58 Years Ago, President Kennedy Visited Boy Scouts in Laramie
Have you ever had one of those moments where you can't believe you have stumbled across something awesome? That's what happened to me when I found some rare video of a visit President John F. Kennedy made to Laramie back in 1963, six weeks before his assassination.
This was shared over 11 years ago on YouTube, but very few appear to have seen it. It's a short video showing President Kennedy landing in one of his presidential planes and meeting with the awaiting crowd.
The date was September 25, 1963, six weeks before he would be assassinated in Dallas. I was struck by the poignant moment when the President spent quite a bit of time with Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts at the airport fence.
One of the Cub Scouts by the fence left this comment on the YouTube share providing some jaw-dropping facts about how dangerous that landing was:
I am the cub scout, second from the left. The plane was flown by the same pilots who went to Dallas, six weeks later. This landing was reputedly the most dangerous- ever- for Air Force One because Laramie was "high and hot" and the main runway was only designed for DC-3's- not four engine aircraft. To prepare for the landing, fencing and telephone lines north of the runway were taken down and the Boomerang newspaper marveled the next day how the skid marks were 3ft from the end of the runway.
I have to wonder how the Secret Service greenlit that trip considering that kind of landing difficulty. History would obviously take a drastic change six weeks later on November 22. But, it's one brief moment when presidential history and Wyoming would intersect. Little did the young cowboys that witnessed the event realize they would be among the last to see President Kennedy before the fateful day in Texas.