My 17 Minutes with John F. Kennedy



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“My 17 Minutes with John F. Kennedy”


Read the sections from Herrera’s article and answer the questions below.
View the entire article here: http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth248687/

*Note: The article is in the author’s own words and may contain grammar issues.



Now as I go by and see it pad locked I can still hear the strains of Mariachi Music when the LULACS (League of United Latin American Citizens) entertained President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Bovier Kennedy, almost 20 years ago in the Grand Ballroom of The Rice Hotel just 15 hours before the assassination at Dallas, Texas.
1. President Kennedy was a big supporter of the equal rights movements, such as the LULACs. Why do you think it is important for the president to attend events held by these associations?
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We were all seated and waiting for the Presidential Party when they walked in at 8pm…….President Kennedy, striking tan, reddish hair flashing. The crowd began yelling and cheering.
As we led the President to the Rostrum he could tell that I; a Veteran of the Political Wars of Texas was extremely nervous; The President grabbed my right arm and looked me in the eye. I suddenly realized that the President was taller than I had imagined him. I was trembling.
The President said, “Don’t be nervous Mr. Herrera,” in his Boston Accent, “Now tell me who are these people?”
Mr. President,” I said, “These people came over a thousand miles to see you.”
2. Compare the reaction of the crowd to Herrera’s reaction when being in the presence of the president. How would you feel?
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I was putting on my coat when Raymond Grant dashed in from the next office and shouted, “PRESIDENT KENNEDY HAS BEEN SHOT IN DALLAS.” We heard the sorrowful news on my office radio.
All of us were shocked with grief. I was crying uncontrollably; all I could say was “THEY HAVE KILLED MY PRESIDENT” “THEY HAVE KILLED MY PRESIDENT.”
3. The entire country was shocked over this sad news. The people in Dallas that day were the last to see John F. Kennedy alive. How do you think Texans felt when the Dallas Police Department captured the person responsible for JFK’s death?
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Since the death of President Kennedy I have met many people from other countries and invariably the talks turn to the tragedy of his untimely death and always these people who are not American show a genuine concern for us and for our feelings and sorrow at the time of the assassination. They also marvel at the moral strength of the Kennedy Family and of the American Political system going through it’s transition to another administration; they as much as say that it is as President Kennedy would have wanted it; an orderly lawful transition. More and more we Americans want to be as our friends abroad see us. I think that to have Americans [be] loved and respected by the other countries was what he was trying to achieve before he was killed.
4. President Kennedy not only focused on the issues of the United States at that time, but also considered how the world would view his decisions for America. Do you think it is important for a president to be mindful of what other countries may think of America? Do you think that his support for civil/equal rights earns us more respect from countries that don’t have them?
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