Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013
Southern Illinois Remembers JFK
CARBONDALE -- Dozens gathered in Carbondale to celebrate the life of one of our greatest presidents, John F. Kennedy.
As the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination nears, southern Illinois is taking time to honor its own piece of JFK history. On October 3, 1960 Kennedy campaigned across southern Illinois.
"53 years ago John F. Kennedy was in Carbondale and in southern Illinois," said event organizer Nick Rion.
It's estimated more than 24,000 people turned out for Kennedy's campaign tour in Carbondale, Marion, and Harrisburg in 1960.
"It was just a thrill for a young kid like me," said SIU President Glenn Poshard, who was 14 when he and his dad made the trip from their farm in Carmi.
"He was speaking to the coal miners, to the small farmers, he was talking to people that were living in an economically depressed area, and I think he gave people hope," he explained.
Poshard, one of the speakers at Thursday's "Remembering JFK" kick-off event, grew to become a huge Kennedy supporter; he said he even memorized his speeches.
"He broke down a lot of barriers between races, between male and female, I mean, a lot of issues were tackled," said Poshard.
Kennedy's life ended tragically on November 22nd, 1963, but his legacy lives on. "I think his legacy is the inspiration that he gave to our whole generation," insisted Poshard.
"Kennedy had a message for young people, he energized young people," said Rion.
"I think, an amazing amount of energy and a dedication to public service. I think that's what he really called upon people to do," added Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, another guest speaker at the JFK event.
Rion hopes those in attendance will find inspiration from Kennedy, and ask themselves what they can do for their country. "Get involved and you can make a difference," he said. "You, one single individual, can make a difference."
A series of "Remembering JFK," events at SIU run through the 50th anniversary of his assassination on November 22nd.
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