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President Kennedy Opens Seattle World's Fair by Remote Control

Apr. 21, 1962 - President Kennedy opened the Seattle World’s Fair by remote control today. He voiced the hope that he was inaugurating “an era of peace and understanding among all mankind.” Twelve thousand persons seated in a stadium on the 74-acre Fair Grounds heard the President’s speech telephoned from Palm Beach, Fla. “Let the fair begin,” Mr. Kennedy proclaimed. Then at noon PST, he pressed a gold telegraph key that seven Presidents had used to dedicate earlier events. Its impulse was carried on telephone lines to Andover, Me., where the Bell Telephone System has a station for communicating with earth satellites. The resultant sound signal, transmitted over microwave radio and cable to Seattle, lighted a bank of lights above the speaker’s platform and activated a carillon of more than 500 bells in the fair’s 600-foot-high Space Needle. Seven years in the planning, the exposition was the first World’s Fair to be opened in this country for 22 years. The last one was the New York World’s Fair of 1939-40.

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