“Howdy, Mr. President! "

A Fort Worth Perspective of JFK

“Howdy, Mr. President!”

After a whirlwind day of Texas wining and dining filled with speeches crafted to attract financial support from this must-win state in the coming year’s presidential election, President John F. Kennedy and the beautiful First Lady Jaqueline arrived at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth late on Thursday evening, November 21st. The crowd that waited along the flight line was exuberant, some even star-struck. Fellow Texans in San Antonio and Houston had been equally enthusiastic earlier in that long day. Shortly before midnight, in spite of the very late hour, a beaming, invigorated couple appeared at the top of the stairs of Air Force One to a wildly cheering crowd.

Personified by this exhibit’s title “Howdy, Mr. President!” the Fort Worth welcome embodied a collective glad-handing by the President’s admirers, displaying hospitality they believed only Texans could deliver. The events that followed over the next few days careened from happiness to horror. Nonetheless, in the early hours of their North Texas visit, Fort Worth Star-Telegram photographers captured the striking images presented here, revealing that joyful encouragement for a successful reelection campaign lifted the spirits of the youthful president and his wife.

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