May 1963- President Kennedy's Schedule - History

May 1963- President Kennedy's Schedule - History


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1President Kennedy began the day with a meeting with the Minister of Education of Rwanda. The President next met with Bundy. He then received a group of Army Commanders. The President had a separate meeting with General Paul Freeman the Commander in Chief of the United States Army Europe. The President then went to Embassy of Luxembourg for a dinner that we held on his behalf. After the luncheon the President met with Grand Duchess Charlotte. At 6 PM the President held a Congressional Social Hour.
2The President began met with Catholic War Veterans. The President then met with Alderman James J O'Keefe. The President next met with Robert Marjolin the VP of the EEC. President Kennedy had a luncheon with Labor leaders. The President received the winner of the Federal Woman Award. The President had a meeting with George Ball, William Tyler, Willis Armstrong, Robert McNamara and Paul Nitze. The President then participated in a reception for the living Congressional Medal of Honor Winners.
3President Kennedy met representatives of the National Association for Mental Health. The President had a meeting with senior foreign policy and defense advisers to discuss the multilateral force and British Guiana. After lunch the President met with the Ambassador of Great Britain. He also met Antonio Garrigue the Ambassador of Spain. At 9PM the President attended the 19th Annual Dinner of Radio and Television Correspondents.
4The President greeted the graduating class of the VMI. The President then met with representatives from the American for Democratic Action. The President traveled to Camp David.
5The First Family spent the day at Camp David. Late in the afternoon the President returned to Washington. At 9:30 PM the President addressed the 75th Anniversary of the International Association of Machinist.
6The President began his day with a meeting with the New York World's Fair Committee. The President then met with Tamizuddin Khan the speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly. The President next et with Dean Rusk and McGeorge Bundy. At 5PM the President held a Social Hour for members of Congress.
7President Kennedy started his day with a Legislative Leaders Breakfast. He then met Frances Willis the US Ambassador to Ceylon. Next the President met with Joseph Farland the US Ambassador to Panama. The President presented Young American Medals for Bravery in the Rose Garden. After the ceremony the President brought the winner and their families into his office. After lunch the President met with Defense Secretary McNamara. He them met with Senator Olin Johnston. Next the President meet with Friedrich Foertsch, Chief of Armed Forces, West Germany, and Ambassador of Germany Heinrich Knappstein. The President next greeted the delegates to the Pan American Highway Congress.
8The President had his Pre Press Conference breakfast. The President held a meeting on the future Kennedy Library. The President next met with Samuel Edward Peal the Ambassador of Liberia. The President next met with Admiral George Anderson the Chief of Naval Operations for an hour. The President greeted the visiting Chiefs of Staff of the Latin American Air Forces. The President later received the Commission on Registration and Voting Participation. The President held a Press Conference at 4PM. On his return to the White House the President greeted a group of foreign students who were studying in the Washington area. The President had a meeting with Rusk Komer, Feldman, Bund and Strong. The President met with various aids until going to the pool at 7:28.
9The President began his day by presenting the AAA Gold Lifesaver medals to eight winners. President Kennedy received members of Association of American Editorial Cartoons. The President then traveled to Arlington National Cemetary to go to participate in a ceremony honoring Ignacy Jan Paderewski The President then went to the Department of Commerce to speak to the Annual Meeting of the Presidents Committee on Employment of the handicapped. After returning to the White House and swimming the President traveled to the Shoreham Hotel were he spoke at a luncheon of the Committee for Economic Development. Upon returning to his office the President met with Richard Maguire. He then met with directors and Chief Administrators of the Peace Corps. The President then met with members of the Citizen Committee to Reduce Taxation. The President then hosted a National Security Council Meeting, He then had a smaller meeting with his advisors to prepare for talks with Canadian Prime Minister Pearson the next day.
10The President began the day with a meeting with representative of the League of Women Voters. President Kennedy met J Edgar Hoover and then departed for Hyannis Port. Meeting with Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada for the afternoon. The President hosted a dinner for the Canadian Prime Minister at the Home of Ambassador Kennedy.
11In the morning the President met with Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada. After Pearson left Hyannis Port the President left as well. He traveled to Cambridge and looked over potential sites for library. The President then returned to Washington and then headed to Camp David.
12The President and Mrs. Kennedy went to the recreation hall for Church services. The President and First Lady spent time around the swimming pool. The President returned to Washington late in the afternoon. In the evening he addressed the American people on events in Birmingham.
13President Kennedy began his day with a meeting with Dean Rusk. He then met with Sargent Shriver. Next the President met with Allan Lightner the US Ambassador to Libya. After lunch the President met with a group of foreign military officers who were studying at Ft Leavneworth. The President met with George Ball, Christian Herter and Carl Kaysen. The President next hosted members of Congress for Social Hour. The President had a meeting with Dean Rusk and Alan Boyd the Chairman of the Civil Aeronatics Board. The President then hosted a dinner for the Harvard Board of Overseers to mark the end of President Kennedy's 6-year term as an overseer.
14The President started his day with a meeting with Legislative Leaders. The President then met with George McGeee the US Ambassador to West Germany. The President next met with the Members of Railway Emergency Board. The President then met with editors and publishers of 26 Alabama newspapers. The President next met with Senator Leverett Saltonstall. The President then received the winners of the William Randolph Hearst awards.
15The President started his day with a meeting with Heinrich Krone the Chairman of the German Defense Council. The President next met with the Douglas Dillon and Lawrence O'Brien. In the afternoon the President met with John McCone and with the British Ambassador.
16The President met the National Commander of World War I Veterans, he then received representatives of the Amalgamated Meat Packers. The President then had meetings with John McCloy followed by one with Douglas Dillon. The President then had a meeting on agricultural policy. The President next met with the National Advisor Council on Small Business Administration. The President then met with the New York World's Fair Committee. The Presidents last meeting was with Hugh Sidey.
17The President met with he Council on Aging. President Kennedy then met with Dr Glenn Seaborg. His next meeting was the Jean Monnet and McGeorge Bundy. The President then had a meeting on agricultural policy that included Congressman Harold Cooley and Congressman W.R Page. The President then had a meeting with senior advisers to discuss India. After lunch the President met a group of Italians. The President then had a meeting on the Arab Israeli Conflict. Present were Dean Rusk, Averell Harriman, Philipps Talbot, Mr Grant McGeorge Bundy and Robert Komar. The President then held a reception for Senators.
18The President met with a group of Indonesian Peace Corps Volunteers. The President then departed for Nashville. The President gave the Address to the 90th anniversary convocation of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. He then traveled to Muscle Shoals Alabama . There he spoke on the 30th anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The President then went to Redstone Arsenal where he spoke as part of his last stop of the day. The President then returned to Washington and Camp David.
19President and Mrs. Kennedy and Caroline attend church services and relax at Camp David, Maryland.
20The President returned from Camp David. He received a delegation from West Virginia in connection with the West Virginian Centennial celebration. The President then met with Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, General Maswell Taylor and General Lemnitzer. The President then had a meetings with Robert Kennedy, and senior advisers to discuss Cuba, NATO, Europe, trade negotiations, and civil rights. The President then received representatives of National Conservation Organizations. The President then signed HR 4997 the Feed Grain Bill. After Lunch the President met with General Lemnitzer. He then greeted Frederick Ashton and his Ballet troupe. The President met with the Indian Minister of Economic and Defense Coordination. The President received a group of Labor Press Editors.
21President Kennedy began his day with a Legislative Leaders Breakfast. The President then had a Cabinet Meeting. Next the President had a meeting with his defense and Science advisors on High Yield Weapons. Next the the President gives a presentation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Distinguished Service Medal to astronaut Gordon Cooper. After Lunch the President met with the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association. The President then had a meeting on Haiti. The President next met with his Committee on Equal Opportunity in Housing. The President then met with Willard Wirtz and Walter Heller. The President then met with Senator George Smathers. The President ended his day with a meeting with Arthur Schlesinger and August Hecksher.
22The President had a Pre Press Conference Breakfast. He then met with Luther Hodges. President Kennedy then met with Officers of Chinese Refugee Relief including Claire Chennault the President. After Lunch the President went to the State Department to give his Press Conference. At 5:30 the President hosted a Congressional Social Hour.
23The President attended Ascension Day Mass. When he returned to the White House he met with Governor of New Mexico Jack Campbell. The President met with Senator Ralph Yarborough. The President then flew to New York. The President participated in the dedication of the East Coast Memorial to the Missing at Sea, New York City. In the evening the President spoke at a Fund Raising dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. The dinner ended at 1:20 AM.
24President Kennedy returned to Washington. In the afternoon the President met with Wilson Wyatt, Max Levy, Robert Bernett and Averell Harriman. He then met with Curtis Le May and Earle Wheeler. The Presidents last meeting was with Dean Rusk. The President attended the White House Press Dinner. The President returned to the White House at 11:25 PM.
25Meeting with French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville and Ambassador of France Hervé Alphand. Next the President met with Congressman Wilbur Mills and Douglas Dillon and Lawrence O'Brien. He them met with Rober McNamara. The President flew to his new residence at Rattlesnake Mountain and then headed to Camp David.
26President and Mrs. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy, Jr. relax at Camp David, Maryland.
27The First Family departed Camp David. The Presidents first meeting back in the White House was with Jerald Wright the Ambassador to the Republic of China. The President next met with Clark Clifford, followed by Fred Kappel. After Lunch the President met with Carly Sander the Governor of Georgia. The President then addressed the National Foreign Policy Conference. The Presidents last meeting was with David Lawrence.
28 President Kennedy began his day with a Legislative Leaders Breakfast. He then signed S 20 and Outdoor Recreation Bill. Later in the morning the President met with Rusk, McNamara, Ball, Tyler,Nitze and Foster. The President next met with Joseph Luns the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands. After lunch the President met with John McCone together with McNamara. President Kennedy then met with Paul Henri Spaak the Foreign Minister of Belgium. The President's last meeting was wit McGeorge Bundy. The President and First Lady went to a reception at the new home of Hugh Anchincloss. On the way back to the White House they dropped in on the home of the McNamara's.
29 The President received the Father of the Year Award. President Kennedy met with the Right Honorable Patrick Gordon Walker - member of parliament. The President had a Luncheon meeting with nine state governors to ask them to provide leadership in their states to assure equal opportunities for all citizens. The President met with Representatives of the NATO Countries. The White House staff gave the President a surprise birthday party.
30 The President participated together with his son John jr participated in Memorial Day observances at Arlington National Cemetery. Later the First Family together with Mr and Mrs Ben Bradlee and Mr and Mrs David Niven went to Camp David for the day. They all returned at nine o'clock at night.
31The President began his day with a meeting with General Joseph Mobutu the Commander of Congolese Armed Forces. The President next met with S.K Patil the Food and Agriculture Minister of India. The Presidents next meeting was with Samuel Berger. In the Afternoon the President held a meeting on Haiti and British Guiana with U. Alexis Johnson, William Burdett, Richard Helms, and McGeorge Bundy.

