By the time I caught up with the President, he was seated and ready to be taken to the MacDill Officers' Club for lunch with the base commanders and a briefing on security matters associated with the base's mission.

Photo: Tony Zappone

Seated next to the President was General Paul D. Adams, Commanding Officer of MacDill Air Force Base. On the other side of the car with his news camera aimed at me and the President was WTVTs Tim Moran.

Photo: Tony Zappone
President Kennedy with General Paul D. Adams of MacDill AFB.
WTVT's Tim Moran can be seen at left behind JFK's shoulder.

For a few seconds, I just stood there frozen and stared. I thought, I am here just a few feet from the president of the United States. My hero is right here in front of me. Is this real or am I dreaming?

I didnt know whether to run up and shake his hand or just take his picture. I did both. As I approached him, he seemed a bit stunned. This sort of thing was not something he was used to, at least not while he was sitting trapped in his open limo. Secret Service agents were not paying much attention to me at that time. After all, their boss was inside a military base and they must have felt more comfortable with security arrangements.