HEBER SPRINGS — Former President Bill Clinton headlined a ceremony Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of former President John F. Kennedy’s dedication of the Greers Ferry Dam.
While speaking to an audience of thousands, Clinton mentioned Kennedy’s ability to work with fellow politicians, both liberal and conservative, despite his presidency being surrounded with several debates on civil rights.
Clinton also spoke on the ability of both Kennedy and Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, who hosted Kennedy at the 1963 ceremony, to find common ground despite holding polarizing viewpoints on civil rights. It is an example Clinton said today’s politicians should look to for guidance.
“They were trying to figure out a way on how to make things work,” he said. “They wouldn’t let the government shutdown and let the country default on its debt.”
Gov. Mike Beebe, who also addressed the audience, told of how Kennedy “prophetically” talked of flying over the Greers Ferry Dam site 10 to 20 years after the dedication ceremony to see the growth and impact of the dam to the community.
Beebe said it was “unfortunate” that Kennedy never got the opportunity to see the dam’s impact, as he was assassinated the month following the dedication. However, Beebe said the growth in the area is evident and believed it would continue for years and generations to come.
“We salute that fallen president,” he said.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246.)