U.S.S. KITTY HAWK

USS Kitty Hawk was named for the site of the Wright Brothers first powered flight in 1903. The second ship by this name, she was commissioned April 21, 1961. After a voyage around South America, the ship joined the Pacific Fleet. Her initial cruises were off the west coast and on to Japan in 1963 and 1964.

The last half of the 1960’s saw the ship in combat operations throughout Southeast Asia. She was given the Naval Unit Commendation for the dedication of her crew during her first Vietnam deployment. In 1973, she underwent an overhaul to make her a multi-purpose carrier.

The rest of the 1970’s saw Kitty Hawk deployed to the Western Pacific. On a single deployment in 1979-1980, the ship was sent to help rescue Vietnamese refugees, provide support after the assassination of the Korean president, and sent to the North Arabian Sea during the Iran hostage crisis.

Throughout the rest of her career, the ship continued operations around the Pacific and Middle East. She was involved with various actions in Iraq from the 1990’s onward. The ship was formally decommissioned on May 12, 2009. It remains in reserve until 2015 when the next carrier comes on line.


This Day In History: President Kennedy Was Assasinated (1963)

On this day, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas and becomes the fourth President to be assassinated.

Kennedy had won a narrow victory over Richard Nixon in the Presidential election and he took office in 1961. He was faced with many problems. However, he dealt with them in a vigorous way. In particular, he was adept in his handling of the economy. Kennedy was an inspirational figure and he became a hero to the &lsquobaby boomer generation&rsquo. He had a vision of a fairer and more equal American and he inspired many people and gave hope to those who had not benefitted from the American dream. Kennedy became President during the height of the Cold War. He was faced with a Soviet attempt to establish medium range missiles in Cuba. Kennedy was able to force the Soviets to take their missiles out of Cuba and this was seen as a great victory for America. Kennedy was faced with a deteriorating situation in Vietnam and in the greater South East Asia region. He was faced with a Communist takeover of that region, which would have given Communist China and the Soviet&rsquos a decisive advantage in the Cold War.

Kennedy and his wife in an open car just before the President&rsquos assassination

Kennedy was able to defuse the situation in Laos. However, the situation in Vietnam deuterated. The North Vietnamese was conducting a covert war against South Vietnam and Saigon was increasingly threatened. Kennedy later provided the South Vietnamese government with military advisors and financial aid to help it to defeat the communist threat. This is widely seen as the beginning of America&rsquos ill-fated involvement in South East Asia, that was to lead to the death of over 50,000 Americans.

President Kennedy was on a visit to Dallas on this day in 1963. As he was traveling in an open car he was shot three times by a sniper from a nearby building. The President was hit twice in the head and died soon later. The world was shocked by the shooting as Kennedy was not just the leader of America but of the Free World. The Dallas police later arrested a former marine and left-wing sympathizer Lee Harvey Oswald. Before he could be questioned he too was assassinated. Many people believe that Oswald was not the killer or that he had been part of a right-wing conspiracy that sought to kill Kennedy as they disliked his perceived weakness on Communism and his liberal policies. Vice President Lyndon B Johnson was sworn in as President hours after Kennedy&rsquos murder.

The assassination has proven to be one of the most controversial episodes in American history. The Warren Commission investigated the assassination and found no evidence of a wider conspiracy but many Americans refuse to believe these findings.


What Happened to Her?

Meyer lived in Georgetown with her two sons, where she had moved after her divorce and became an artist she spent most of her time painting in her studio. On October 12, 1964, at around noon, she left for her daily walk on the towpath along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. There she was shot twice.

In just 45 minutes, the police apprehended a suspect, Crump, who was found nearby, his clothes soaked. He said he had been fishing, dropped his pole, and fell into the canal while trying to retrieve it. Legendary civil rights attorney Dovey Johnson Roundtree became Crump's defense lawyer and he was acquitted of all charges in July 1965. The murder was never solved.


The story of how Idlewild Airport was renamed for John F. Kennedy

JFK International Airport Chamber of Commerce

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was memorialized in dozens of ways following his assassination on November 22, 1963. None of these are more vital to the daily lives of New Yorkers than John F. Kennedy International Airport — or Kennedy Airport or simply JFK — the busiest airport in the Northeast.

You may not realize how quickly it was renamed for the fallen president. On November 15, 1963 , President Kennedy left Idlewild Airport (the airport’s former name) after a short stay in the city. Six weeks later, that airport would be named after him.

New York joined the nation in mourning following the televised funeral of President Kennedy on November 25, 1963. Thousands watched the ceremony from a large television screen hanging in Grand Central Terminal. Traffic stopped in Times Square and Boy Scout buglers played taps from atop the old Hotel Astor . All airport traffic at Idlewild stopped at noon.

New York Like A Vast Church ran the headline in the New York Times.

Calls immediately rose to memorialize the president in the city. On December 4, less than two weeks after Kennedy’s death, Mayor Robert Wagner announced that he would submit a bill to the city council to honor Kennedy with a name change to Idlewild.

Unfortunately, these ultimately successful calls to rename New York’s largest airport came at the cost of obliterating the memory of another notable American.

Idlewild was the popular name for the airport which opened on July 1, 1948, because it was built upon a former golf course and luxury accommodation of that name. According to the Times , “The name Idlewild is believed to have been inspired by the fact that the site at that time was wild and that the hotel and park constituted a recreational facility for the idle rich.”

But its full, official name was New York International Airport, Anderson Field, named for Major General Alexander E. Anderson , a decorated World War I veteran and Queens businessman. Unfortunately Anderson had few proponents fighting to keep his name on the airport by 1963.

The following week, “[i]n an action marked by solemnity and silent prayer, the City Council voted unanimously yesterday to change the name of New York International Airport at Idlewild, Queens, to the John F. Kennedy International Airport.” [ source ]

It was revealed then that city officials wished to name the airport after Kennedy even more quickly than that. Indeed, the idea had been unofficially suggested hours after Kennedy’s assassination but it had taken the extra time to get the official approval from his widow (and future New York City resident) Jackie Kennedy.

Photographer Meyer Liebowitz/The New York Times

By Wednesday, December 18, the name change had been formally approved and workmen busily rushed to change all the signs at the airport. Â Idlewild officially became John F. Kennedy Airport in a ceremony held on Christmas Eve 1963.

The president’s younger brother Edward Kennedy was in attendance, helping to unveil a 242-foot-long sign emblazoned with the new name. Their brother Robert F. Kennedy was scheduled to attend but canceled.

You would think such a name change to be relatively uncontroversial but this was not the case.

