This image and others like it hang throughout the hotel. They cast a somber, serious spell as you walk through the lobby and hallways here.

I’m in Fort Worth for work and did not know until I arrived of the historical significance of this particular Hilton. A small stack of takaways at the registration desk reads:

A moment in time… a place in history.

Opened in 1921, this Hilton Fort Worth is the former
Hotel Texas, where President John F. Kennedy and the
First Lady stayed on November 21, 1963.

The next morning, after a speech in the Hotel’s Crystal
Ballroom, the President’s motorcade departed, taking
with it the final moments of a more innocent America.

I have two reactions when I see this photo.

First, this was just another morning for this man… it seemed. He was doing his job. Giving speeches, shaking hands, mustering up support for a possible second term. His wife was smiling as she departed the hotel, posing for the cameras as she learned was important for the position. Just another morning. Of course, it was anything but…

Second, this was an imperfect man. A politician whose policies and views could be, and soundly were, debated. But despite these facts, he inspired a generation to dare, to dream, to serve and to strive. The visual evidence of his last morning in this world remind me that as imperfect as a president may be, as hotly contested as their politics are… there is an unique opportunity there to challenge, to elevate, to unify… to inspire.

President John F. Kennedy once said: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

And I feel inspired.

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