Each week leading up to our 50th Anniversary, we’re bringing you stories from the community about the history of Hemisfair. This week we remember the opening day of Hemisfair, April 6, 1968.
Celebrities and dignitaries from around the world flocked to San Antonio for the opening of the 1968 World’s Fair. Among them were the President and First Lady of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird, and Governor Connally. While Lady Bird did make a speech to welcome visitors to the fair, it fell to was Governor Connally to set the tone for HemisFair ’68. Thankfully, his speech was recorded.
You can listen to it here, and read the transcript below. We present it with a hope that the picture it paints of a world of peace and understand might resonate with audiences today as it did fifty years ago.
“Two hundred and fifty years ago, the Spanish first opened up this wilderness in pursuit of a dream. From all over the world, courageous men and women followed, driven by a relentless thirst for freedom, peace and opportunity. What they brought here became our legacy. Their triumphs over adversities made possible the life we enjoy with all of the rich flavors of a myriad of cultures.
“So it is most fitting that today, two and a half centuries later, San Antonio opens its heart and its arms to peoples of every land. We do so with grateful tribute to those before us for the heritage that is ours. We do so with fervent hope that this great world exposition may help point the way to a world of peace and understanding for the generations to come.”
Please join us on Friday, April 6, 2018 as we mark the 50th anniversary of Hemisfair with proclamations from contemporary leaders, and kick off a weekend of celebrations. If you’ve got a memory from the last 50 years of Hemisfair, we’d love to hear about at hemisfair.org/memories.