Marking History

Shirlee and Taylor Gandy led efforts to create the JFK Tribute in Fort Worth

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A cold rain fell the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, as President John F. Kennedy addressed thousands of well-wishers outside the Texas Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. It turned out to be his penultimate speech, with the last one coming shortly thereafter at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

To recognize the significance of the events preceding Kennedy’s assassination, Fort Worth unveiled the JFK Tribute in November 2012. Located adjacent to the hotel (now the Fort Worth Hilton), the exhibit features an eight-foot bronze sculpture of the 35th president within a granite plaza that includes photographs and quotes from several of his speeches.

The JFK Tribute is the culmination of a decade-long public-private partnership spearheaded by Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives Inc. and Shirlee ’70 and Taylor Gandy, who co-chaired the JFK Tribute Committee.

We wanted to commemorate President Kennedy’s historic visit to Fort Worth and his enduring ideals of freedom, courage, discovery, and leadership, which he shared in the speeches he delivered here,” says Shirlee, a 2012 Distinguished Alumna and member of the UT Arlington Development Board. “Everyone involved in the project was honored to create a lasting tribute to this part of the city’s history and to present it in such a public location for all to enjoy.”

Learn more about the memorial at jfktribute​.com.

Also in this issue: Words of Anguish, a story about student reactions following John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

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