El Paso family hold piece of Kennedy history

KDBC
Friday, November 22, 2013 - 12:31am

It's been 50 years since President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dealy Plaza in Dallas.
As the nation remembers, one El Paso family reflects on one of their father's prized possessions, an 8 mm film of the time he saw Kennedy face to face.

The Landa family holds a piece of history. It's a home movie that shows JFK on a Presidential campaign stop in El Paso.
It's only ever been seen by their friends.
They remember how proud their father was when he came home with film.
Even though Ralph Landa died 20 years ago, the 8 mm film brings them together in both Kennedy's and Landa's memory.

Pictures and videos are often a family's most prized possessions. As the Landas watch this 8 mm film from 1960, it becomes clear, they're no different.

"Easter, kid day for my uncle's school and sun bathing out on the lawn," said Rosemary Landa as she describes what's on the film.

There's one clip that only one member of the family was there for.

"He didn't take anybody," Rosemary said. "He just went out there by himself with his camera to see what he could take".

The film is shot in downtown El Paso on Mesa looking toward the Cortez Hotel in 1960.

"He went and took pictures and lo and behold when he came home he was the most excited person in the world," said Maria Landa.

U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy came through town on a Presidential campaign stop.
Ralph Landa made up his mind to get as close to him as he could.

"He just couldn't get over how close he got to not the President at the time but how close he got to Kennedy," Maria said.

He got 10 feet people away.

"When he saw it at home, I think everybody around the neighborhood heard him," Roberto Lujan said.

"All of our friends that would come to visit us he would show them the film and he was so proud of it," said Maria said.

It's a video that few have seen, other than of course anyone who happened upon the Landa house after that day in September 1960.

"If this film clip is completely unique, and never seen before, I think that it's just the greatest thing and it's something that my family can always be proud of having," Rosemary said.

President Kennedy died 50 years ago.
Ralph Landa died 20 years ago.
For this family, the memory of two men lives on through this video.

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