SMITHTOWN - As the nation looks back on the assassination of former president John F. Kennedy 50 years ago today, the Smithtown town supervisor is remembering his encounter with JFK while he served as a security detail.
Long before he was the town supervisor in Smithtown, Patrick Vecchio was an NYPD detective who provided security for dignitaries who visited the city in the 1960s. He recalls a particular incident in October 1960, right before JFK was elected the 35th president, he made a campaign stop in New York City. Vecchio says he walked alongside a car with Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, down Broadway.
“There was a point where a photographer tried to get really close up and I got into a shoving match with him and I heard Mrs. Kennedy say, ‘Don’t fight – don’t fight!’ And the president – or soon-to-be president – said ‘OK guys, take it easy,’” says Vecchio.
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Vecchio adds that each time Kennedy came to the city, he would be assigned to watch him. He says Kennedy always showed a warmth even to strangers.
In addition, Vecchio also provided security for former New York City mayor John Lindsay before retiring and entering into Long Island politics.
For an extended interview with Vecchio, click on the video on the left or go to Channel 612 and select News 12 Extra.