New Britain City Journal

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Ancient Order of Hibernians Honor JFK

Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians honored former President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination Friday at the JFK Memorial at Walnut Hill Park.

“This is an annual event,” said Tom Higgins an AOH member. “Many of us here are old enough to remember that day. We come here to honor him because of our common ground. Kennedy was Irish, a practicing Catholic and proud to be an American.”

Higgins compared Kennedy to former AOH member Bobby Roche who recently passed away.

“Both men gave heavily of themselves in their service to others,” said Higgins. “John Kennedy inspired people like Bob and ourselves to try to better America and Americans of all walks of life.”

Mayor Erin Stewart, said the City comes together to remember that terrible day 50 years ago with the Hibernians.

“I personally have been influenced by Pres. Kennedy’s message of empowerment,” said Stewart. “Hearing the words ‘it’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’ means everyone can reflect on that message no matter what age you are. We can all create something positive from it.”

Stewart said we all have the power to help bring change from mentoring a child to helping elders.

“No matter how we choose to show respect, it is that act of remembering that is most meaningful,” said Stewart. “The AOH has held this ceremony annually for three decades and is a tremendous asset to our community.”

The group of about 25, held a minute of silence in honor of JFK.

Members of the AOH told the New Britain City Journal that everyone remembers where they were when the heard about the horrible tragedy.

“I was working at Travelers Insurance in Hartford and a Texas agent called and said the president has been shot,” said Vivian Galliher. “I said you do a lot of jokes, but this is not funny. He said ‘no it’s awful.’ You could hear people in that Texas office crying in the background. I loved Kennedy. This event means a lot to me.”