top of page

JFK Visits West Virginia on Centennial

June 20, 1963 - President Kennedy, wet but cheerful, helped West Virginia celebrate its 100th anniversary today. “The sun does not always shine in West Virginia,” the President told the thousands standing in the Capitol plaza in Charleston, W. Va., in a steady rain, “but the people always do, and I am delighted to be here.” A few minutes later, after a brief speech acclaiming the economic gains he said West Virginia had made since he campaigned here three years ago, Mr. Kennedy plunged into the crowd as if he were still seeking the state’s delegates to the Democratic national convention. The damp but cheering West Virginians closed around him for a handshake, a touch of his shoulder, a close look, a grab at his sleeve. As the rain continued to fall, umbrellas collapsed, secret servicemen pushed and shoved like football linemen, and the strong displayed the customary disdain for the weak. It was a mighty crush, but Mr. Kennedy kept his smile, his cool, and his bodyguard. Finally, he emerged from the crowd, entered a bubbletop limousine that had been flown from Washington, and sped back to the airport.


bottom of page