(credit: CBS 11 NEWS)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Thursday morning leaders from across the city of Fort Worth gathered for the formal dedication of the new JFK Tribute. The permanent exhibit highlights the events of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy just hours before the fateful events in Dallas.

“And in the aftermath of the tragedy in Dallas, Fort Worth’s story was almost forgotten,” Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price told ceremony attendees.

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The 1.53-acre exhibit site consists of a park carefully designed around an 8-foot bronze sculpture, located at 8th and Main Street. It’s the location where President Kennedy made his final public address — outside the old Texas Hotel.

“In November of ’63 hundreds and thousands of people gathered on this very spot to see and hear the President and to see Jackie Kennedy. Little did they know that the country that we love was about to change,” Mayor Price told the crowd.

President and Mrs. Kennedy spent the night of November 21, 1963 at the Hotel Texas and it was where President Kennedy gave a Friday morning speech during a Chamber of Commerce breakfast and later stood in the rain to give an impromptu speech to hundreds gathered outside his hotel.

“On that cold, wet morning, in November of ’63 President Kennedy found hundreds of Fort Worth citizens with open arms and arm and caring hearts to welcome him,” Price said.

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(credit: CBS 11 NEWS)

It took more than 10 years of work to make the JFK Tribute a reality. The 2,000 square foot granite plaza is highlighted by 6’x8’ photographic panels and backdrops of quotes from several President Kennedy speeches.

Fort Worth native Bob Ray Sanders says it’s a tribute long overdue. “Hope was alive and well when he left here. Hope will remain here because this [JFK Tribute] will remain here and as long as this is here it will be a symbol of hope.”

Among those attending the dedication was Taylor Gandy, who along with his wife Shirlee spearheaded the four-year drive to make the JFK Tribute a reality. “This was privately funded, by and large the two million dollars that was raised… was done by the citizens of this community.”

The open-air exhibit is free and open to the public.

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