Hitchhiking to an inauguration

As part of our coverage of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Record reporter Joe Goldeen and I went to the University of the Pacific to interview professor emeritus Robert Benedetti.

His memories of that awful day and its effect on the nation and his generation can be seen here.

Benedetti also attended Kennedy’s inauguration Jan. 20, 1961. He first heard about Kennedy while on a trip to Hawaii the summer after graduating from high school in 1960. Having decided to attend Amherst College in Massachusetts — Kennedy’s home state — Benedetti figured he’d better study up on the Massachusetts senator then running for president against Richard Nixon.

Kennedy went on to win the presidency in November 1960. Benedetti decided he wanted to see the inauguration. Here’s his story:

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston has video of Kennedy taking the oath — he was sworn in by Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former governor of California — and delivering his inaugural address. You can watch the whole thing here.

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