Wednesday, June 5, 1963
June 5, 1963
JFK spent the day in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas bolstering his presence amongst the military and defense industries. After leaving Washington, D. C. at around 3 a.m. he flew on Air Force One to Colorado. There he gave the commencement address at the United States Air Force Academy and then toured the North American Defense Center.
He then flew to the White Sands Missile Test site, arriving in Marine One. After walking across the tarmac to the strains of Hail to the Chief, he mounted two steps onto a raised white platform and then spoke for three minutes of his admiration and gratefulness for the work being done at White Sands.
After leaving the podium, he shook hands with some in crowd briefly before entering a convertible limousine to be driven to the first firing site, where he witnessed displays of the Honest John, Little John, Hawk, and Sergeant missiles.
He was then driven to a second launch site where he witnessed the firing of the Nike Hercules, Pershing ballistic, Talos guided, and Nike Zeus missiles.
His tour of the site with Kennedy greeting the missile crews and by his being awarded a replica of one of the missiles.
Kennedy then flew to El Paso, Texas where he gave a speech at the airport. Sounding vigorous and strong, he addressed the crowd for four minutes, starting out with a joke about his previous visits to the city in 1956 and 1960. He quipped that he was sure that his visit to El Paso during the 1960 campaign propelled him to his “landslide” victory of .1%
He then traveled by motorcade to the Cortez Hotel, where grinning broadly and his hair tousled as usual he walked over to the public and shook hands.
He then walked through the cordoned off lobby, greeted hotel manager Bill Wiggins, and inspected a cake baked for him by the hotel chef George L. Young. Trailing behind the President were Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson. Gov. John Connally, Sen. Ralph Yarborough, Ambassador Raymond Telles, and Mayor Judson Williams.
After another round of handshakes to a crowd assembled in the lobyy, JFK made his way to his sixth floor suite.