BUFFALO, NY - October 14, 1962, a day that Western New Yorkers turned out in record numbers to catch a glimpse of John F. Kennedy. It was also the day that the President found out just how close the country was to nuclear war.
Newspaper reports from the day estimated that 400,000 people turned out to see the President as he rode in the Pulaski Day parade and addressed a crowd on the steps of Buffalo City Hall.
Kennedy talked about General Casimir Pulaski and his heroics in service to the colonies during the American Revolution. He talked about how important Poland and Polish heritage is to the United States.
What he didn't talk about was the chess match that was unfolding in Cuba. On the same day he was here in Buffalo, he learned of photographic evidence captured by an American U-2 spy plane of a Soviet SS-4 medium-range ballistic missile being assembled in Cuba for installation.
The President finished his Queen City visit, and even kept another trip to Chicago, never letting on to the U.S. the Soviet stand-off that spanned 13 days. It wasn't until the 22nd of October that Kennedy addressed the nation and exposed the incident that would go down in history known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.