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Past Exhibition

San Antonio’s Space Endeavors—President Kennedy’s Last Public Speech


60 years ago, President John F. Kennedy delivered his final public address in San Antonio, TX.

As part of a two-day, five-city tour of Texas, President Kennedy visited San Antonio to dedicate the Aerospace Medical Health Center at Brooks Air Force Base and speak to the key role of San Antonio in medical space research. The speech was delivered on November 21, 1963; the following day he was assassinated in Dallas.

You can view the lectern from which he spoke, alongside documents and photography from the event, in San Antonio’s Space Endeavors—President Kennedy’s Last Public Speech at the Witte Museum.

President John F. Kennedy speaks at the dedication of the Aerospace Medical Health Center from Books Air Force Base in San Antonio on November 21, 1963. Photo Tom Atkins / Public Domain.

The exhibit includes the Kennedy lectern, which was built in 1963 by Brooks AFB carpenter Edmond Van Brandt Sr. The lectern was given to the Witte Museum in 2011 following a letter-writing campaign led by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff who advocated for it to stay in San Antonio when Brooks AFB closed. 

Listen to a recording of the final speech given by President Kennedy, view chairs built for the event by employees at the School of Aerospace Medicine and read documents related to Kennedy’s visit inside the exhibit.

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