueline Kennedy U.S. President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy walk down the steps of Air Force One as they arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas less than an hour before his assassination in this November 22, 1963 Photo: REUTERS

“Let them see what they’ve done,” were the words Jacqueline Kennedy spoke 54 years ago, refusing to take off her suit covered in her husband’s blood.

The iconic pink suit the first lady wore while her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed in an open top car in Dallas has been kept out of the public view since she first took it off. It currently resides in a climate-controlled vault outside of Washington D.C. preserved by the National Archives. The suit won’t be seen by the public again for almost a century.

After her husband was killed, Jacqueline Kennedy was whisked away from the scene, the president was brought to Parkland Hospital in Dallas where he was pronounced dead. The First lady and the president’s body were then taken to Washington D.C. on Air Force One. All the while Jacqueline Kennedy refused to change. She appears in the famous suit, an American made version of a Chanel, in a photograph of the swearing in ceremony of Lyndon B. Johnson on Air Force One.

Once back at the White House, the first lady finally changed out of the blood caked suit. Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal maid, Providencia Paredes, took her garments and put them in a bag for storage.

John F. Kennedy had remarked that his wife looked “smashing” in the suit. The president even made a joke about his wife, known for her keen fashion sense, the morning he was killed in 1963.

“Two years ago, I introduced myself in Paris by saying that I was the man who had accompanied Mrs. Kennedy to Paris. I am getting somewhat that same sensation as I travel around Texas. Nobody wonders what Lyndon [Johnson] and I wear,” said Kennedy.

The suit and accessories Jacqueline Kennedy wore arrived in a box to the National Archives in 1964 with a handwritten note from her mother that read “Jackie's suit and bag — worn November 22, 1963.”

When Jacqueline Kennedy died in 1994, all her belongings were bequeathed to her daughter Caroline Kennedy. In 2003 the suit was gifted to the people of United States with the stipulation that it not be displayed until 2103.

One of the things that did not make it into that box that arrived at the National Archive, was the suit’s matching pillbox hat, which appears to have been lost.

RTX3I8TY U.S. Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson (C) takes the presidential oath of office from Judge Sarah T. Hughes (2nd from L) as President John F. Kennedy's widow first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (2nd from R) stands at his side aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas just two hours after Kennedy was shot in this November 22, 1963 photo. Photo: Reuters