In an editorial which ran a few days after the ceremony, the New York Times remarked : “The speedy change of name — whether it be of an airport or a bridge or a park or a cape — reflects the love that millions of people all over the world had for Present Kennedy but, as we have previously stated, it is only debasing the subject of our grief to attach his name so hastily to a miscellaneous collection of public works, almost as if we were afraid that without these tangible reminders he would be soon forgotten. “

Meyer Liebowitz/The New York Times

And President Kennedy almost got his name upon a newly built bridge in the New York City area, too.

That same month, a Staten Island politician filed a bill to the New York state legislature to name a new bridge being built in the Narrows after Kennedy. “Assemblyman Edward J. Amann Jr … profiled at Albany for introduction into the Legislature in January a bill calling for changing the name of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the John. F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge.” [ source ]

By the time it officially opened the following year, the Verrazano had kept its tribute name to the 16th century European explorer . But New York does have a bridge named for a Kennedy — the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (the former Triborough Bridge).

Below: A month after the dedication, Robert did stop by the airport named after his brother.Â

JFK International Airport Chamber of Commerce


The Kennedy Administration

Although John F. Kennedy’s administration responded to civil rights protests that turned violent, such as sending federal troops to the University of Mississippi campus to quell the riots, it had been criticized for not doing enough to support African Americans fighting for social and economic equality. President Kennedy wanted to wait until his second term to send a civil rights bill to Congress, but events conspired to constrict his timetable.

On the occasion of Vanderbilt University’s 90th anniversary, President John Kennedy stressed the responsibility of educated men and women to use their talents to help society. Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

By the spring of 1963, simultaneous protests were taking place throughout the South, but the one attracting national and international attention occurred in Birmingham, Alabama. The city’s black community decided to follow a strategy used in Albany, Georgia, protesting discriminatory practices with mass marches and filling up the city’s jails. Birmingham’s Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor, a hard-line segregationist, responded to the peaceful protests with police force. President Kennedy was spurred into action as the Birmingham protests escalated. As photographs of police dogs attacking peaceful marchers and fire hoses being turned on children flashed across the country and around the globe, the Kennedy administration responded. In May 1963, the administration sent Burke Marshall, an official from the Justice Department, down to Birmingham, and he negotiated a short-lived agreement between business leaders and civil rights activists.

That same month, on May 18, 1963, President Kennedy delivered a speech at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in which he mentioned the movement and the struggle for equal rights. He referred to the complexity of the problem and the importance of assuring all Americans their rights under the law.

Then on May 21, federal courts ordered the University of Alabama to admit two African American students, Vivian J. Malone and James A. Hood, for the summer session beginning in June. The governor of Alabama, George Wallace, was an avowed segregationist. In his inaugural address in January 1963, Wallace “drew a line in the dust and toss[ed] the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny,” declaring “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” He pledged to block the entrance and prevent the university’s desegregation.

Read Wallace’s full Inaugural Address from the Alabama Department of Archives and History Digital Collections.

President Kennedy warned Governor Wallace against stopping the integration of the university, but on June 11, 1963, Governor Wallace stood in front of a university building to bar Malone’s and Hood’s entrance. Governor Wallace and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach engaged in a standoff, captured on camera, and President Kennedy mobilized the Alabama National Guard to protect the students and resolve the situation. Malone and Hood ultimately entered the building and registered for classes.

Governor George Wallace (second from left) blocked U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Nicholas Katzenbach, from entering the University of Alabama. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

That night President Kennedy took to the air waves, speaking forcefully about civil rights. He announced his intention to ask Congress to act, declaring that a moral crisis existed in the country and requesting Congress to move forward with legislation to desegregate public accommodations and speed up the integration of public education.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

It [this nation] was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

On June 19, President Kennedy sent his civil rights bill to Congress.

As the bill began to slowly make its way through Congress, civil rights leaders proposed maintaining the momentum by reviving an idea from the 1940s. In 1941, A. Philip Randolph and associates had proposed a march on Washington to protest racial discrimination in the war industries. The march never came to fruition because President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order that prohibited discrimination in national defense industries.

Read President Roosevelt's Executive Order 8802 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous I Have a Dream Speech at the Lincoln Memorial, where more than 250,000 people gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. Source: National Archives

In 1963, civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, and James Farmer decided to revive Randolph’s original idea. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on August 28, 1963, when more than 250,000 demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C., in support of job creation and civil rights legislation.

Following the peaceful March on Washington, which featured King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, President Kennedy met with civil rights leaders at the White House. They discussed the event and the details of the civil right legislation moving through Congress. Roy Wilkins stressed their desire to have fair employment practices included in the civil rights package. They also stressed the importance of training and education.

President Kennedy meets with civil rights leaders in the White House. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.


On the anniversary of the funeral services for President John F. Kennedy, a look at the sounding of Taps that was heard worldwide.

Every American born before 1955 can tell you where they were and how they felt when they heard the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Friday November 22nd , 1963. Three days later millions around the world listened as Army bugler Keith Clark sounded the solemn twenty-four notes of Taps, concluding the state funeral held at Arlington National Cemetery.

On the afternoon of Kennedy’s assassination Clark, Principal Bugler of the United States Army Band, was going through his collection of rare books on church music with a friend when his 11-year old daughter, Sandy, called up the stairs with the news.1 After the initial shock subsided, Clark immediately went to the nearest barber for a haircut, thinking he might be asked to sound Taps should Kennedy be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Clark thought it likely that a Navy bugler would be chosen since Kennedy had served as a naval officer during World War II but, “Just in case, I wanted to look my best, and I went out to get my haircut.”

Sergeant (Specialist 6 in the military ranks of the time) Clark was a trumpet player with the Army Band (known as “Pershing’s Own”) stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia. Among his musical duties was sounding Taps at military funerals held at Arlington National Cemetery adjacent to the post. Keith Collar Clark was born on November 21, 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His father, Harry Holt Clark, was a professional musician who played flute and violin in several orchestras. When Clark was three, his father placed a toy trumpet on the fireplace mantel hoping to spark his son’s interest in music. Clark asked everyday if he could play with the trumpet. The answer was always the same: no, not until he would make a promise to take it seriously. It did not take long for Clark to make the promise to practice an hour everyday and his father replaced the toy with a real instrument.3

At age nine he debuted as a trumpet soloist in a radio contest, and while still a high school student he soloed with the University of Michigan Band, under Dr. William Revelli. Clark took lessons from trumpeter Harry Glantz in New York City, later stating his concepts of tone, style, and musicianship were influenced by Glantz’s playing.4 He also studied with Clifford Lillya, and Lloyd Geisler. After graduation from Interlochen Music School in 1944, he performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony. In 1946, he enlisted in the military to play trumpet in the Army Band. In 1951 he married Marjorie Ruth Park and together they raised four daughters in the Arlington, Virginia area, not far from Fort Myer.5

Keith Clark in the 1950s at Fort Myer

Clark performed at hundreds of funerals in Arlington and had played for President Kennedy many times, including sounding Taps at The Tomb of the Unknowns less than two weeks prior to his death during Veterans Day ceremonies. He also performed for President Eisenhower and recalled that Vice President Nixon once winked at him during a ceremony.6

President Kennedy attends Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery November 11, 1963. Clark is the bugler. Photo by Cecil Stoughton, White House/John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston

The decision to place the president’s remains in Arlington National Cemetery was made on Saturday, November 23rd . After reviewing possible locations with Arlington Superintendent John Metzler, the Kennedy family chose a site on a slope just below the Arlington House (the Custis-Lee Mansion).7 The selection was appropriate as the president had visited Arlington House earlier that year and remarked “I could stay here forever.” According to William Manchester in his book, “Death of a President”, it was not until early Monday November 25th , 1963 around 2:30am during a final briefing for military officers, that it was realized a bugler had not been requested for the funeral. In the overwhelming details that the Military District of Washington had to contend with over that long, sorrowful weekend, it had forgotten one of the fundamental elements of a military funeral: a bugler.9

The basic honors would be the ones that followed military tradition: the firing of three rifle volleys, followed by the sounding of Taps , the folding of the flag and its presentation to the next of kin. It was decided that the Army would provide a bugler. Clark was contacted immediately by his commander, Colonel Hugh Curry, with information regarding the ceremony. As with many things that day, the information Clark received was confusing. Clark, in a telephone interview, indicated that Curry, “like any good Irishman, was mourning the loss of his Commander-In-Chief with spirits.”

