Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Kennedy Visited Cape Canaveral

Click the arrow to watch a Universal Newsreel of President Kennedy's November 16, 1963 visit to Cape Canaveral.

Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy visited Cape Canaveral for the last time.

Kennedy's first visit was February 23, 1962 to honor John Glenn after his Friendship 7 flight. Kennedy returned on September 11, 1962, as part of a four-city whirlwind tour of NASA facilities and contractors.

His final visit on November 16, 1963 was during a brief vacation to the Kennedy family compound in Palm Beach, mixed with a little politicking in Miami and Tampa.

After a brief return to Washington, D.C., Kennedy would fly on to Texas where destiny would take his life in Dallas.

James Dean of Florida Today writes about Kennedy's final visit in today's issue.

Dr. Wernher von Braun (center) and President Kennedy view a Saturn 1 at Launch Complex 37. To the left is NASA Associate Administrator Robert Seamans. Image source: NASA.

You've probably seen the above famous photo of Kennedy pointing up at a Saturn 1. If you watch the Universal Newsreel at the top of this article, you'll see the context. The camera operator was filming from Kennedy's left and caught that moment.

The U.S. Air Force issued in 1964 a documentary called The Cape: 1963 which included a look at Kennedy's final visit. The clip is below; click here to watch the entire 26-minute documentary, which ends with the memorial ceremony after his assassination.

Click the arrow to watch a 1963 U.S. Air Force documentary excerpt on Kennedy's final Cape visit.

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