Photo: Tony Zappone

Kennedy began his speech to the crowd of roughly 10,000 people by talking about the significance of that first commercial air flight by pilot Tony Jannus in his plane, the Benoit, which carried a passenger or two and the mail between Tampa and St. Petersburg beginning in 1913. It wasnt a generic speech either, it contained specifics and you knew somebody at the White House had given it special attention.

Once he finished, there were some remarks wrapping things up because the President had to move on. He pulled his typical security breach by springing a surprise visit to the crowd. People nearest the President, mostly youngsters, went absolutely wild. Unprepared photographers scattered for the best angles. I pushed and shoved in the survival mode I had developed that day and got within five feet of the President to capture several priceless images of his handshaking session.

I had to move quickly because he was due at the International Inn soon after. The International Inn was a hotel, upscale for its time, on the southwest corner of Westshore Boulevard and Grand Central Avenue (now Kennedy Blvd.) which was razed more than 15 years ago to make way for what is currently the ultra modern Wyndham Westshore Hotel.

I found Gary, jumped in his car, and told him to speed to the International Inn. He dropped me off at the corner so I could position myself for the President's arrival while he waited for me a few blocks away to avoid traffic congestion.

The room was packed with labor union officials and local government leaders. I took a couple of quick shots and got word that he wouldnt be there very long. Once Marcelo Maseda, Alcalde (ceremonial Mayor) of Ybor City, gave JFK a box of cigars and other souvenirs of Tampas Latin Quarter, I zoomed out to the car and headed for downtown Tampa.