For my mother, who was there.
The need to carry Texas and Florida in the 1964 election prompted JFK’s staff to schedule a trip to the Lone Star State in November, 1963.
The whirlwind trip would abort in Dallas, where hostile crowds jeered at and a woman assaulted US Ambassador Stevenson a mere month before.
The First Lady was to accompany her husband — her first official public outing since the loss of their second son shortly after childbirth.
Much of Nov 21st the presidential party was to spend in Houston — a motorcade followed by two public appearances before friendly crowds.
Yellow roses, wind, a mariachi band, smiles & handshakes, sour poll results, roast quail & Heineken, & a Medal of Honor recipient met them.
For security, tenants of downtown office buildings received instructions not to open windows or throw anything as the motorcade passed.
Crowds along the way spilled onto the streets; no barricades separated them from the open motorcars crawling single file mere feet away.
The Kennedys gave impromptu talks — hers in Spanish — after stopping at the LULAC gala that evening; the crowd responded “Viva Kennedy!”
The day’s final event: a speech at a dinner for Congressman Thomas, where a well-planned slip of the President’s tongue amused attendees.
JFK spoke hopefully of the future — quoting the Bible: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” — before the party flew to Ft. Worth.
Just hours later, crowds again spilled onto Houston streets — disbelieving, in grief standing where they had welcomed the day before.