Thursday, November 19, 2015

52nd Anniversary Coming Up In A Few Days...

 Next Sunday marks the 52nd anniversary of JFK being assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Shot dead as he rode in a motorcade on his way to another Texas speaking engagement in "Big D."

Earlier he had addressed a crowd in Fort Worth, drumming up support for his re-election to a second term as President of the United States.

The leader of the world's strongest country, who had faced down the Russians, defusing the brink of war scenario during the Cuban Missile Crisis, wanted to finish many programs he had started..

This particular picture I took in 1960 in San Diego, when he was Senator Kennedy, campaigning against Richard Nixon, to become President.

I was a young college student, just out of the Marine Corps, who had packed up cameras and darkroom equipment and headed west from South Carolina to be the first in my family to attend college.

I had been offered a Photography Scholarship by the young University of San Diego, a Catholic school only 11 years old.

I set up my studio and darkroom downstairs in the College For Men building.

Naturally I carried my camera with me as a few fellow students and I went downtown to hear the Presidential hopeful speak.

I thought "Oh, what the hell," and worked my way to the front of the crowd and showed my student ID to a police officer standing on the raised platform.

"I'm the University's official photographer and would like to come up there to take some pictures."

He just nodded and gave me a hand up.

It was a simpler time and everyone was more trusting and helpful.

I positioned myself and waited for the moment Senator Kennedy would turn my way while making a point.

Three years later, while still attending classes at the University, I was a staff photographer for the daily metro San Diego Union - Tribune newspaper and wanted very much to be part of the paper's team that covered this 1963 return visit.

We had staff all over the place.

Reporters and photographers were at Lindbergh Field  airport, the several caravans, the area around where he was to speak at the San Diego State College, as well as with the President later in the day as he was offshore, observing military maneuvers.

I got a plum assignment about as close to the President as we could get with our press credentials. 

Practically onstage with him, I was able to get good photos from his left side as he gave the Commencement speech.

JFK also received an honorary degree from SDSU that day in June.

Just 5 months later, he made that fateful journey to Texas.

So, each year - about this time - I recall those two times I photographed the President.

Well, technically, once as Senator and then later, as President.

The first time all I needed was my student ID card and a helpful hand up by a burly police officer.

The paper submitted paperwork far in advance of the 1963 visit.

And several weeks went by as, I guess, we were screened by the Secret Service before credentials were issued.

I look back on those days in the sixties, in San Diego, working for the major newspaper with a camera in hand, taking pictures of people in high places and also those not so high.

In 1965 I covered the morning press conference by the Fab Four, the Beatles before their only concert in San Diego.

I had photographed LBJ as he campaigned to be elected to the high office of President.

I took pictures of the Dog Of The Week to help families adopt a special pet that needed a home.

Often I caught a humorous view of life that, I hope, caused a pause and a chuckle.

Even today, in retirement, I keep my camera handy and look for moments that need to be captured and presented.

I have found that one secret of a spectacular photo is to be in a very photogenic area.

Like Niagara Falls, or the Grand Canyon, monuments in Budapest or yellow trolleys in Lisbon, Portugal. Perhaps a sunset over the water at Folly Beach.

Travel photography gives me many, many opportunities to present something out of the ordinary.

Retirement is what you make of it.

I'm not one for being a couch potato, watching tv for hours nor easing down into a rocking chair.

I try to be around positive, upbeat people who enjoy life and make a point of giving enjoyment to others.

Which is probably why I try to attend many live music concerts.

Those talented performers know the value of doing a good job, playing their best, for an appreciative audience.

I try to get as close to the stage as possible and a lot of my music pictures show up on this blog.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my memories.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

If you wish to make a comment, please do so.

Now, Charleston, get ready for a change in the weather.

Winter is again heading down South. Brrr.

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