It was the very same presidential limousine Kennedy was riding in four days later in Dallas when he was killed.He alternated between standing and sitting during the motorcade. In the standing position, Kennedy steadied himself by gripping a handle built into the bubble-top roof support. The rest of the time, JFK was sitting in exactly the same place where he would be struck by the assassin's bullets, the right rear seat which was supported by a built-in electrical motor that would raise the seat for onlookers to have a better view of the President. Years later, I wondered just how different things would have been, for better or worse, had he been standing in the limo rather than sitting when he was traveling through Dealey Plaza at the end of that week in Dallas.

Riding in the limo with the President that day was U.S. Representative Sam Gibbons, who was in his first term serving Tampa in the nations capital and U.S. Senator George Smathers, of Florida, a long-time Kennedy pal who was instrumental in arranging the Tampa visit. Both were to his left in the back seat.Two secret service agents rode on foot supports on each side of the limo's trunk.Two secret service spotters and a driver were in the front seat and two of them gave me dirty looks as they passed directly in front of me. Following the Presidential limousine was a specially rigged 1956 Cadillac bearing more Secret Service agents including Clint Hill, who in Dallas leaped onto the rear of the Kennedy's Lincoln after the shots were fired.

Despite my brush with the motorcycle, I was able to take one more picture. I always thought about that. Somebody with a gun would have had to be the very best shot on the planet to fire two perfect shots at such a fast-moving limo.

No violence occurred that day in Tampa. The mood among the thousands of Tampans who lined parade routes and attended Kennedy's appearances was jubilant and excited. Presidents don't often visit Tampa, especially one so young and charismatic.

Photo: Tony Zappone
Neighborhood children waited for hours on a porch in anticipation of the President's arrival by motorcade at the nearby Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory. Most of those pictured would be nearing 50 now, but that day will ever be etched in their minds and in those of all who were in Tampa that day.