BRADENTON-- Philip Jameson was just 17-years-old when he spoke with President John F. Kennedy. The unique meeting happened less than 24-hours before Kennedy was killed in Dallas.
On November 21, 1963, President Kennedy dedicated the Aerospace School of Medicine at Brooks Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. It was Kennedy's last official act as President. After giving a speech in front of thousands, Kennedy toured the facility. It was then, he met Jameson, who now lives in Bradenton.
"It is the highlight of my life," said Jameson.
Jameson and three other men were locked up in a chamber for 42 days, conducting tests for the Apollo space program. Kennedy proposed the idea to Congress in 1961.
Kennedy noticed the men inside the chamber and spoke with them through a window. All of them used headsets to communicate with one another.
"I did most of the talking," said Jameson. "He said, "you are the perfect model of ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.""
Jameson says Kennedy asked them all sorts of questions and was very friendly and sincere.
"He started asking us questions about how we were doing, what we thought of the experiments, and how we felt," said Jameson.
Less than 24 hours later, the President was dead.
"Just the shock of the next day wiped out the goodness of the day before," said Jameson.
Jameson learned of the news while watching television inside the chamber.
"Your one chance to meet the leader of the free world, and the next day, he's dead," said Jameson. "I would certainly give up my moments with the President to have him not killed."
Jameson was recently interviewed for a National Geographic Channel documentary, titled: JFK: The Final Hours. It marked the Bradenton resident's first trip back to the Air Force base since Kennedy was killed. The documentary premiered Tuesday night. Check your local listings.