The day before: President John F. Kennedy on the last full day of his life

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Saturday, November 21, 2020
John F. Kennedy visited Houston the day before he was assassinated
On Nov. 21, 1963, the president and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrived in Houston on the second of their multi-city tour of Texas. It was the last full day he was alive.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While Dallas will forever be known for one of the darkest days in American history 57 years ago, President John F. Kennedy's last full day of his life was spent here.

On Nov. 21, 1963, the president and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrived from San Antonio at what's now known as Hobby Airport to a reception committee of dignitaries, a crowd of fans and a bouquet of yellow roses.

The Houston stop was part of a plan to raise campaign funds for the upcoming 1964 election and to try and heal internal divides among the Texas Democratic party leadership at the time, according to a 1964 story from United Press International.

The president visited a League of United Latin American Citizens dinner at the Rice Hotel, where Mrs. Kennedy addressed the audience in Spanish. Later, he attended a dinner at the Sam Houston Coliseum honoring U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas and his work to bring the Manned Space Center to Houston.

"The United States next month will have a leadership in space which it wouldn't have without Albert Thomas," Kennedy said at the time. "And so will this city."

It wasn't the first trip to Houston for Kennedy, but sadly, it would be his last. The president visited Houston in previous years to tour the new Manned Spaceflight Center. Kennedy's famous Moon speech was given at Rice Stadium on Sept. 12, 1962.

RELATED: How Houston became 'Space City,' and why it's still important

The presidential entourage left Houston and arrived in Fort Worth on the night of Nov. 21, where he spent the last night of his life.