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" Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. "
- John F. Kennedy
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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Everytime I see John F. Kennedy's name, I remember, like many people, where I was, when that day he was assasinated, November 22, 1963, ( 12:30 P.M. CST ). I was in the shop, staring at a radio on a shelf affixed to a structural column listening to Walter Cronkite telling all of us that our president had been shot.
I was working for Wm. P. Gelberg, Sign and Display Studios in Washington, D.C..
Our company had just moved the prior year into a new large facility on Chillum Place N.W.,where the company is still today thriving and growing and I had, at that time, worked my way up to General Manager. I was 24 years old. Our company had a staff of 27 artists, designers, letterers, carpenters, electricians, installers, etc. . . . we were one of the top three companies of its kind in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area at the time.
Our company had, just a few years back, at the Inaugural Parade for Jack Kennedy in the nation's catital had designed and built 11 floats in the famous parade. I personally remember designing the Michigan float and the Delaware float, amongst a couple others. The Jamaican Float won First Prize out of 90 floats in that parade and was designed by Charles Bruml, a very talented artist who worked for us. It was wooden ship, which we built right on the float bed, rolled up sails and all. We even furnished the girl who rode on the float . . . usually we would hire an attractive model from an agency to ride the floats . . . but in the Jamaican Float, it so happened we had a very attractive African-American girl woking in the front office named Blanche . . . I suggested to the boss, Hell, Blanche looks like a Jamican, and she was a beauty . . . AND she was right there in front of us all the time . . . . it didn't take more than a moment for eveyone to agree !
I also remember being at 4th Street N.W. and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. sadly standing just a stone's throw from the Capitol Building staring at just about 30 feet away the casket drawn by a black riderless horse and backward boots on the stirrups and the steady cadence of the drummers sadly walked down the famous avenue on it's way to Arlington cemetary. These moments are seared into my mind.
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" Keep pace with the drummer you hear, however measured or far away. "
- HENRY DAVID THOREAU, 1817-1862
AMERICAN ESSAYIST and POET