Baltimore Orioles: President Kennedy comes to Birdland

The Baltimore Orioles organization including players and coaches indubitably joined the rest of the nation in mourning the death of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The President was assassinated on this date in 1963, 56 years ago. But how many of you were aware that one of Kennedy’s final appearances in public was in the Baltimore area?

On November 14th of that year, just prior to leaving for Texas, President Kennedy came to Elkton, MD to dedicate I-95. When what’s now known as the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge was completed between Havre de Grace and Perryville, the highway was ready to open and be dedicated. At the dedication ceremony, the President remarked about route 95:

It symbolizes, I believe, first of all the partnership between the federal government and the states, which is essential to the progress of all our people and secondly, it symbolizes the effort we have made to achieve the most modern interstate highway system in the world… and third it symbolizes the effort, which we are giving and must be giving to organizing an effective communication system here in the United States of America.

Courtesy of Erika Quesenbery Sturgill, Cecil Whig

When President Kennedy was assassinated 95 was renamed John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway. However it’s noteworthy for this region that one of his last public appearances before the Texas trip was in Maryland. My great-grandmother was apparently in the front row of spectators at the event and shook President Kennedy’s hand.

Incidentally, I have many fond memories of sitting under the aforementioned Tydings Bridge and eating lunch while fishing with my father and grandfather. And almost always in the background would be Chuck Thompson’s voice calling the O’s on the radio!

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