Love Field: And So We Begin
Mr. President, You can't say Dallas doesn't love you. -- Nellie Connally.
Friday morning, Nov. 22, 1963. Air Force One touched down about 11:35 a.m. after a quick flight from Fort Worth where the JFK entourage had spent the night at the Texas Hotel and where 10 members of the Secret Service security detail stayed out late (at least one of them until 5 a.m.) drinking at The Cellar nightclub, a downtown joint that investigators later described as a beatnik hangout. Overcast conditions had turned sunny, and the president and Jacqueline were welcomed by a surprisingly enthusiastic crowd behind a chainlink fence on the tarmac.
Such an enthusiastic welcome for a liberal New Englander was not a given in Dallas circa 1963. After all, this was the city with a supercharged racial, cultural and political climate, where UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been jeered, jostled and spat upon during a visit the previous month. It was a city where a vocal right wing element in the John Birch Society enjoyed considerable support and where civic boosters like Mayor Earle Cabell still gave voice to the need for the city to shed its image as the “Southwest Hate Capital of Dixie.”