John F. Kennedy Spoke In Cheyenne and Laramie 56 Years Ago
September 25, 1963, President John F. Kennedy came to the Cowboy State, stopping in Cheyenne, Laramie, and Jackson, and delivering two speeches that remain remarkably relevant 56 years later.
Kennedy's tour began at the Cheyenne Regional Airport, where he greeted supporters and gave a brief speech touting economic expansion and job growth in Wyoming and missile production at F.E. Warren Air Force.
"In this state, and in the West, we must continue our efforts on resource development, recreation, and oil exploration and production. All of this contributes to our national strength and Wyoming also contributes directly to the strength of our defense forces," Kennedy said.
From there, Air Force One landed at Brees Field in Laramie, where the President rode in a convertible eerily similar to the car he was assassinated in less than two months later. Onlookers lined the streets to see the motorcade as it drove to and from the Unversity of Wyoming Fieldhouse, where Kennedy addressed a crowd of nearly 13,000. 45 minutes after arriving in Laramie, Kennedy was back in the air and headed to Jackson, where he spent the night at the Jackson Lake Lodge.
Kennedy's remarks at UW focused on the importance of education and technology to protect the environment.
"Our primary task now is to increase our understanding of our environment to a point where we can enjoy it without defacing it, use its bounty without detracting permanently from its value, and, above all, maintain a living balance between man's actions and nature's reactions," the President told the audience.
Although the trip was Kennedy's only visit to Wyoming as President, then-Senator Kennedy attended a fundraiser in Cheyenne in 1958 and returned in 1960 while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination.