Local woman remembers meeting JFK


It was September 29, 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy visited the Capital Region full of promise and full of hope.

At the time, Cynthia Galivan was a 19-year old student in the crowds.

“He was young and idealistic and we were young and idealistic. He was glamorous.”

She had a brief encounter with JFK at the historic DeWitt Clinton Hotel.

“He came down the stairs and we were all standing on the stairs, he shook everybody’s hand as he went down.”

It is the atmosphere of this day, Cynthia remembers vividly.

Hundreds of people poured into the streets of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy.

Even young school children came out of class to get a glimpse at the young presidential candidate.

“For us it was electric. It was very exciting.”

Three years later on November 22, another day Cynthia will never forget when she heard the crushing news of JFK’s assassination.

“I got my first speeding ticket that day. I was driving from Long Island to Albany for a wedding, and we were all glued to the radio, including me the driver.”

Those memories resurface on Thursday with the anticipated release of previously classified files related to the investigation into President Kennedy’s murder.

For Cynthia, it’s a chance to answer lingering questions as this chapter of history comes alive.

“Truth, I guess, means you only have to tell one story. I’m surprised it’s taken 53 years for them to come out with the truth. We’ll see, I have no idea.”

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