On This Day in History: President John F. Kennedy Dedicates the Whiskeytown Dam

On November 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated as his motorcade drove through Dallas, Texas. Less than two months prior, JFK partook in a 5-day Conservation Tour from Pennsylvania to California, which included 11 states and 15 speeches aimed at the environment and promotion of conservation.

His conservation tour ended in Northern California, where he visited Lassen Volcanic National Park before heading to Redding for the historic dedication of the Whiskeytown Dam.

On September 28th, 1963, following his trip to Lassen, JFK flew to the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area for the dedication of the dam, in which he delivered a speech to nearly 10,000 onlookers.

“This dam stands for the realization of an old and cherished dream,” said Kennedy. “As a general rule, every time we bet on the future of the country, we win.”

Here is an excerpt from the speech:

JFK went on to cement the name Whiskeytown onto the list of great American names.

“I was reminded when I read my itinerary of a poem by Stephen Vincent Benèt called American Names,” said Kennedy. “And he started it off ‘I’ve fallen in love with American names, the sharp names that never get fat.’ Then he goes on to talk about famous American names, not Whiskeytown, but I think you could add it to the roster.”

Remembering JFK’s trip to Northern California is a great walk through memory lane, through a much simpler time in American history. Unfortunately, 7 weeks and 6 days later, Kennedy would meet his fate in assassination, a sad day for the United States of America.

See the full video of President JFK’s dedications of the Whiskeytown Dam:

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