Newspaper Articles


Parkersburg Sentinel
October 9, 1958

Party Dignitaries Here for Luncheon

Democrats Hear Address By Kennedy

“We are still emphasizing budgets over security” as we face the Soviet menace declared U. S. Senator John F. Kennedy in addressing an overflow crowd of Wood County Democrats at luncheon at the Chancellor Hotel today.

Senator Kennedy was the principal speaker at the Democratic meeting which was attended by more than 300 Democratic leaders.

The luncheon followed a parade which was led by the PHS Big Red Band down Market St. and up Juliana St. at 12 noon.

Senator Kennedy arrived at Wood County Airport at 11:25. His flight in a special plane from Trenton, N. J. was delayed by headwinds.

Among those greeting Senator Kennedy and party at the airport were Mayor Frank W. Gove Jr., Jennings Randolph, Democratic candidate for United States Senator; Dr. Hen Hechler, Democratic candidate for Congress from the Fourth District; Hulett Smith, Beckley, State Chairman of the Democratic party; H. Sutton Sharp, editor of The Parkersburg Sentinel; Robert McDonough, Wood County campaign chairman; John Morris, president of the Wood County Young Democrats Club and other Democratic leaders.

Discussing the threat of Soviet Russia against the United States, Senator Kennedy said:

“Our peril is not simply because Russian striking power will have a slight edge over us in missile power—they will have several times as many; intermediate range missiles to destroy our European missile and SAC bases; intercontinental missiles to devastate our own county, installations, and Government; and history’s largest fleet of submarines, and possibly long-range supersonic jet bombers, to follow up this advantage. If by that time their submarines are capable of launching missiles, they could destroy 85 per cent of our industry, 43 per cent of our 50 largest cities, and most of the nation’s population.”

He was referring to the time of danger that will exist until the United States can catch up with Russian missile power.

He continued “On the other hand, we are still emphasizing budget over security—threatening to impound funds the Congress authorized for additional Polaris submarines—lacking the missile developments and bases needed to close the gap—relying upon a continental defense system inadequate for the missile age—and depending for deterrence and retaliation upon our manned bombers with all of their problems of sufficient alert, dispersal and refueling.

“Whether the Soviets will use their advantage to attack us in a nuclear holocaust or to nibble away gradually at our security, I do not know. I do know that these are facts which the American Congress and people must face—and understand—and act on accordingly. . .

“But this is not a time to keep the facts from the people—to keep them complacent. To sound the alarm is not to panic but to seek action from an aroused public.

“ . . . I will tell you who is selling America short. It is the little men with little vision who say we cannot afford to build the world’s greatest defense against aggression—it is those who say we cannot afford to bolster the free world against the ravages of hunger and disease and disorder upon which Communism feeds. The men who lack confidence in America are the men who say our people are not up to facing the facts of our missile lag—who say we are not up to bearing the cost of survival. . .

“The Democratic party rejects those voices that would sell America short. Our party has never been the party of little men with little vision . . .—and, with your help, it never will be.”

Senator Kennedy was to fly back to New York this afternoon. He is scheduled to speak in New York City tonight.


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