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Day Trips

The shine is still on Lawrence Ludtke's most recent (and final) commission – the JFK Tribute in Fort Worth

By Gerald E. McLeod, Fri., Dec. 7, 2012

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

The John F. Kennedy statue in Fort Worth stands near the spot where the president gave his last public address before heading to Dealey Plaza in Dallas. The larger-than-life bronze sculpture captures the charisma and intensity of the fallen leader.

Still shiny from the unveiling on Nov. 8, 2012, the 8-foot statue, surrounded by pink granite panels, was done by Houston native Lawrence Ludtke. Originally, Ludtke was going to be a professional baseball player, but instead became a sculptor renowned for his realistic depictions of military heroes, politicians, and ordinary people, works that include the Tribute to Texas Children on the state Capitol grounds. Some of his most famous pieces are on the campus of Texas A&M, where he studied until the Korean War. The JFK statue was Ludtke's last commission before passing away in 2007.

Seeing Kennedy once again standing outside the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth, framed by the windows made famous in the newsreels, brought back a flood of memories for me. Nov. 22 was forever seared into my mind in 1963. My father watched the events unfold on our black-and-white TV over the weekend before Thanksgiving. The reports repeatedly showed the film of the president giving his last public speech in front of those now familiar windows.

The JFK Tribute is in General Worth Square at the southeast corner of Main and Eighth streets in downtown Fort Worth.

1,114th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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