JFK 50 years later on display in Edgewater Leisure Services

EDGEWATER -- I remember Nov. 22, 1963, like it was yesterday. It was 1:15 in the afternoon and I was at work as a plant manager for beauty products up North. I walked up the first of two steps into the office when I opened the door and saw my secretary crying uncontrollably. "What's the matter?" I asked. She responded," President Kennedy has been shot!"

I froze. I could not believe what I just heard. I went back to the shop and told everyone to go home.

In 1960 when Kennedy was campaigning, I was a very active in the Democratic Party. I received a phone call from the Democratic chairman telling me John F. Kennedy was coming here to Stratford, Conn.

He would arrive early the following morning. We got on the phone and made calls. The next morning hundreds showed up to greet who we hoped to be the next president of the United States of America. We shook hands with JFK. He was so happy to see the crowd and in his speech acknowledged us and drew loud cheers from the crowd.

Stratford was a Kennedy town. The members of the Democratic party and the Kennedy party went to Fernando Restaurant and we all had breakfast with him. We talked about him winning the nomination for president. We accompanied him to the airport and wished him luck.

From that day on, Kennedy was my idol and one of our greatest presidents. On Jan. 20, 1961, John Fitzgerald took the oath of office as the 35th president of the United States of America. How could we not forget the excerpt from his speech? "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Then nearly three years later, the unimaginable happened. Nov. 22, 1963, was a sad day for the USA and the world. It will never be forgotten, the day we mourned the assassination of JFK.

Then nearly three years later, the unimaginable happened. Nov. 22, 1963, was a sad day for the USA and the world. It will never be forgotten, the day we mourned the assassination of JFK.

I decided to travel to Washington D.C. for the funeral, a six hour drive from Connecticut with a friend. We went the day before. We found a parking space and got in line to view the casket, which was in the capital's rotunda. I paid my last respects. Then I went to the corner of Connecticut Avenue, made myself comfortable and spent the night on the sidewalk so that I could be in the front to see the procession the next day.  

At dawn the crowd started to gather, I was there with my video camera. I got the procession: Dignitaries from all over the world were here. There was the horse-drawn carriage carrying the casket, a rider-less white horse, along with representation from all branches, marching bands, etc. All in all, it was a very sad day.

I had a collection of JFK memorabilia displayed over the years at New Smyrna Beach Museum and New Smyrna Middle school. This year, being the 50th anniversary, It is being displayed throughout this month at the Edgewater Leisure Services building, at the corner of US1 and Turgot Avenue.  

Please take time to view the display and remember one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States -- John F. Kennedy.

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On Jan. 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy was sworn into office and delivered one of the most famous inaugural addresses in U.S. history with the line "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
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Michael Visconti lives in Edgewater and is proud to call himself an Italian-American. The blog, "American Patriot" (and its contents), is the sole copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, and cannot be reproduced, copied or published in whole or in part elsewhere without the prior expressed written permission of the publisher. NSBNews.net, VolusiaNews.net and HeadlineSurfer.com are owned by NSB News LLC. All three domains fall under the umbrella of Headline Surfer.