Roger Williams was a 14-year-old boy in Latin class, when he learned John Kennedy was assassinated.
"The principal came in and whispered something to Mr. Hennings' ear.. and Mr. Henning, he didn't say anything, he put his head on his desk and started crying," Williams says.
It was a scene students experienced all across the country, but for Williams, it was different. He had just met the President that morning. "I couldn't fathom it frankly because I had just seen him an hour and half ago," he says.
Williams' father was a car dealer in Fort Worth, Texas - where the president started out, the day he was killed. Williams' dad told the local congressman he would supply cars for the President's motorcade - but only on one condition. "He said only thing I ask for congressman, is that my wife and son meet the president."
And, that's exactly what happened - at the Texas hotel, after what turned out to be the final speech of JFK's life.
No one took Williams' picture with Kennedy, but it's emblazoned in his memory. "All of the sudden, in came Mrs. Kennedy. She came around the corner in the pink dress and shook my mother's hand and shook my hand and stood right next to me," he says.
"Then, in came the president and the president had a cigar in his mouth and he took a puff out of his mouth and put it in a sand urn and I remember what kind of shoes he had on. He had black cap toe shoes, which men still wear today and he shook my mother's hand and came to me and shook my hand and did not let it go and looked back at my mother and said, 'It's a pleasure ot meet your son," Williams says.
Little did Williams know then, he would become one of the last people Kennedy would ever meet. "I literally was the last person to shake his hand as he left the hotel that day," he says.
Now, Williams is a member of Congress and credits his encounter with JFK that fateful day 50 years ago, with his interest in public service. "It's hard to describe. It sometimes gets emotional...it eventually empowered me to do something for my country...the idea that I'm here today in U.S. Congress I look back at that, that was a moment,a lot of it started on that day," he says.
But unlike the Liberal JFK, Williams is a Conservative - a G.O.P. House freshman elected with help from the TEA Party. Still, he argues his ideals are a lot like Kennedy's, especially his belief in America as the greatest country on Earth. "John Kennedy - he touched my heart and soul - and I'm of the generation I where I really believe that on that moment - on that moment - the world changed. It's one of the moments in your lifetime you just cannot forget," he says.
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