Clark reported to Arlington at 6am on Monday November 25th “all spit and polished,” only to find that he and the groundskeepers were the only ones there. The crew was laying down fake grass in the 30 degree weather, he recalled. After waiting for a period of time he moved to the Army Band building at Fort Myer to try to get some sleep. At around 9am, a call came wondering where the bugler was, and Clark was informed that he had missed the rehearsal for the graveside ceremonies. A colonel asked him if he had ever played Taps , to which Clark replied, “I cannot remember a time when I did not know Taps.” He was told to report back around noon. After going home briefly to watch part of the funeral on television, he returned to Arlington around 11:30am.11 Clark described the scene that met him at the cemetery. There were marks for him to stand upon that placed him ten paces from the rifles of the firing party, and a microphone for which he was to play into. “I’m not playing for the mike. I’m playing for Mrs. Kennedy,” he told the television soundman, who assured him that the volume would be adjusted: It never was.12

Clark waited in the cold for three hours for the funeral mass to finish at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in downtown Washington. He remained calm despite the cold air and mounting tension: both enemies of any brass player. An apple brought from home provided some lunch during the wait and he occasionally warmed the bugle “to take the edge off.” At 1:30pm, the funeral procession left St. Matthew’s and began the solemn trip to Arlington. The march took over an hour. As the funeral procession approached, Clark turned to his religion. He remembered his beloved hymns, of a choir singing Amazing Grace, and of favorite bible passages.13 The magnificent, solemn pageantry of the state funeral of John F. Kennedy was unfolding before his eyes, and from his position on the hill in front of the Custis-Lee Mansion, he had the perfect view to watch the military procession as it crossed the Memorial Bridge and wound its way into the cemetery.

Clark’s view-The funeral procession view from Arlington

Shortly before 3pm, the Kennedy family, accompanied by heads of state, prime ministers, and United States officials gathered by the gravesite as the U.S. Marine Band struck up Ruffles and Flourishes and the national anthem. The casket was borne to the grave accompanied by the strains of “Mist-Covered Mountains” played by the U.S. Air Force Pipe Band.14

Overhead, fifty fighter jets flew in formation followed by Air Force One. A corps of Irish Cadets, brought in at the request of the family, executed a silent drill as Cardinal Richard Cushing began the traditional Catholic commitment rites with “O God, through whose mercy the souls of the faithful find rest, be pleased to bless this grave.󈭣 Clark, with his perfect view of the proceedings, looked over the assembled mourners and saw a bevy of prominent world leaders. Presidents, kings, prime ministers, and elected officials stood elbow to elbow without consideration to rank. The service continued. “I am the resurrection and the light…”

The sky above was bright and clear on the crisp autumn day and the solemn pageant was quickly moving towards its conclusion. Cushing finished the burial rites and led the Lord’s Prayer, then stepped back as the military honors began. First came the twenty-one gun salute fired by cannons from Fort Myer. The sound thundered through the silent hills of Arlington. Cushing then finished with a final blessing. “Present arms!” came the next command. This was followed by the order, “Firing Party, Fire Three Volleys.” The command was executed by the seven members of the Old Guard (Third U.S. Infantry) firing party. Three separate volleys of rifle fire is customary for militaries around the world, deriving from the ancient practice of calling the name of the deceased three times, followed by the word “vale”(farewell).

Clark raised his bugle to sound Taps. The moment had come. The final movement of the musical honors accorded all military members at a funeral. Taps had been used since the Civil War, when General Daniel Butterfield penned the music while in camp at Harrison’s Landing during the Peninsular Campaign in July, 1862. It had begun life as a signal to extinguish lights but had transformed into the call heard at U.S. military funerals.

The melody is simple, yet not easy to play with the appropriate combination of beauty, emotion, and serenity demanded by solemn occasions. As author and collector Roy Hempley stated in his online articles on Bach bugles, “Each bugler develops his or her style within limits defined by military custom and good taste. A not-so-obvious fact, however, is that buglers sometimes must render this solemn symbol of mourning under the most difficult circumstances, which might include hot or cold weather, rain, etc. There is no room for error regardless of the demands.” 16

Now the whole world listened. As the three volleys finished, Clark raised his bugle and began Taps . “Day is done…” as he had done daily in Arlington, he started the call, this time pointing the bell at Mrs. Kennedy believing that a bugler should only sound Taps for the widow. He had thoughts of the bible passage from I Corinthians 15:51-52: “…We shall all be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” The notes resounded over the heads of all assembled. “Gone the sun….” On the sixth word, he cracked the note. “It was like a catch in your voice, or a swiftly stifled sob,”17

Clark stiffened his embouchure and without pause finished the rest of the call flawlessly. “From the lake, from the hill, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.” He brought the bugle down and saluted his Commander-in-Chief. The casket bearers folded the flag and it was presented to Mrs. Kennedy, as the Marine Band played the Navy Hymn “Eternal Father, Strong To Save.󈭦 Clark stated, “I feel the thought behind the playing and feeling used in the performance are the most important parts of each sounding of Taps.󈭧 “I missed a note under pressure. It’s something you don’t like, but it’s something that can happen to a trumpet player. You never really get over it.” Clark reminisced about the performance in an Associated Press report in 1988 on the 25th anniversary of Kennedy’s death. “It’s like the speaker of the House saying, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.’ That is not at all hard to say,” Clark remembered. “But to do it then, and do it there–that’s when the pressure comes: that’s when it becomes difficult all of a sudden. A lot of people can sing in the shower, you know.𔄤

Keith Clark’s broken sixth note was considered the only conspicuous mistake in the otherwise ornate and grandiose ceremony. It was thought that it was a deliberate effect. It was not. Clark was present hours before the funeral procession arrived at Arlington and placed in very close proximity to the firing party to appease the television cameramen. Captain Thomas F. Reid, Commander of Co. D, First Battalion, Third Infantry, wrote in his after-action report: “The television network coordinator (Bill Jones from NBC), though generally cooperative, insisted on the placement of ceremonial troops in some areas which were convenient for television coverage, but extremely difficult for the troops concerned. An example of this in [sic] his insistence that the Buglar [sic] stand directly in front of the firing party. This resulted in the Buglar [sic] having to play Taps immediately after experiencing the muzzle blast of the firing party firing three (3) vollies [sic] into his ear, with unfortunate results.󈭩

It was cold that day, and because Clark did not have much of a chance to warm-up, it is not surprising that he missed a note. Also, the fact that he was playing for a worldwide audience may have had some effect on him. Tom Sherlock, Senior Historian at Arlington remarked in 2001 that Clark’s flawed sounding of Taps seemed entirely fitting. “It showed the tension that the nation felt. It’s part of the emotion. It’s when a speech is well delivered and a voice cracks because it’s an emotional time. It’s what should happen. And in that way, it almost personalized it. And it made it immortal.󈭪

Clark returned to the band hall at Fort Myer after the funeral to change clothes before teaching several trumpet lessons for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.23 It was a long day for him. Clark’s family watched the ceremony on television. His daughter Karen remembered, “Our family nervously waited in front of the TV during the live broadcast. When we heard Dad play Taps and break a note, we all groaned in dismay. I was only in third grade and felt total humiliation that of all the perfect playing I’d ever heard from my Dad (I don’t ever remember him making a mistake, even when just practicing!) it had to be in front of the whole world. Hours later, when he came home, Sandy and I practically jumped him and asked why he had to have made a mistake. His face paled, eyes got huge, and he said, “What mistake!?” He didn’t even know about it until he watched it on TV himself.”24

The broken note took on a life of its own. Clark reported that for weeks afterward, the same note was missed by other buglers at Arlington. “We all thought it must be psychological,” he recalled.25 Newspapers picked up on the cracked note, calling it a “tear” and the suggestion was made that the note was missed on purpose as in a “French” version.26 The French word “sanglot” was also used to describe the note. Sanglot translates as “sob” and as described in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, indicates a downward resolving appoggiatura (like a grace note) sung to an appropriate sound such as “ah” or “helas” How this relates to a broken note of Taps is when a bugler misses a note, they will usually overshoot it and come down to it, making a “splee-ahh” sound. A broken note is also referred to in the common jargon of trumpeters as a split, a clam, or a crack as in, “He really clammed that note” or “He split that top note.” One article, “America’s Long Vigil,” which appeared in TV Guide on January 25th , 1964 described Clark as “The bugler who played the sour note during Taps.” American journalist Edward P. Morgan stated, “The bugler’s lip quivered for the Nation.󈭰

In the weeks that followed the funeral, many cards and letters were sent to Clark thanking him for the rendition and expressing their understanding for the missed note. Much of the mail was simply addressed to “The Bugler, Arlington National Cemetery”, yet made its way to Clark’s hands. One note in particular stated, “Hold your head high! In your one sad note, you told the world of our feelings.”29

After retiring from the Army in 1966, Clark went on to a successful career of teaching, performing, and writing. He served as a music instructor at Houghton College in Houghton, N.Y. He later was a conductor and performer with southwest Florida area musical groups such as the Venice Concert Band and the Atlantic Classical Orchestra. Clark’s great love for hymnody and psalmody resulted in a large collection containing more than 9,000 volumes. It also brought him much recognition resulting in a publication, “A Select Bibliography for the Study of Hymns” published by The Hymn Society of America. The Clark Hymnology Collection, which includes thousands of hymnbooks from various American denominations and churches, as well as several well-known books on hymnody from the 17th century to the present, was acquired by Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA in 1982.30

