The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedyâ??s assassination has brought back memories of his accomplishments, and his ties to Syracuse.
Dick Woodworth collects presidential campaign mementos. His collection starts with the1840 race and goes up to last year, but he has an enlarged collection and fond personal memories of the 1960 race, when John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson beat Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge.
Woodworth has about 75 pieces from that campaign, including two original posters (autographed by Ted Kennedy), buttons, a Kennedy necktie and PT 109 tie clip (from his World War II years) and more.
Woodworth was at the old Valley High School (now Faith Heritage) when JFK campaigned here, and remembers the â??four dark daysâ?? after his death. â??Everyone cried,â?? he told us. â??Everything was closed except the churches.â??
While weâ??re observing the death anniversary, Woodward prefers to remember Kennedyâ??s life and accomplishments.
While he was still a US Senator, JFK delivered the 1957 commencement address at SU, and got and honorary degree.
The Kennedy-Nixon debates focused on raising the minimum wage, healthcare for seniors, social security and more aid to education, topics that weâ??re still debating today.
The Kennedy presidency ushered in a new era in the 1960s, says Woodworth, in part because they were so young: Jackie was First Lady at 30 years old, and there were babies and young children in the White House for the first time in decades. JFK did not live long enough to see his desegregation plan in place, but he did get us into space, opening the way for cable TV, cell phones, ATM cards and other conveniences that we take for granted now.