John F. Kennedy monument in New Britain's Walnut Hill Park
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -
Connecticut marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with ceremonies across the state Friday.
A wreath laying was held at 11 a.m. at the JFK monument in New Britain's Walnut Hill Park to mark the day. Members of the New Britain Irish Club along with Mayor Erin Steward also commented during the ceremony.
Kennedy made his mark on Connecticut. A native of neighboring Massachusetts, Kennedy came of age in Connecticut, attending the Canterbury School in New Milford, and then the Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford.
"The students knew what rooms he lived in here. They knew a great deal about him," said Judy Donald, the archivist for Choate. "I'm not sure if that intensified their grief but it was certainly strong."
Kennedy was a Massachusetts senator while campaigning for the presidency in 1960. He made campaign stops across Connecticut.
Thousands turned out to greet his motorcade in Hartford and the reception was so warm in Waterbury, Kennedy told another senator, "if you ever want to feel good, just go to Connecticut."
As president, Kennedy made two appearances in Connecticut with both of them coming in 1962.
Kennedy, who attended Harvard University, delivered a commencement speech at Yale University during his first visit as president.
Kennedy returned to Connecticut to campaign for former Gov. Abraham A. Ribicoff, who was running for state Senate, and stopped in Bridgeport, Waterbury and New Haven, where he gave a speech on the city green.
For many Americans, the assassination was like a death in the family. Millions wrote condolence letters to former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Carol Cohan from West Hartford wrote a very poignant letter to Jacqueline Kennedy and received a response. Cohan said Jacqueline Kennedy lives on in her letter.
"Please excuse the length of this letter, but I have a hard time expressing my feelings, especially when it comes to my father. I guess all I am trying to say is how awful I feel and how my father and our late president had a few things in common. They were loved," Cohan said. "They gave their most precious belonging for their countries, their lives."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has also ordered all flags across Connecticut to fly at half-staff Friday in recognition of the national Day of Remembrance for Kennedy.
Malloy asked Connecticut residents to take a moment Friday to reflect on how we can carry on Kennedy's legacy.
Eyewitness News will have much more on Kennedy's anniversary this weekend on Face the State with Dennis House Sunday morning.
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