Saturday, November 21, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1773


San Antonio (JFK+50) Fifty-two years ago today, November 21, 1963, President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy were welcomed to the Lone Star State arriving here in San Antonio on the first stop of their planned two day, five city political tour.

According to some, the President had come to Texas to heal the division in the Texas Democratic party between the liberal wing led by Senator Ralph Yarborough and the conservative wing led by Governor John B. Connally.

Thurston Clarke does not agree.  He writes...

"...the notion that Kennedy could resolve (the rift) by visiting Texas for a few days was preposterous.  Johnson and Yarborough lived in Washington, and if that had been Kennedy's only goal he could have easily invited them to the Oval Office for peace talks."

Clarke lists the following reasons for the Texas trip: To...

raise money, energize the party, demonstrate appeal to oil men, executives and conservatives and to improve chances of winning Texas by significant margins

In an interview with Larry King on CNN in the early 1990s, John Connally emphasized the fundraising aspect of the trip.   He said that JFK wanted five fund-raising dinners.  

As Air Force One landed in San Antonio, teenagers, gathered on the observation deck, "screamed.... 'Jackie!'"  The President and First Lady then began a 26 mile motorcade through the city, and JFK would speak at the dedication of the United States Air Force Aerospace Medical Division at Brooks Air Force Base.

If the President had hoped that his visit would help patch up the division in the party, he was soon to be disappointed.  Yarborough would not ride with LBJ in the motorcade. Instead, he jumped in another car with Congressman Henry Gonzalez.

After an evening dinner speech, the Presidential party departed Kelly Field where 5000 people had gathered to see them off and arrived at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth just before midnight.  JFK and the First Lady spent their last night together in a three room suite at the Texas Hotel.

Thurston Clarke writes...

"(JFK and Jackie) embraced and he said...

'You were great today.' 

 She went next door and laid out the pink suit and pillbox hat she would wear the following day."


"End of Days:  The Assassination of John F. Kennedy," by James Swanson.  Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2013.

"JFK's Last Hundred Days:  The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President," by Thurston Clarke, Penguin Press, 2013.

JFK and Jackie
San Antonio, Texas
November 21, 1963
Photo by Cecil Stoughton
JFK Library Image