A group is looking to get a state holiday enacted in Massachusetts in honor of Bay State native President John F. Kennedy.

James P. Coughlin is the president and chief spokesperson for The Citizens Committee for the JFK Holiday, Inc., the group that is advocating for the enactment of a state holiday in Massachusetts for JFK.

He appeared on WBSM Friday morning along with his friend and colleague, attorney Robert Cabana, to discuss the effort ahead of May 29, which would have been JFK’s 107th birthday.

“It came as a result of many years of thinking about how John Kennedy should be honored with perpetuity, and how would be the best means of doing that,” Coughlin said, noting it could be his birthday or another day to memorialize him “for what he did for our country and for the world.”

Cabana talked about how he and Coughlin were young boys when Kennedy was president, and that they felt a “personal, emotional connection” to Kennedy.

“That man was a real leader and people today probably don’t understand that kind of inspirational leadership that he gave to this country and the world, and he deserves to be remembered,” Cabana said.

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Coughlin has a connection to Kennedy through a family member; his aunt, Mary Barelli Gallagher, went to work for JFK when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1952, and later worked in the family quarters of the Kennedy White House as Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal secretary. She was also in the motorcade on November 22, 1963 when JFK was assassinated.

Cabana shared a story of growing up in Worcester and how Kennedy being elected felt like “one of my own” in the White House. He spoke about hearing Kennedy’s June 11, 1963 speech on civil rights, and how even at 10 years old he became committed to Kennedy’s vision.

He said he was determined to try to get to the March on Washington, but had to watch it on television.

“I was sitting there mesmerized by the whole thing. My father and uncle came in, and quite frankly, they were bigots. They ridiculed me for watching the march. My uncle started ridiculing MLK as he gave the speech,” Cabana said.

That’s when a turning point in Cabana’s young life occurred, inspired by the message of President Kennedy.

“I got up and said to my father for the first time in my life, ‘I don’t agree with you at all, I wish you’d stop doing this,’” he said. “They were so affected by what I said, they walked out of the room and let me finish watching the March on Washington. That’s the type of effect President Kennedy had on people, getting them to stand up for what’s right.”

Neither man said they’d heard anyone in opposition to the idea of creating a state holiday for JFK, but Coughlin said the exact logistics of what the holiday would encompass still need to be worked out.

There is a bill now before the State Legislature to establish a Kennedy Holiday Commission appointed by the governor, the speaker of the House and the Senate president. The commission would decide when and how to put the holiday into effect.

Coughlin said New Bedford State Representative Antonio Cabral has been a big supporter in the House, but right now, the bill needs to get out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Rodrigues of Westport.

Those who want to support the bill can reach out to Sen. Rodrigues in either his Boston office (617) 722-1114 or his Fall River office (508) 646-0650. He can also be reached via email at michael.rodrigues@ma.senate.gov.

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Welcome to 3 Rundel Park, John F. Kennedy's grandparent's home listed by Leslie MacKinnon of Compass Realty in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.

CT Auction Features Rare Items from JFK, Einstein and Monroe

According to the Wilton Bulletin, the "University Archives' "Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos, and Relics" auction" is underway in Connecticut. There are hundreds of rare and historic items hitting the block. These are the kind of auction items that make it easy to romanticize our country. From JFK to Marilyn Monroe, this auction has it all. Here are 5 of my favorites. 

NOTE: The internet bidding has reportedly begun for some items and the rest will be auctioned on Feb. 21 at 10:30 a.m. 

Gallery Credit: Lou Milano

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