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Idlewild Airport Rededicated as John F. Kennedy International Airport

Dec. 24, 1963 - New York International Airport was rededicated as John F. Kennedy International Airport today. The ceremony, attended by the late President’s youngest brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), and his sister, Mrs. Stephen Smith, was held in the arched lobby of the International Arrivals Building. New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and Gov. Richard Hughes of New Jersey spoke, and a message from Gov. Nelson Rockefeller was read. About 800 persons attended. Wagner and Hughes unveiled three 3-foot-high letters, “JFK,” which will form part of a 242-foot-wide electric sign atop the Arrivals Building. Sen. Kennedy said the President would have been proud of the tribute, “as we, his brothers and sisters, are deeply proud to share this occasion.” Wagner said that “our purpose in gathering here today is to honor our International Airport and our city and not the man whose name we take for this place and occasion. The name is already assured of remembrance in the chronicles of these times and of all times.” The Mayor said that the airport was a “symbol of intercommunication, understanding and peace” and that it was appropriate to name it after President Kennedy, “a brilliant practitioner of intercommunications, a young sage of understanding, and a tireless searcher for peace.” Immediately after the ceremony, workmen changed the first of 700 signs. It was a relettered sign, 35 feet wide, across the Van Wyck Expressway entrance to the field.


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