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EDITORIAL/Camelot Comes to Texarkana: JFK visited Twin Cities 63 years ago today

September 12, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.

Way back in 1960 a young senator from Massachusetts was campaigning for the presidency of the U.S.

And one day he brought his message to Texarkana.

It was September 13 when John F. Kennedy waved from a Pontiac Bonneville convertible as he road in the Four States Fair and Rodeo Parade along the downtown streets before stopping to make a speech at the federal courthouse and post office building that still strides the state line between Arkansas and Texas.

There are still many residents who remember that day. They lined the streets and looked out of office windows all along the route, hoping to catch a glimpse of the charismatic Kennedy. A vast crowd -- some estimates put it at nearly 100,000 from all around the area -- jammed State Line in front of the post office to hear him speak.

So much hope and promise from that young candidate for the nation's highest office. He won the election but sadly was felled by an assassin's bullet just the three years later.

We imagine it's hard for many younger folks to understand what the nation was like back then. There were problems -- many of them to be sure. There were conflicts. There was injustice. But we had a lot more faith in our leaders. We had a lot more respect for the offices they held. We looked up to them. More often than not we thought they were trying to do the right thing as they saw it.

Yes, there were divisions. And yes sometimes the political battles could get nasty. It wasn't some mythical golden age that so many would like to remember and believe.

But it wasn't like it the deep, bitter and too often angry political division of today.

There is a monument to President Kennedy at our post office. It's inscribed with words he spoke his inaugural address--and words he would have spoken Nov. 22, 1963, in Austin if he had left Dallas alive that day.

You might want to check it out sometime. And remember the candidate who thrilled Texarkana and the president who inspired the world.

Print Headline: EDITORIAL/Camelot Comes to Texarkana: JFK visited Twin Cities 63 years ago today


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