The instrument Clark used at the funeral was a Bach Stradivarius field trumpet (bugle) pitched in the key of B-flat. Modeled after the M1892 U.S. regulation field trumpet, the U.S. Army Band had acquired these specially made bugles through the efforts of Army Bandsmen George Myers and Gilbert Mitchell from Vincent Bach during the 1950s, for use at ceremonies at Arlington. Letters from Bach describe the type of professional model he wanted to create for the buglers in the band.31

The bugle, serial number 1962-1, was purchased in April 1962 from the Bach Corporation in Mount Vernon, New York. After being used at the Kennedy funeral, the bugle was used to sound Taps at the funerals of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson. The Army Band was later directed to turn the bugle over to the Smithsonian Institution because of its association with the Kennedy funeral. It was transferred on April 3rd , 1973 and placed on display in the National Museum of American History. In 1998 work began by the author to have the bugle moved to Arlington as part of a three-year display of bugles and bugle related materials. Through the efforts of Army Band Commander Colonel Bryan Shelburne, Band Historian Michael Yoder, Arlington Superintendent John Metzler Jr. (whose father was superintendent during the Kennedy funeral), Arlington Historian Thomas Sherlock, and the author the bugle was moved to Arlington in the spring of 1999 where it is currently on display in the Welcome Center.

The uniform worn by Clark that day is in the Heritage Museum at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda, Florida. Keith Clark suffered an aortic aneurysm after playing the trumpet at an orchestra concert and died on January 10th , 2002. He is buried in Arlington in Section 34 near the grave of General John (Black-Jack) Pershing. Section 34 is also the final resting place for other Army Band musicians including buglers George Meyers and Patrick Maestrolo. Indeed, the broken note has become part of our American heritage as much as the crack in the Liberty Bell, which occurred, by legend, during the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835. Clark’s one note remains in our collective memory of a beloved president and a bugler’s rendition of a military honor for his commander-in-chief. Thanks to the family of Keith Clark for their help with this article. A commemoration of Keith Clark and the 50th anniversary of the sounding of Taps at the Kennedy Funeral will take place at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday November 16th , 2013 at 10am. For more information, please visit www.tapsbugler.com

Click here for recording of Taps by Keith Clark at the Kennedy Funeral If you have any questions please contact Jari Villanueva by CLICKING HERE

You can view more photos of Keith Clark by CLICKING HERE

Jari Villanueva is considered the country’s foremost authority on U.S. military bugle calls, especially the call of Taps. He retired from the United States Air Force after serving 23 years as a bugler at Arlington National Cemetery. He was responsible for moving the bugle used at President Kennedy’s funeral from the Smithsonian Institute to Arlington, was behind the 150th anniversary ceremonies of Taps in 2012, instrumental in having Taps designated as the National Song of Remembrance, and is currently involved with Taps For Veterans, an organization that helps provide live buglers for military funerals. Villanueva is the author of “Twenty-Four Notes That Tap Deep Emotions: The Story of America’s Most Famous Bugle Call” and is featured on the CD “Day is Done: Music Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Taps.” He currently serves as the Director of the Maryland National Guard Honor Guard and is commander/conductor of the Maryland Defense Force Band. He resides with his wife Heather in Catonsville, MD. His website is www.tapsbugler.com

End Notes:
1. Karen Clark-Moore, Daughter of Keith Clark, interview by author, 1 February 2013
.2 Dan B Fleming, Ask What You Can Do For Your Country: The Memory and Legacy of John K. Kennedy (Clearwater, Florida: Vandamere Press, 2002), 72.
3. Clark-Moore
4. Keith Clark, personal letter to author, 8 July 1992.
5. Ernest Kay, editor, International Who’s Who in Music , (Cambridge, England: International Who’s Who in Music, 1988), 41.
6. Barbara Lee, “The Broken Note.” Washingtonian Magazine. (November 1993): 48-49.
7. William Manchester, The Death of a President. (New York: Harper and Row, 1967), 490-497.
8. Robert M. Poole, On Hallowed Ground-The Story of Arlington National Cemetery. (New York: Walker & Company, 2009), 210.
9. Manchester, 559
10. Keith Clark, telephone interview with author, April, 1999
11. Lee, 48.
12. Ibid, 49.
13. Ibid, 49.
14. Irving Lowens, “Accurate Listing of Funeral Music,” The Washington Star. 1 December 1963
15. Manchester, 598.
16. Roy Hempley and Doug Lehrer, Bach’s Bugles , www.bachbrass.com/bachology. 2006
17. Manchester, 600.
18. Lowens
19. Clark, letter
20. “Bugler’s Note Still Plays on Him” Associated Press. 22 November 1988.
21. Thomas Reid “After Action Report, President Kennedy Funeral (Interment Ceremony)-16 December 1963″ 3rd U.S. Infantry records, Old Guard Museum
22. Richard Goldstein, “Keith Clark, Bugler for Kennedy, dies at 74.” New York Times , 17 January 2002.
23. Douglas Bialecki, “Bugler Recalls JFK Funeral Taps” Vero Beach, Florida Press-Journal. 22 November 1988 13A.
24. Clark-Moore
25. “Bugler’s Note Still Plays on Him”
26. “Behind the Scenes”, Eureka Humboldt Standard , 6 December 1963, 4.
27. Stanley Sadie, editor, The New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians. (London: MacMillian Publishers Limited, 1980) Vol. 16 472.
28. “America’s Long Vigil” TV Guide. (25 January 1964) 21.
29. Letters and postcards send to Keith Clark after the funeral in the possession of the Clark Family.
30. Keith C. Clark Hymnology Collection www.regent.edu/lib/special-collections/clark-hymnology.cfm 2013
31. Vincent Bach, Letters to Sergeant George Myers, 14 and 20 February 1950


The story of how Idlewild Airport was renamed for John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was memorialized in dozens of ways following his assassination on November 22, 1963. None of these are more vital to the daily lives of New Yorkers than John F. Kennedy International Airport — or Kennedy Airport or simply JFK — the busiest airport in the Northeast.

You may not realize how quickly it was renamed for the fallen president. On November 15, 1963, President Kennedy left Idlewild Airport (the airport’s former name) after a short stay in the city. Six weeks later, that airport would be named after him.

New York joined the nation in mourning following the televised funeral of President Kennedy on November 25, 1963. Thousands watched the ceremony from a large television screen hanging in Grand Central Terminal. Traffic stopped in Times Square and Boy Scout buglers played taps from atop the old Hotel Astor. All airport traffic at Idlewild stopped at noon.

The New York Times ran the headline, New York Like A Vast Church.

Calls immediately rose to memorialize the president in the city. On December 4, less than two weeks after Kennedy’s death, Mayor Robert Wagner announced that he would submit a bill to the city council to honor Kennedy with a name change to Idlewild.

Unfortunately, these ultimately successful calls to rename New York’s largest airport came at the cost of obliterating the memory of another notable American.

Idlewild was the popular name for the airport which opened on July 1, 1948, because it was built upon a former golf course and luxury accommodation of that name.

According to the Times, “The name Idlewild is believed to have been inspired by the fact that the site at that time was wild and that the hotel and park constituted a recreational facility for the idle rich.”

But its full, official name was New York International Airport, Anderson Field, named for Major General Alexander E. Anderson, a decorated World War I veteran and Queens businessman. Unfortunately, Anderson had few proponents fighting to keep his name on the airport by 1963.

The following week, “[i]n an action marked by solemnity and silent prayer, the City Council voted unanimously yesterday to change the name of New York International Airport at Idlewild, Queens, to the John F. Kennedy International Airport.” [source]

It was revealed then that city officials wished to name the airport after Kennedy even more quickly than that. Indeed, the idea had been unofficially suggested hours after Kennedy’s assassination but it had taken the extra time to get the official approval from his widow (and future New York City resident) Jackie Kennedy.

Photographer Meyer Liebowitz/The New York Times

By Wednesday, December 18, the name change had been formally approved and workmen busily rushed to change all the signs at the airport. Idlewild officially became John F. Kennedy Airport in a ceremony held on Christmas Eve 1963.

The president’s younger brother Edward Kennedy was in attendance, helping to unveil a 242-foot-long sign emblazoned with the new name. Their brother Robert F. Kennedy was scheduled to attend but canceled.

You would think such a name change to be relatively uncontroversial but this was not the case.

In an editorial that ran a few days after the ceremony, the New York Times remarked: “The speedy change of name — whether it be of an airport or a bridge or a park or a cape — reflects the love that millions of people all over the world had for Present Kennedy but, as we have previously stated, it is only debasing the subject of our grief to attach his name so hastily to a miscellaneous collection of public works, almost as if we were afraid that without these tangible reminders he would be soon forgotten. “

Meyer Liebowitz/The New York Times

And President Kennedy almost got his name upon a newly built bridge in the New York City area, too.

