50 Years After Election, Boston Honors JFK

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It's John Fitzgerald Kennedy Victory Day in Boston. Mayor Thomas M. Menino has proclaimed it as a way to honor "this favorite and loyal son of our great city."

Fifty years ago, on this day in 1960, voters across the United States cast ballots that sent JFK to Washington. But on the eve of his election, Kennedy had Boston on his mind. After crisscrossing the country, he returned to the city of his birth to hold a final rally at Boston Garden.

"I have traveled this country from one end to another. I have spent many days in nearly every state and I've come back to Boston, Massachusetts with a stronger feeling of confidence, of hope, of knowledge and a vitality and energy of this society and our people than I could have ever had before," Kennedy said.

"It is the best education for a candidate for the presidency. All the criticisms that are leveled at presidential campaigns, in my judgment fade away against the knowledge which a potential president may have, of the strength of this society of ours and its people."

The next morning, Kennedy cast his ballot at the old West End branch of the Boston Public Library, then headed to Hyannisport to await the returns.

He had to wait quite a while — about 24 hours, in fact — before Richard Nixon conceded defeat in one of the closest presidential contests in history. In the end, JFK emerged the victor and became the 35th U.S. president.


This program aired on November 8, 2010.


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