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Fort Worth Flashback: JFK’s speeches in Fort Worth would be his last

Posted Nov. 18, 2012

JFK speaking in downtown Fort Worth

A light rain was falling on Friday morning, Nov. 22, 1963, but a crowd of several thousand stood in the parking lot outside the Hotel Texas, where John and Jacqueline Kennedy had spent the night.

A platform was set up and the president, wearing no protection against the weather, came out to make brief remarks. “There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth,” he began, “and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it.”

He went on to talk about the nation’s need for being “second to none” in defense and in space, for continued growth in the economy and “the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership.”

The warmth of the audience response was palpable as the president reached out to shake hands amidst a sea of smiling faces.

Back inside the hotel, the president spoke at a breakfast of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, focusing on military preparedness. “We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom,” he said. “We will continue to do … our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead.”

The presidential party then left the hotel and traveled by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the 13-minute flight to Dallas.

This photo was taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton and is in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Shown from left to right are President Kennedy, an unidentified man, Sen. Ralph W. Yarborough, Gov. John Connally and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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