That same month, a Staten Island politician filed a bill to the New York state legislature to name a new bridge being built in the Narrows after Kennedy. “Assemblyman Edward J. Amann Jr … profiled at Albany for introduction into the Legislature in January a bill calling for changing the name of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the John. F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge.” [source]

By the time it officially opened the following year, the Verrazano had kept its tribute name to the 16th century European explorer. But New York does have a bridge named for a Kennedy — the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (the former Triborough Bridge).

Below: A month after the dedication, Robert did stop by the airport named after his brother.

JFK International Airport Chamber of Commerce


November 21, 1963: President Kennedy in San Antonio

Last September, we posted an entry about John F. Kennedy’s visit to the Alamo in 1960 as part of his presidential campaign. This visit, however, was not Kennedy’s only visit to San Antonio rather, he and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, were in the Alamo City on November 21, 1963, the day before he was assassinated in Dallas.

President John F. Kennedy in San Antonio. (SCElicson.09.003)

A photographic negative in the DRT Library’s Joseph Elicson Photograph Collection, above, captures one moment of the President’s time in San Antonio. It shows him sitting in an open Lincoln convertible next to First Lady Jackie Kennedy, just as he was the following day in Dallas. The image also shows then-Governor John Connally, barely visible, in front of the First Lady and his wife, Nellie Connally, in front of the president. Significantly, in Dallas the two reversed positions, and Gov. Connally was wounded by one of the bullets that hit President Kennedy. Research by former DRT Library intern Amy Canon revealed that the the Elicson photograph was taken in front of the Beneficial Finance & Thrift Co. Consulting a 1963 city directory, Canon discovered that the company was located at 202 Broadway in San Antonio.

A map of President Kennedy's motorcade route through San Antonio, printed in the Express-News on November 20, 1963.

San Antonio was the first stop of a planned two-day, five-city tour of Texas, which was held in preparation for Kennedy’s 1964 presidential campaign. While in the city, the President spoke at the dedication of four buildings in the complex that housed the United States Air Force Aerospace Medical Division at Brooks Air Force Base. According to the Handbook of Texas and other sources, Kennedy’s speech at this event was his final official act as president. On November 20, 1963, the San Antonio Express-News reported on the festivities occurring the next day at Brooks. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m., with President Kennedy scheduled to arrive at 2:25 p.m. “An open house at the aerospace school will begin at 11 a.m.,” the newspaper article stated. “Guided tours will begin at noon, and visitors may expect to see such facilities as the high-altitude simulation chambers, space suits and the gravity-simulating centrifuge. At 1 p.m., the Air Force Band of the West, from Lackland, will begin a band concert.” Furthermore, the article described the scene of the dedication, stating that “on either side of the speaker’s platform will be the shell of an X15 [aircraft] and a model of the X20 Dynasoar spacecraft.”

An aerial photograph of the Aerospace Medical Division, circa 1970.

The front cover of a pamphlet describing activities conducted at the Aerospace Medical Center, circa 1961.

For Further Research [updated February 10, 2012]:

An audio recording and transcript of the speech given by President Kennedy at Brooks Air Force Base are available through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website. The website also provides contextual information about the president’s 1963 trip to Texas and his assassination in Dallas, and users can see archival footage of President Kennedy in San Antonio as part of the nineteen-minute film “The Last Two Days.”

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I have two 8 x 11, glossy pictures that were taken at Kelly Air Force Base the day that JFK and Mrs. Kennedy came out of their plane there. As far as I can tell, they are official Air Force photos. They are candid shots! these were taken the day before he was killed.

I would love to see the two pictures you are referring to. Could you please contact me at [information removed by blog administrator], or leave me a phone message at [information removed by blog administrator]. Thanks. David Lifton

Mr. Lifton, I will forward your information to Ms. Veselis so she can contact you at her discretion.

Mr. Lifton,
Hello I have a 8X11 photo and the negative of JFK in what looks to be a review of the troops while he was at Brooks Airforce Base. Please feel free to get back with me in someway. Carl Koch

Mr. Koch, Thank you for the information about your photograph of President Kennedy. I will forward your information to Mr. Lifton so he can contact you at his discretion.

In this article the following statement is made: “On November 20, 1986, the San Antonio Express-News reported on the festivities occurring the next day at Brooks.” I assume that this should read �” rather than �”. Perhaps this article was written in 1986 and the writer confused the years in this reference.

Mr. Coleman, Thank you for the observation! We checked the original Express-News article quoted in the blog post �” was a typo and should have been �.” The error has now been corrected.

I remember standing along Roosevelt st with my school st. Cecilia’s Catholic school. as we were waiting for the Presidential motorcade, i noticed a man holding a rifle standing atop the train testle where the motorcade passed under driving south on Roosevelt st. The man appeared to have been a police officer i could see what appeared to be his police hat on his head. As the President’s motorcade passed we held up a sign that read “President and Mrs. Kennedy St. Cecilia’s loves you” . the president’s limo slowed and he sort of stood and waved at the students and catholic nuns as the motorcade drove away. i wish that i could find someone with photo’s of this tucked away somewhere.

Where would one find archived photos of President Kennedy as he appeared with crowds at the speech he gave at the Alamo?

Cursory research seems to indicate that President Kennedy did not speak at the Alamo during his visit to San Antonio in 1963. However, while campaigning as the Democratic presidential nominee in 1960, then-Senator Kennedy gave an eight-minute speech in front of the Alamo on September 12 during a two-hour stop in San Antonio.

The DRT Library’s vertical file on Kennedy contains several newspaper articles that document his 1960 visit and speech many are also accompanied by pictures of the Senator, the event, and the crowds that gathered in Alamo Plaza. Better-quality copies of these images and pictures that weren’t published in 1960 may be available through the photo archives of the San Antonio Express-News and San Antonio Light newspapers. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Special Collections department maintains large photo collections for both newspapers see http://lib.utsa.edu/collections/category/photograph-collections and http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utsa/00306/utsa-00306.html for more information.

The text of the speech Kennedy gave in front of the Alamo on September 12, 1960 is available online through the American Presidency Project.

Later that day, Kennedy spoke before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, addressing the concerns of many Protestants who “questioned the ability of a Roman Catholic President to make important national decisions independently of the influence of his church.” Footage and a transcription of that speech is available online through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Your map of the motorcade route for President Kennedy’s visit in 1963, courtesy of the San Antonio Express-News, is interesting as it refers to Lackland Air Force Base (USAF) as “Kelly AFB” even though the base was officially named for Frank Dorwin Lackland in 1942, 21 years earlier.

Conspiracy theorists would certainly see this uninformed presentation by an experienced and professional news organization as a signal or a sign. As an organization much more familiar with why Texans do as they do, I wonder if you have an explanation for the publishing of map information that was so blatantly rooted in the distant past.

Mr. Clayton, By consulting a 1964 road map of Bexar County, I was able to confirm that the Express-News map correctly identified Kelly Air Force Base. Lackland AFB is located immediately to the west of Kelly and appears to have been simply omitted from the map of President Kennedy’s motorcade route through San Antonio.

I was in the Air Force at Kelly AFB working in Transit Alert Section when Air Force 1 arrived.
I directed Air Force 1 where to park. Then I took a place on the side of the stairs where President John F. Kennedy deplaned. When the motorcade came back from San Antonio we sent Airforce 1 off later the same day.I felt this was a great honor. Something I would never forget. The next day I had great sorrow hearing the news of the President being shot in Dallas while I was shopping at Lackland AFB Commissary.

Judy Veselis
I would love to see the 2 pictures that were taken at Kelly AFB on 11/21/63 of JFK and Mrs. Kennedy deplaning from Airforce 1. I would like to see if I were in those pictures. I was in the Air Force assigned to the transit alert section at Kelly when Air Force 1 arrived. I directed the aircraft where to park. Then I stood a short distance from the stairs when JFK and wife deplaned.
Air Force 1 landed and departed from Kelly AFB with President Kennedy and his wife on 11/21/1963. I have seen numerous web sites stating that Air Force 1 landed at San Antonio International. That is not true.

Not sure if anyone will see this- but I recently found a photo of JFK and his wife at what looks to be Kelly Airforce base from the stamp on the back- its a candid shot as well- but I was wondering if anyone might be able to give me more information
thanks

Lamar H. Terry, Jr. MSGT/USAF
I have found extremely interesting your post.
I am writing a book about the day before JFK assassination. I would be grateful to you if you could write to me your feelings about that day, send an your photo to me (if you agree it can be published next year) and confirm that JFK landed and departed from Kelly. It is generally accepted that JFK landed in S. Antonio International and departed from Kelly (after that 3 airplanes were moved from SAI to Kelly).

Thank you very much in advance.

