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Tie President Of The United States Was Dead .
mpossible To Believe
Because the man was so alive, it is difficult to be
lieve he is now dead. It is not only difficult, it is im
possible. The pictures on this page show just how impossible
it was yesterday in the relatively small University
town of Chapel Hill, N. C. which was affected by the
man two years, one month and one week ago today.
This is how it was yesterday on a dull, grey over
cast day. But on Thursday, Oct. 12, 1961, the sun was
out, it was hot, it was different.
The headlines the day after proclaimed the event :
"Kennedy Stresses Vitality In UNC Education ; Pledges
'We Shall Be Neither Red Nor Dead'," "JFK Accepts
Degree With Somber Speech." The cutlines under a
series of pictures on the front page outlined "We Are
All Destined ... To Live Most Of Our Lives ... In Un
certainty And Challenge . . . And In Peril."
The man had come to the University of North Caro
lina to accept an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on
the University's 168th birthday. It was "University
Day" and he had donned the black robe of a scholar to
An estimated 32,000 people jammed Kenan Stadium
in anticipation of a major foreign policy address. That,
instead, they got a 14-minute speech reconfirming his
dedication to both firmness and flexibility in the fight
for Western freedom, did not dampen their enthusiasm.
They screamed when he referred to the North Caro
lina motto, Esse Quam Videri, and said America needs
men "who look at things as they are rather than- as
"Our task is to do our best," he said, "and not to be
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And Thoughtfulness . . .
swayed from our course by the faint-hearted or the un
knowing, or the threats of those who would make them
selves our foes."
They shouted when he said "I am honored to be ad
mitted to the fellowship of this honored and ancient
University," and when he pointed to such leaders from
North Carolina as Secretary of Commerce Luther
Hodges, Frank Graham, former UNC president and
U.S. Senator and now a United Nations mediator ;; and
Gordon Gray, also a former president who has held
high posts in recent administrations.
And they loved it as he cited these men as having
carried out a tradition that the "graduate of this Uni
versity is a man of his nation as well as a man of his
They interrupted his speech with a 30-second stand
ing ovation at one point, and howled when he called
Harvard, his alma mater, "a small land-grant college
They stood for the nearly ten minutes it took him to
get away from the speaker's platform and into his car.
The large number of Secret Service men who came
to Chapel Hill to protect the President were joined by
more than 150 State Highway Patrolmen, FBI agents
and hundreds of city and country law enforcement
officials from all over the state. But they didn't mind
Select groups from the University's ROTC program,
numbering over 100 cadets were stationed in strategic
. locations as another added precaution. But that didn't
stop them either.
Especially the boldest and youngest of them, who,
; after he had left, came down out of Kenan's concrete
seats and took turns sitting in his chair while others
stripped clean the bouquet of flowers set in front of
Also on a quest for souvenirs were two little girls
who stood nervously beside a busy wire-service report
er on that October day, and watched him peck madly
away at his typewriter. When they were sure he wasn't
looking, each made off with one of the sharpened pen
cils that had been provided for the working press.
A caravan of cars and buses bearing newsmen, pro
fessors and other officials had preceded his limousine's
arrival and dramatic entrance through the gates of the
picturesque arena. And the 32,000 had all stood and
gazed on the man, proud of the moment and proud they
could be part of it. ,
It took less than an hour and a half, and after it was
over, the Old South Building bell and the Morehead
Tower bell rang out against each other. Against each
other, but together in appreciation of the man and the
Yesterday, the bells rang again. But, yesterday, it
It was supposed to be fun. There were supposed to
be parades, bonfires, rallies, floats, fireworks arid music
in anticipation of the UNC-Duke football game. But
they were canceled for him.
Instead, there was shock, sorrow, dismay. And there
was fright too.
The bells rang again, but it was a death knell.
It wasn't difficult to believe. It was impossible.
; In a DTH story on the event of October 12, present
Editor Gary Blanchard wrote: "They loved him. Thirty-two
thousand of them loved him. Children, stu
dents, housewives, working men with the morning off
t loved him."
Yesterday, they loved him more. But yesterday it
- was different. - " '
Yesterday, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was gone.
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Dismay . . .
Leaving Anguish . . .
A Feeling Of Shock
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Tie Flag Was Sloicly Lowered.
U. S. Air Force Phofo
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