Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ft. Worth JFK tribute to be dedicated

JFK tribute to be dedicated next week

It's taken almost 50 years, but Fort Worth is about ready to unveil a long-awaited tribute to President John F. Kennedy, who spent the last night of his life here. He made his last speech in Cowtown, the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, before boarding Air Force One for Dallas.
Kennedy, who also made his last telephone call from his suite in the Hotel Texas (now the Hilton) that morning, gave an unscheduled address to thousands who waited for him in the rain. "There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth," he told the mostly working-class audience, to roaring approval.
That quote now is inscribed on a granite panel that has been put in place across from the hotel on the spot where the president uttered those words. The panel is part of the JFK Tribute, a tasteful, sensitive and moving commemorative honoring Kennedy's life and especially those few hours he spent in Fort Worth.
Complete with an elegant 8-foot-tall sculpture, three giant photographs from that day and water flowing over Kennedy's words, the tribute in General Worth Square is scheduled to be formally dedicated at 9 a.m. Nov. 8.
Several years ago, a group started raising money to erect a sculpture of Kennedy and collected enough for the design and a clay model, but that project floundered.
Taylor and Shirlee Gandy were asked four years ago if they would contribute to completing the sculpture. After seeing it, the Gandys said, they believed the project should include more than a statue -- it should "tell the story" of the president's visit. They said they wanted to make sure it would not be a "memorial" to his death, but a tribute to his life.
The Gandys, co-chairs of the JFK Tribute Committee of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., helped raise the $2 million for construction and maintenance of this important historical and artistic piece.
On Wednesday morning, Shirlee Gandy and Andy Taft of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., were on the site as workers attended to landscaping and other last-minute details.
The goal of creating a tribute of which all Fort Worthians could be proud (including the many who were not born in 1963) has been accomplished.

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