Mr. Aldo Mariotto, I received your request and I will Reply in the next few weeks. Thanks, Lamar Terry

Gentlemen, FYI, it’s not just “generally accepted” JFK landed at SA International. It’s a fact. You can clearly see the name of the airport (at the very least the word “International” in the film footage taken by Thomas Akins that day, seen in the documentary “The Last Two Days.”
Looking forward to reading you book, Dr. Mariotto, when it’s published!

Ms. Judy Veselis, I received your e-mail (about the 2 pictures of JFK at Kelly A F B) but as of yet I have not received them. Would you please be as kind to try to send me copies of the pictures? Thanks in advance, Lamar Terry

Mr. Donald Clayton, Above you commented about the map of the motorcade route for President Kennedy’s visit in 1963 should have been Lackland AFB not Kelly AFB. In 1963 Kelly AFB butted up to Lackland AFB. Kelly AFB was an Air Force Depot (different command) and Lackland AFB was in Air Training Command. They were two seperate bases. I was in San Antonio Last year and to my surprise part of old Kelly is now part of Lackland AFB.

It doesn’t make any sense that JFK landed at Kelly AFB then had the motorcade go to the SA International Airport, and return to Kelly AFB. I’m sure it’ll show he landed at SA International then proceeded his route. Check the log with Air Trafic Control at the airport, that’ll clear it up.

Randy Owens I disagree with you. JFK in Air Force one Landed at Kelly AFB and Departed from Kelly AFB on November 21 1963. As I said above I was there. I have nothing to gain to make the statements above. I just hate to see the wrong information that has been put out about President John F. Kennedy. I am sure the U. S. Air Force has records somewhere to prove that JFK landed/departed from Kelly AFB. Frank Romo could it be that the map of the motorcade from SA International was used from the 1960 visit of JFK? Read Ned Colemans writeup above about a mistake being made. It would be very nice if drtlibrary were to check with the USAF about JFK arriving/departing from Kelly AFB on 11/21/1963.
Mr. Aldo Mariotto I have tried to contact you and as yet have not heard from you.

MSGT Terry, I mean no disrespect but why would the plane land at Kelly then have the motorcade rush over to the SA International Airport, then proceed south on Broadway through the downtown area towards Brooks AFB. My high school was located on S St. Mary’s, (that’s about half-ways) the motorcade drove past the school onto Brooks AFB, then onto Kelly AFB, departing San Antonio. It appears the Kennedy’s landed at the SA International then Air Force One proceeded to Kelly, the film clearly shows the airport in the background.
It just doesn’t make sense for the motorcade to make that kind of loop just to start at 410 & Broadway, coming from Kelly. I’ve inquired with the UTSA Archives to gather up the route taken 9/12/1960 as well as the route on 11/21/1963. I’ll drop you a line upon the results, just trying to get my head around this discrepancy.

No disrespect, either, MSGT Terry. I’ve been researching the assassination for over 40 years. Live coverage on NBC that day played film footage of the San Antonio and Houston visits from the day before. In that footage, it clearly shows AF1 arrived at SA International. Color footage used in the documentary “The Last Two Days” also has a beautiful shot of the airport. It’s SA International. The documentary is available on various websites including the John F. Kennedy Library website. Perhaps you are remembering the 1960 visit. Memories are tricky things. In my experience, there are several examples. Nellie Connally in her book mentioned the arrival of AF1 and described the colors of the plane as red and white. It wasn’t. It was blue and white. She was mistaken. With the documentation (films, newspapers, books, etc.), I have to conclude he arrived at SA International. Again, no disrespect. (By the way, it’s Owen, without the “s” on the end.)

Mr. Frank Romo, I understand what you are saying with no disrespect but the motorcade started at Kelly AFB. When you saw the motorcade passing your school could it have been on the return route going to Brooks AFB and back to Kelly AFB to depart? It is a fact I was at Kelly AFB when JFK arrived and departed. JFK arrived and left on Air Force 1 from Kelly AFB. I say the route map is wrong showing JFK arriving at San Antonio International Airport. People do makes mistakes, Example:- I read an article stating “The President was set to land at San Antonio’s Bergstrom Air Force Base at 1:30 on Thursday Afternoon” 11/21/1963. Bergstrom AFB (is closed now) was located in Austin, Texas. Maybe someone will research the archives (if they were kept) of Kelly AFB or the US Air Force. I will not benefit if the record is or is not corrected. All I want is to set the record straight for JFK and history.
Mr. Romo thanks for the search with UTSA and looking forward to hearing from you.

No disrespect to you either, Randy Owen. Air Force 1 arrived at Kelly AFB on 11/21/1963 and President J. F. Kennedy deplaned from the exit (door) forward of the wing. The film shows him deplane from the exit (door) behind the wing. Maybe that film is from the 1960 arrival. In your researching maybe you would like to research of Kelly AFB or USAF records of airplanes arriving/departing from Kelly on 11/21/1963. Randy my mind is not tricky. I was not thinking of the 1960 visit. In 1960 I was stationed in Georgia. As you said above mistakes were made. Read my reply above about a mistake in the book “THE PASSAGE OF POWER” by Robert Caro. I was working on the flight line at Kelly AFB when JFK ARRIVED and DEPARTED. I was a member of the ground crew of receiving and departing Air Force 1. This is a fact. It would not make sense for Air Force1 to land at San Antonio International and deplane JFK. Then take off and land at KellyAFB to pick up Persident Kennedy. As I said before I have no gain and do not want cerdit for setting history straight. Sorry for the S on your last name.

MSGT Terry, I went to the link posted below, and it clearly shows JFK and his entourage deplaning at the San Antonio International Airport. You stated before it could’ve been from his 1st visit, in 1960. Well, I have to say US Congressman Henry B. Gonzales wasn’t elected to the Congress until 1961. In frame 57 sec it clearly shows him deplaning behind Mrs. Kennedy, and in frame 1:04 it also shows him with his daughter and son (the now US Congressman) Charlie Gonzales in the foreground, with Mrs. Kennedy in the background. If it had been 1960 like you state Henry B. Gonzales wouldn’t have been allowed on that plane as a citizen.

This film clip clearly shows the SA International Airport sign and the students from Alamo Heights School linning the route on Broadway which is just south of the airport by approximately 3 miles. It also shows the parade route going down W bound on Houston St., passing by the Gunter Hotel clearly on the right side of the route, which corresponds with the parade route shown in the map. My high school is approximately 2 miles from the immediate downtown area, which the motorcade passed by enroute to Brooks AFB approximately 4 miles from that location.

Hopefully this’ll give you a little more to look at. I’m not disputing what you said, I’m just clearly showing you what’s on film as to JFK’s last day before being assassinated.

MSGT Terry, did you have a chance to view the film? You sent me a response meant to Randy Owen, mix up I guess, anyway, I submitted this film clip showing the JFK motorcade deplaning at the SA International Airport. Can’t miss the signage on the terminal, Mrs. JFK deplaning from the aircraft as you stated from the exit door behind the wing, Read the following paragraph….

Along with the president is Mrs. Kennedy, she wasn’t on the 1st trip he made to Texas, she had suffered her miscarrage in the 1960 trip. So, that explains alot of the events, it really makes sense if you look at the facts.

Arrive at the SA International Airport, travel south through the city on the way to Brooks AFB, then over to Kelly AFB and depart, where Air Force One met them (this is where you were located) at Kelly AFB, to ferry them over to their next stop. That’s not far fetched in the way of proceedure, is it?

As I pointed out about Congressman Gonzales he wouldn’t have been on that plane in the 1960 visit, he was still a civillian. The motorcade route showing the students from Alamo Heights waving to him along Broadway, which is approximately 3 miles south of the SA International Airport. Along with the rest of the route showing the motrocade going through the downtown area proceeding southbound to Brooks AFB, then over to Kelly AFB as is shown in the map on this site.

I admire your tenacity in what you observed but I also know what I observed, he passed in front of me and I photographed the motorcade traveling southbound on S. St. Mary’s to Brooks AFB. I can’t dispute the film clip, it clearly shows the arrival at the SA Imternational Airport. If you can’t accept the footage of this, along with the explanation, I guess we’ll agree to disagree. I did my part in finding that film clip, and giving you more details, now, show me your facts, to show otherwise. I don’t want this to be a [email protected]#ing match, that’s not my intent, just to clarify some of the events of this visit.

This is the information sent to me for my asking this comes from the archives of the San Antonio Express and the UTSA Library. Hopefully, this puts to rest any questions as to when JFK arrived in San Antonio for both of his visits. I’m sure it had stirred up enough distain from parties stating otherwise, this is the actual itinerary, as researched by the archives section of the San Antonio Library, just the facts.

You asked:
JFK’s two visits to San Antonio Tx
Parade route for 9/121960
Parade route for 11/21/1963
Any photos or information concerning both presidential visits.

