On November 22nd 1963, Anchorage resident Cynthia Pendleton was a college student at Wayne State University in Detroit.
"It was just like 9/11 right here after it happened, nobody knew what to do," said Pendleton.
Pendleton was leaving class for work when she heard President Kennedy had been assassinated.
"By the time I got to work which was a department store, it was just dead still there,” said Pendleton, a retired teacher. “There were no people, there was no one shopping. All of the people working in the stores were standing around the televisions."
Pendleton began collecting memorabilia during the Kennedy years and immediately following the president’s death.
She has the front page of the Detroit News from the day Kennedy died, and a children’s book written through the eyes of John, Kennedy’s son who was three at the time of his father’s death.
Pendleton also has an LP record by Vaughn Meador, a comedian who did a parody of the Kennedy family in the early 60’s.
“It was like Saturday Night Live at the time,” said Pendleton.
She brought all those items with her when she moved from Michigan to Alaska in 1967.
Nearly a decade earlier, President Kennedy planted the seeds for his 1960 campaign in the Last Frontier.
In 1958, Kennedy, previously a Senator, spoke to a crowd at Juneau’s Gross 20th Century Theatre, taking a swipe at his eventual predecessor President Dwight Eisenhower.
“They are the biggest peacetime spenders in history,” Kennedy said of Eisenhower’s Administration. “$80 billion this year, even though in 1952 the president ran on a program of a 60 billion dollar limit on expenditures.”
In 1960, Kennedy returned to Alaska, this time as the Democratic nominee for president. He stopped in Anchorage and at the State Fairgrounds in Palmer, a trip that drew a huge crowd.
"They were all very interested in him,” said Jay Kerttula, former Alaska Democratic Party Chairman. “They all wanted to meet him, regardless of their political affiliations.”
Kerttula helped organize Kennedy’s 1960 Alaska visit, although the candidate lost Alaska by a few thousand votes he won the hearts of many Alaskans.
"I've always felt badly that he never had the opportunity to prove himself, said Pendleton. “Good, bad or otherwise.”
Kennedy’s story is an American tale about what was and might have been.