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Sharp memories

I was standing on the tarmac at Sky Harbor Airport right next to Sen. John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I was a kid news reporter and he had come to Phoenix for another stop on his prisidential campaign tour.

It was early JFK; the myths had not begun. Camelot was still just a Broadway musical.

But I vividly remember there was a star quality about him. He was remarkably tan for an East Coaster, with motion-picture leading man looks…and I was struck at how young he was.

He didn’t look like the presidents America was used to. Eisenhower was an old soldier. Harry Truman was a feisty old guy from Missouri. FDR was in a wheelchair.

But Jack Kennedy was a young father with a beautiful wife — hardly the type that had the years of wisdom and experience to deal with the gravity of the presidency. I remember his sense of humor as he tossed a barb at the then-ultra-conservative Arizona Republic.

And then he was dead. And it’s been said that’s when American optimism turned into cynicism.

But I still have my memory — my moment with JFK.

I’m Pat McMahon.