Charleston, West Virginia (JFK+50) Fifty-two years ago today, June 20, 1963, President John F. Kennedy made what would be his last trip to the state which gave him a key primary victory on his way to the White House in 1960.
President Kennedy was in West Virginia* to attend a celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of West Virginia's admission to the Union.
The President, speaking in the rain on the steps of the State Capitol here in Charleston, began his remarks by saying...
"The sun does not always shine in West Virginia, but the people always do."
Recognizing the importance of the state in his bid for the office of the presidency, JFK said..
"I would not be where I now am....if it hadn't been for the people of West Virginia."
"I'm proud to be here today...to join you in saluting the birth of this state. In 1960...West Virginia...was at the bottom of attention from the national government (but) today (it has) moved up to 30th."
President Kennedy concluded his remarks by saying...
"I will carry....the proud realization that not only Mountaineers but also Americans are always free."
Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts opened his West Virginia primary campaign at a press conference held in the Daniel Boone Hotel in the spring of 1960. That campaign would take him beyond Charleston to Huntington, Parkersburg, Rainelle, Welch, Weirton, Cabin Elkview, Cotton, Martinsburg and Walton.
Former Huntington mayor Bobby Nelson said...
"Having been shocked by the level of poverty in Appalachia, Kennedy committed to more social programs and aid to the poor."
*West Virginia was admitted to the union as the 24th state on June 20, 1863.
Before becoming a state, the mountainous counties of western Virginia nullified Virginia's ordinance of secession and proclaimed "The Restored Government of Virginia."
"June 20, 1963-President John F. Kennedy's Final Visit to West Virginia, WCHS-TV, ABC 8 NEWS, www.wchstv.com/
"Remarks at the State Centennial Celebration in Charleston, West Virginia, 20 June 1963," www.jfklibrary.org/
Blue Ridge Mountains
Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Growin' like a breeze."
"Take Me Home, Country Roads"
by John Denver