Memorial for JFK, May 1964

Rose Kennedy during memorial for John F. Kennedy at Kenan Stadium, 17 May 1964.

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, marks the forty-fourth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Six months after his death, on Sunday, 17 May 1964, the state of North Carolina held a memorial service for Kennedy in Kenan Stadium on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

In an effort to raise money for the Kennedy presidential library, “a living memorial,” each state pledged to raise funds. Governor Terry Sanford set the state’s goal at $230,000 (the eqivalent of $1.5 million in 2007 dollars), and Hugh Morton chaired North Carolina’s fund raising effort. An estimated 12,000 people attended the memorial, paying $10.00 (about $65.00 today) to attend and contribute toward the goal. As the date drew near, the governor announced that students were to be admitted free of charge because it was determined that sufficient contributions from the community had been raised. The News and Observer noted in its report the following day that no other state in the country had yet to raise money by public subscription, and that eighty percent of the state’s goal had been met.

The memorial featured a tribute by Billy Graham and addresses by Governor Terry Sanford; Luther H. Hodges, former North Carolina governor and then current United States Secretary of Commerce; and Senator Edward Kennedy, brother of John F. Kennedy. In the photograph above, Rose Kennedy, mother of the former president, is seated on the platform with Hugh Morton (left) and Terry Sanford (right). There are several slides of the event in the collection, but the photographer is unknown.

5 thoughts on “Memorial for JFK, May 1964

  1. In the photo of Rose Kennedy, the person on the left behind Hugh is Bill Aycock (I think).

    I think the second person from the right is Gordon Gray.

    Are you sure that is Terry Sanford in the sun glasses?

  2. In 1966 while I was a counselor one summer at Camp Yonahnoka, Weldon Schenck and I were tooling around Linville and drove up to the Hodges’ home on the lake. It had rained and we got our car stuck in the mud just in front of their house. A very irritated Luther Hodges helped us get the car out, but not before we’d completely totalled his freshly-seeded yard. It was truly weird seeing him. He was shirtless and looked like he was wearing face makeup.

  3. There is Morton image from the Kenan Stadium JFK tribute on page 22 of Hugh’s 1988 book, “Making A Difference in North Carolina.”

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