The Midwestern State Moffett Library officials are honoring a local legend two days before what would have been his 100th birthday.
Former Congressman Graham Purcell Jr. served as the representative for the 13th congressional district for 11 years. During his time in office, he witnessed some historical events. Purcell was sitting just three cars behind President John F. Kennedy’s car in the motorcade when he was shot and killed and even talked with the president the night before on Air Force One between Houston and Fort Worth.
In an interview with KFDX in 2003, Purcell shared what that conversation was like.
“We talked about how successful the trip had been because we were afraid that if that wouldn’t have been and this was of course before San Antonio, Houston both had huge crowds, enthusiasm,” Graham Purcell said. “Pleasant appearances, people smiling so it was a good feeling that night for everybody.”
Purcell died almost eight years ago, and on Friday the Moffett library officials at MSU will honor him on what would be two days before his 100th birthday. Former MSU President Jesse Rogers said Purcell meant a lot to Sheppard Air Force Base as well as to farmers.
“He was central in bringing the NATO command to Sheppard Air Force Base and the NATO pilot training,” Rogers said. “He was very proud of that. But he did so much more through agriculture bills when he served on the agriculture committee. ”
Purcell’s son Blaine Purcell said he is thankful for library officials as well as those who will speak at the celebration Friday but he also hopes the German Air Force commander will come to the celebration.
“I hope they will be here [Friday]. Because he was very interested in the history how that ever got started,” Blaine Purcell said. “If it had not been for the German Air Force, NATO likely would not be here. The ENJJPT program would not be here today.”
With this celebration, Purcell’s life will be remembered so his legacy will not be forgotten.
The celebration will be on Friday starting at 4 p.m.