Dakota Datebook

JFK/Roosevelt

Saturday, November 22, 2003

On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Less than two months earlier, he had been at UND to receive an honorary Doctorate of Law degree.

In 1958, Kennedy, then a Senator, visited Dickinson to honor the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s birth. In his speech, Kennedy recalled that TR, then 28, had arrived in Dickinson exactly 72 years before; he went on to say TR’s row boat was stolen, and he needed another boat to go after the thieves, so he built one.

Two hundred miles and two weeks later, Roosevelt was back with the two boat-rustlers in tow.

Kennedy said, “…he brought them in to Dickinson for trial… he did not reclaim his boat and set them free – neither did he execute them on the spot… circumstances would have permitted him to do (either) without fear of punishment…‘But I didn’t come out here to kill anybody,’ Roosevelt had replied. ‘All I wanted to do was to defend myself and my property. There wasn’t anyone around to defend them for me, so I had to do it myself.’”

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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