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Butte residents remember John F. Kennedy

By KTVM Staff
Published On: Nov 22 2013 06:15:18 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 22 2013 07:10:16 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

Montana stood with the nation in honoring John F. Kennedy on Friday. Governor Steve Bullock ordered flags flown at half-staff.

In the Mining City, many people said they felt they shared a special bond with Kennedy who visited Butte.

The Finlen Hotel is one of the places Kennedy stayed when visiting Butte in 1959.

Butte resident Bob McCarthy said he met Kennedy and said they shared a connection.

"His background seemed to be so much like mine because of his ancestry and his religion," McCarthy said, "and I think every Catholic kid in Butte thought the same thing."

McCarthy had a chance to meet Kennedy during a campaign stop in Washington State.

"He was so personable," he remembered.

That meeting stuck with him, and turned the assassination into a personal event, even 50 year later.

He remembers it like it was yesterday. "The news blurted out that the President had been shot in Dallas and then it wasn't too much later, they announced the President was dead," McCarthy said.

Former State Senator J.D. Lynch is also a Kennedy admirer. Lynch said Kennedy motivated him to enter politics.

"I wanted to emulate him, but he got a lot of young people involved with politics," Lynch said.

Lynch said he also felt the Butte community had a special bond with the Kennedys.

"Butte adored JFK, and all the Kennedys," he said. "Bobby spoke here as well. Teddy was here. Butte had a love affair with the Kennedys."

50 years later, both McCarthy and Lynch said they have a hard time thinking about the assassination.

"I don't watch all the TV on Kennedy because it gets me very depressed," Lynch said.

"I have books that I have bought and been given about the Kennedy assassination, but I can't read them," McCarthy said.

The Butte Public Archives have a journal where you can read and write where you were when you heard the news of Kennedy's assassination. You can also see a picture of Kennedy's visit to Butte in the display of the Finlen Hotel lobby.