HAVERHILL — Richard Padova was too young to experience the pain and sorrow that millions of Americans felt 50 years ago tomorrow — the day an assassin’s bullets claimed the life of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.
“I was only 3 when he was shot — just too young to have much recognition,” Padova, 53, part of the Global Studies Department at Northern Essex Community College.
But the Andover resident has made it a personal and professional responsibility to rekindle memories of that fateful day as well as the legacy of JFK. He’s the driving force behind “A Weekend of Remembrance: The Story of JFK,” a three-day program that begins tomorrow at the college’s Haverhill campus. The program is free and open to the public. All events will be held in the Hartleb Technology Center, 100 Elliott St.
“I’ve always had a deep interest in President Kennedy because I was born in September of 1960 — when the presidential campaign was really getting underway and he’s the president who was inaugurated soon after my birth,” Padova said.
It was about a year ago, while reflecting on the 49th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, that Padova thought it would be good for the college to mark the milestone anniversary.
“Since I teach history and I have a collection of Kennedy items in my possession, I became the self-appointed organizer,” Padova said.
“Right from the beginning, I said I don’t want it to be all about the assassination. While it will be part of the program, I wanted to focus on the life and the legacy of John F. Kennedy,” he said.
“My goal is to educate people, to mark the occasions of the assassination and to look at Kennedy’s life at the same time,” Padova said. “To remember Kennedy and how he inspired all of us to a higher calling and inspired us to always think of tomorrow and to ways that we can make society better.”