Answer:
The September 12, 1960 edition of the San Antonio Express says this, “Kennedy, accompanied by his vice-presidential running mate, U.S. Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, are scheduled to touch down at International Airport at 2:20 p.m. Monday. At 2:30 p.m., h« will proceed to the Alamo in a motorcade along Broadway, east on E. Houston and south on Alamo Plaza to the speaker’s stand, deliver a 30-minule speech, attend a brief Menger Hotel reception and return to the airport to leave for Houston at 4:25 p.m.”

The November 21, 1963 edition of the San Antonio Express lists this itinerary:

• Arrive 1:30 p.m. at International Airport, leaving that point at 1:40 p.m.

• Motorcade via Loop 410 In Broadway St., down Broadway to Houston St., turn west on Houston St. to St. Mary’s

St., south on St. Mary’s to Loop 13, turning east on the loop to Brooks AFB, arriving at 2:25 p.m.

• Make dedication speech at Aerospace Medicine Center at 2:40 p.m., then leave for Kelly AFB at 3:05 p.m. Arrive

Kelly 3:25 p.m. and take off for Houston for Rep. Albert Thomas’ dinner.

San Antonio Public Library
(210) 207-2500

Thanks for getting and posting this information, Frank. I would also point out that in the film clip from “The Last Two Days,” made by Navy photographer Thomas Atkins, you can even see Air Force One’s reflection in the windows of the San Antonio International Airport. Thanks, again, Frank.

You’re welcome Randy, take care.

Mr. Romo,
Thank you. My mother now 85 years old at that time was the President of “The Womens Power League” here in San Antonio, Texas. Her chapter at the time had rented the “gunther Hotel for this special occassion, the arrivial of ” The President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade down houston street. Not mention another event they were to have. She has a very visiable and clear photograph of the President and the Firstlady passing right by the gunther hotel. A photographer that she had hired for there club or thher chapter took photos for the chapter and my mother that day. We are trying to get it authenticated now but dont know who to take it to.

Thanks
Maria Travieso
Nov. 4,2012

Hello Maria, received your message and the only thing I can do is recommend contacting the San Antonio Public Library, 210-207-2500. They might be able to help you in getting the photo authenticated, it would be great to have it posted on this page if possible. Also, I went to school with a Gloria Travieso, any relation?

I was a fifth grade student at Bonham Elementary School when we were all told that the President would be driving past and we would be allowed to stand along the sidewalk to see him go by. During that time, most folks had black and white TV and because of this, as I waited to see the President on that day, I was looking for someone with black/dark hair.
I almost missed seeing President Kennedy because of this. When I did see him, I was shocked at how Red his hair was in the bright sunshine. His motorcade drove swiftly by our school so I only caught about a 5-second glimpse of him as he headed toward Brooks AFB. The next day we learned of his assassination during recess and were all dismissed from school.

As I was one of the SAPD motorcycle officers who rode alongside President Kennedy’s vehicle for the motorcade on the 21st of November, 1963, I can assure you, unless there was a double, he, and Mrs. Kennedy, deplaned at San Antonio International Airport and left from Kelly AFB. It is my understanding that AF 1 was to be transferred from SAIA to KAFB during the motorcade. Although I am not sure, I seem to recall a radio transmission during the motorcade indicating the transfer was complete.

Thanks for your contribution, Sammy. What do you remember when you heard the news the next day? And when Oswald was shot two days later?

As my days off were Friday and Saturday, I was off the day of the event. As I remember it, I had slept later than usual, woke up and went outside to do some work around the house. I recall hearing the phone ring several times, but did not go in to answer it. Finished up what I was doing and as I went back inside, the phone rang again and I answered. It was my wife advising me what had happened in Dallas. As I was young back then and not really into politics, this telephone call regarding the event stunned me knowing I had just shaken hands with President and Mrs. Kennedy the day before as they was getting ready to board AF 1 at Kelly AFB. Of course, I immediately started watching and listening to all the news reports. I can’t really describe my feelings from back then. I’m sure it was one of sorrow mixed with a selfish “thank goodness it did not happen here”. I believe I called my partner, who had ridden the opposite side of the President’s limo, and we discussed various aspects of the day before. One thing does stand out in my mind and that was the sincerity in President Kennedy’s face as he shook our hands and thanked us. That I will never forget. Regarding Oswald, I’m pretty sure I probably thought “good”.

My grandfather was an honor guard at brooks air force base on 11-21-1963 for JFK’s arrival. I am trying to get a good picture of him(hopefully with JFK-as they shook hands) to frame for his 86th birthday coming up in January. I have been looking for the last year and have yet to find any. Please contact me if anyone could help me make this memorable gift possible. thank you in advance

I was a 4th grader at Columbia Heights Elementary in the South side of San Antonio on 11-21-1963. Not far from Kelly AFB and Brooks AFB. President Kennedy’s motorcade made an unscheduled (it seems) stop at our school. He was riding in a blue convertible. He never got out of his car, he just smiled and waived at all the children. We were also given JFK souvenir coins. I lost my coin, but I sure wish I had to prove he was really there.

As I understand it JFK, the Governor with the Vice President and their wifes were living Dallas and headed for Bergstrom AFB, then proceed from there by helicopter to Johnson’s Ranch where they planned to rest overnite before preceeding with his campaign. I’ve heard this several times. Can this be documented.

You might enjoy watching the National Geographic documentary JFK The Final Hours. It traces the last twenty-four hours of Kennedy’s life as he traveled though Texas, and will answer your questions. Kennedy visited San Antonio, Houston, Ft. Worth and Dallas. After lunch at the Dallas Trade Mart he
was to leave for Austin, then later, the Johnson Ranch. He and Jackie planned to return to Washington in time for John-John’s birthday on Monday, Nov. 25.

Porter, as written in USA Today October 28 2013-Rick Jarvis wrote about JFK’s the final Days The President and Vice President and Governor and wives were supposed to depart from Dallas after that visit, arrive in Austin Texas, spend the night at LBJ’s ranch and speak the following day in Austin to help the Democratic Party.

That, of course wasn’t to be since the assassination changed history, hopefully that answered your question.

I was honor guard November 21, 1962 at Brooks AFB, Texas when President Kennedy arrived…
A day and an honor that I will never forget.
Douglas Hatcher, MSgt USAF Retired.

Dear Mr. Hatcher,
Did you intend to say November 21, 1963? I am a researcher for the National Geographic documentary produced last year about John Kennedy’s visit to Brooks AFB. I am interested in knowing if you knew Charles Gannello and if you have any photos of the honor guard?
Thank you. diane Coady

Yes, that is a mistake it was 1963. Unfortunately I did not know Charles Gannello. I’m only able to recall two names, George Cornish and Andy Hart, Andy is deceased.
I do not have any photos of the honor guard…. Wish I did.


Watch the euphoric welcome U.S. President John F. Kennedy's “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech received in West Berlin on June 26, 1963

NARRATOR: June 26, 1963 - West Berlin awaits the U.S. president. John F. Kennedy - for many the 45-year-old embodies a new generation of politician.

ULRICH SCHÜRMANN: "We had the feeling we were being ruled by our grandparents, and here was this guy as fresh and young as we were, like one of us.

NARRATOR: The Berliners also expect a statement about the future of Berlin as a divided city. The western part of the city has been surrounded by a wall for 22 months. Moscow and East Berlin want to stop the stream of GDR refugees. The murderous structure divides friends and families. The Soviet Union repeatedly questions the status of West Berlin and there are tense moments between the two former allies.

EGON BAHR: "We were quiet as mice in the Schöneberg City Hall like everyone else in the rest of Germany. We were trembling and physically felt how dependent we were."

NARRATOR: Two years after the wall is built more than 400,000 citizens wait in front of the Schöneberg City Hall for the address of John F. Kennedy.

SCHÜRMANN: "No pop star could have gathered such a huge crowd at this time in Berlin."

NARRATOR: It is the first visit of a U.S. president to Berlin since the end of the war. What message will he bring?

TED SORENSEN: "It was if they were in an explosive mood ready to act. If he had said let us march, they might have marched on the wall and torn it down."

NARRATOR: But Kennedy said something else.

JOHN F. KENNEDY: "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words‚Ich bin ein Berliner!"

EDITH HANCKE: "And as he said that famous sentence, there was no stopping us. We started yelling like crazy."

NARRATOR: The crowds feel protected by Kennedy.

SCHÜRMANN: "Unbelievable rejoicing, people had tears in their eyes. It was like a liberation."

NARRATOR: The president's speech was well prepared. He just had to work on the accent.

BAHR: "We sat together with him in the room of the governing mayor, and he practiced how he should say it with our head translator: 'Ich bin ein Berliner.'"

NARRATOR: It is an uplifting moment for Kennedy, too.

SORENSEN: "When we departed he said 'Phew! We'll never have another day like this as long as we live.'"

NARRATOR: Kennedy's message is a free West Berlin is inseparable from the freedom of the West.



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