The JFK Tribute
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave two speeches in Fort Worth.
The first was delivered to a crowd that had been gathering for hours in the dark, braving a cold, early morning rain. (Hear President Kennedy's outdoor speech here.) Later, inside the hotel, a formal address was delivered to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Both speeches were received enthusiastically and within them the President called attention to Fort Worth’s roles in national defense and aviation history. He spoke optimistically of the future but warned of challenges. He spoke of leadership, space exploration and America’s role on the international stage.
He left Fort Worth, enjoying a ticker tape parade from the back of his convertible as it traveled on Main Street. Bands played, cheerleaders waved and thousands greeted the President as the bright sun shone down on the motorcade. The President’s visit to Fort Worth was a remarkable success.
A few hours later, the excitement and themes of his Fort Worth visit were all but forgotten.
Today, the JFK Tribute in Fort Worth tells the story of the first half of November 22, 1963, and in the telling, resurrects the President’s themes that captured the spirit of his time.
(JFK Tribute in Fort Worth; Photo: courtesy of Jeffrey Stvan)
International leadership. Ambition in the sciences. Defense. A strong economy. Fort Worth’s role in history. These themes resonate as loudly today as they did then. The JFK Tribute tells the Fort Worth story of that fateful day and communicates those themes to new generations through a beautiful work of art, an on-site display and via internet-based teaching guides.
Located at the southeast corner of Main and 8th Streets, in downtown’s General Worth Square, the JFK Tribute is sited approximately where President Kennedy delivered his outdoor address. John F. Kennedy, an 8-foot bronze sculpture, was created for Fort Worth by Texas sculptor Lawrence Ludtke, N.S.S. and R.A.S., in 2001, cast in bronze in 2009 and installed in 2012.
(JFK Tribute in Fort Worth; Photos: courtesy of Jered E. Widmer, The Lighting Practice)
The JFK Tribute was dedicated in an official ribbon cutting and public ceremony on November 8, 2012. The Tribute is currently open to the public. Learn more about this project, including a guided audio tour, at www.jfktribute.com
Contractor: AUI Contractors, LLC
Landscape Architect: Jacobs
Lighting Designer: The Lighting Practice
Exhibit Designer: Museumscapes
General Worth Square Improvements: City of Fort Worth
JFK Tribute Committee:
Taylor and Shirlee J. Gandy, Co-Chairs
Bob Bolen, Honorary Co-Chair
Jim Wright, Honorary Co-Chair
Karen and Larry Anfin
Henry and Becky Borbolla
Buzz and Ruth Brightbill
Roy and Jennifer Brooks
John Allen and Sue Chalk
Doug and Judy Harman
Bob and Linda Herchert
Leland and Kaye Hodges
Erma Johnson Hadley
Honorable Mayor Mike Moncrief
Bob and Nancy Mitchell
Len and Laurie Roberts
Pollard and Deborah Rogers
Terry and Jude Ryan
Jerry and Judy Sawyer
Bob and Ann Semple
Bill and Lyle Thornton
Gary and Julie Wilson
General Worth Square Advisory Committee:
Shirlee J. and Taylor Gandy, Co-Chairs
Louise Appleman, Tarrant County College Board of Trustees
Henry Borbolla, Community Bank
Jenny Conn, Fort Worth Arts Council
Randy Hutcheson, City of Fort Worth
Bob Kelly, Architect
Leo Kinney, Cash America
Martha Peters, Fort Worth Arts Council
Van Romans, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Gene Smith, Professor Texas Christian University/Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Sandra Youngblood, City of Fort Worth, Parks and Community Services
Richard Zavala, City of Fort Worth, Parks and Community Services
For more information, contact Melissa Konur, Director of Planning, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. or Becky Fetty, Director of Marketing, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. 817-870-1692