Sunday, November 22, 2009

JFK: It Was 46 Years Ago Today



46 years ago, on November 18, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy arrived in Tampa for a day of public events and speeches. Just four days later, on this date, President Kennedy would ride in his last motorcade as it moved through the streets of Dallas, Texas. His assassination shocked and saddened our nation and people throughout the world. To those in Tampa who had just experienced the excitement and vigor of our young president, his visit still fresh in their minds, it was numbing and especially hard to believe.


In 1964, by unanimous vote of Tampa City Council, the road which was originally Lafayette Street and later Grand Central Avenue, was renamed John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Part of his visit that November day to Tampa took him on Grand Central Avenue, past the spot where I took this photo. The sculptor Bernard Zuckerman created this statue in honor of Kennedy. It stands in a small plaza designed by architect Cesar Alfonso on the campus of the University of Tampa and faces the boulevard that was renamed in honor of the slain president.

13 comments:

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Fantastic and Great shot !! I loved this post !!Unseen Rajasthan

Lucy Corrander said...

The shadows from the tree make it look as if it is printed on textured paper.

I suppose it shows that I am growing old that he looks young.

Lucy

Beth Niquette said...

I was five when he was shot--I will never forget. Even as a young child I loved President Kennedy.

Lois said...

It's beautiful Frank! I still remember where I was when I first heard about it. I was walking down the hallway of my elementary school and I thought people were just joking. Then I saw people crying and I knew it was real. I'll never forget watching the funeral on TV.

Jacob said...

I had not remembered this until I read about it somewhere else. Thanks for the tribute to JFK.

I was working as an insurance investigator in Mesa, Arizona when we got the news...Lois and I didn't leave the TV set for about three days.

It's hard to describe what we felt - something akin to the bottom of the world dropping out!

Frank said...

@ Lucy Corrander - He does look young, doesn't he. Amazing it's been 46 years.

Frank said...

@ lois - I was sitting in a history class in Northern Virgina; we lived in Falls Church then. Pierre Salinger's daughter, Susan, was in that same class. (Her dad was presdient kennedy's press secretary and was in th air for a trip to Hawaii with some members of the cabinet.) How can anyone alive then not have vivid and stark memories of that moment we heard, and all that we did over the next few days. I stood with one brother and my mom in Washington as the funeral procession made its way from the Capital to the church. (Workers were repairing the street in front of them staying about a half block or so in front of Mrs. Kennedy as they walked the entire way. Seeing Halie Selassie, Charles de Gaulle, Prince Phillip and the two Kennedy brothers was not believable at the time. It is all so indelible and certainly stayed with each of us.

Frank said...

@ Lois - In digging back in my brain over 40 years to that day in 1963, I wrote that Pierre Salinger's daughter, who I went to school with was named Susan. No, her name was Suzanne. The minute I hit send I knew it wasn't Susan. (She died in 1995.)

Frank said...

@ Jacob - Many of us were watching non-stop and it was unprecedented then to have such non-stop television ceverage. I guess we were all in shock. (Those were the days when each station signed off at night with the flag and then a test pattern.)

I climbed down from the south rim into Grand Canyon in 1964 (It had snowed just before we arrived)and camped in southern Arizona. My visit to Nogales, Mexico was unforgettable for a young man. (And, our nights, around Easter that year) were cold!!

Jacob said...

Yes, Frank, I can imagine the fun you had in Nogales! :-) The last time I was at the Grand Canyon was 1961!

Don and Krise said...

Elementary school, second grade. It came over the intercom that President Kennedy had been shot. The next announcement was that of his death. I still remember walking home and talking to my mother about it. In some ways the shock never wore off. Even now when I think of him I think about how things might have been different had that one event not happened.
Excellent post and tribute Frank.

B SQUARED said...

Freshman English class. I was in the School Book Depository a year ago. A very different perspective when looking down from the window. Lots of thoughts but not enough space here to do them justice.

Frank said...

@ B Squared - It was certainly a defining moment in many ways. I made friends with a fellow my age named Robert White (who died in 2003). He was a teenager living in Maryland in 1963. JFK became his lifelong passion and near obsession and he amassed the largest private collection of memorabilia. Just unbelievable things. So many people were effected in countless ways by JFK's presidency and then death.

We DO remember that moment of learning of his assassination and what we did following that day.