JFK's time in Ft. Worth just before assassination remembered - New York News

JFK's time in Ft. Worth just before assassination remembered

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Upon the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, a lot of people have forgotten that he slept his last night, delivered his last speech and likely ate his last meal in Fort Worth.

Air Force One was preparing to take off for Carswell Air Force Base 50 years ago.                   

The speech he delivered at a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast would be the last speech he would ever deliver, and he and his wife Jackie charmed a full house.

"People were just really excited about the presence of the Kennedys here," said Fort Worth historian Scott Barker. "The crowds were large and enthusiastic, and it's evident in the Kennedys' faces, especially his, how pleased he was by the warmth that was being shown to him."

The Kennedys spent 12 hours in Fort Worth, arriving late Thursday night in a cold drizzle. Thousands were waiting for him at what was then the Texas Hotel.

After the breakfast, the motorcade departed with JFK and Jackie in a white Lincoln that was on loan to the Secret Service from a local car dealer.

Frank Odell was a portrait photographer who took dozens of shots as the motorcade passed by on the way to Carswell Air Force Base. The negatives were stolen years ago, but six prints survived.

A few hours later, he was listening to the radio and developing the JFK photos in his lab.

"The crowd was hollering and everybody was clapping," said Odell. "It was just a marvelous day. And then to hear the news on the radio as I was processing the film of these photographs, tears just ran down my eyes. It was just unbelievable. I could not believe it."

Just over a year ago, a JFK Tribute in Fort Worth was unveiled outside the hotel where he slept his final night.

Taylor Gandy and his wife, Shirlee, led the effort to make it happen.

"That's what we want it to be; a tribute to his visit, to him and Mrs. Kennedy's visit to our city," said Shirlee.

"We, Shirlee and I, did not want the Fort Worth story to be lost to history," said Taylor.

Twelve of the 16 art pieces that were in the presidential hotel suite are on display now at an exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum.

UT Arlington has a display of photographs from the president's 12 hours in Fort Worth from the Star Telegram's collection.

The event at Dealey Plaza is called The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy.

If you don't have a ticket, you can watch all the day's events on FOX 4 starting at 11 a.m., or you can watch it online at myfoxdfw.com.

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