Monday marked 50th anniversary of JFK's trip to Tampa

1:18 AM, Nov 19, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa Florida-- He was in office for just over a thousand days, but he's thought of as one of the most beloved presidents.

Four days before he was assassinated in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy rocked the city of Tampa. Thousands of people lined his route through the city, and still more gathered to hear him speak. It was the first time a sitting president had visited the city, and it was a huge deal.

Monday marked the 50th anniversary of his visit. 

"Kids took off of school. Parents skipped work. Everyone was really very interested, and really made a point to come out and see the president," explained Manny Leto of the Tampa Bay History Center.  

Visitors to the center in honor of the fifty-year mark spotted familiar landmarks in the black and white photos on display. The images also brought back memories of Kennedy's tragic assassination that followed so soon after.

See also: Most still believe in JFK assassination conspiracy

"I just ask questions, like what it would be like if he didn't lose his life so young in his presidency," said Chris O'Connor, a visitor of the exhibit.

At MacDill Air Force Base Monday, officials unveiled a plaque commemorating Kennedy's visit. The President's plane landed there, and Tim Moran was holding a film camera for channel 13 there, and also later along the motorcade route.

"We didn't think about security at all that day. I didn't- it didn't seem like it was a problem," recalled Moran. 

The exhibit will be open at the Tampa Bay History Center through December 8th.

See also: Website asks people to share stories of JFK legacy


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