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Luzerne County Man Reflects On Chance Meeting With JFK

Cholly Hayes was a young Army soldier when he met President John F. Kennedy face to face and says that meeting changed his life forever.
Cholly Hayes was a 19 year old Army Soldier and photographer when he was assigned to cover President John F. Kennedy's famous speech in West Berlin in June of 1963. Hayes, from Dallas in Luzerne County, said, " I was on the roof of the mess hall when the President arrived. He looked up saw me and asked my name. I said PFC Hayes Mr. President. He asked me if I would join him for breakfast and I did. It still grabs me emotionally when I think about how he looked up at me" Hayes added, "He had total recall he remembered our names and made us feel very comfortable."  Hayes said he could not believe the response from more than a million West Germans when JFK arrived at the Berlin Wall. Hayes said, "It was such a moment..at first total silence and then an eruption of cheers and emotion. I will never forget it." Hayes, who later became a four decade videographer for WBRE-TV, reflected on the day of the assassination in Dallas Texas. Hayes, holding back tears, said, "We were called out in special formation all of us tough army guys. When we were told about his murder there was not a dry eye in the ranks."
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