Tuesday, November 22, 2011

JFK at Antietam in April 1963

This April 7, 1963 photo, included in a wayside exhibit at Antietam, shows JFK
 at Burnside Bridge with acting Antietam superintendent Robert Lagemann.

Like this blog on Facebook
 | Follow me on Twitter

On April 7, 1963, seven months before he was assassinated in Dallas, President Kennedy flew by helicopter from nearby Camp David to visit the Antietam battlefield. JFK spent about 90 minutes there with a small party that included his brother, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and the senator's wife.

A remarkable, seven-minute silent film of Kennedy's visit --- posted on the JFK President Library site -- shows the president, in an open car, tour the battlefield without drawing a huge crowd. Visitors stood steps from Kennedy and his convertible as it heads down Cornfield Avenue. Before leaving, Kennedy and acting Antietam battlefield superintendent Robert Lagemann visited iconic Burnside Bridge, which wasn't closed to vehicular traffic until 1966.

The president, an avid student of history and a World War II veteran, had visited Gettysburg the previous Sunday with his wife, Jackie. 

Frame grab from 2:58 mark in video: Visitors shoot film of JFK's Antietam visit
as his car moves down Cornfield Avenue.

Frame grab from 3:03 mark of video: JFK examining wayside exhibit at Miller Cornfield.

Frame grab from 3:26 mark: While battlefield visitors stand steps away,
acting Antietam superintendent Robert L. Lagemann explains action at Miller Cornfield.

-- Have something to add, correct? E-mail me at jbankstx@comcast.net


  1. Wow. What a great video time capsule. It certainly shows how little of the park was open in 1963. The panning shots of the Dunkard Church and adjacent buildings are fascinating. Thanks! John.

  2. Wow. Thanks John for posting this remarkable video time capsule. The panning shots of the Dunkard Church and environs are fascinating. It really shows how much the Park has grown over the past 50 years.