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Grit: October 28, 1962 – JFK Supported by Billtowners in Cuba Crisis

The spotlight in the Williamsport area has suddenly shifted from the civic arena to a place more than 1,000 miles away.

Throughout the area—on street corners, in buses, in homes, in businesses, in the stores, one word can be heard again and again — “Cuba.”

The crisis has become the topic of conversation in every corner of the city. The coming election, Little League Boulevard, and even Halloween, have taken a back seat to Cuba.

A local candidate last week running for state office summed up the entire picture when he confided to a “Grit” reporter, “No one cares about us candidates. No one cares about the election. No one cares about anything but Cuba, and whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican makes no difference.”

The “man-on the street” stands almost solidly with the President — as do local office holders whether a city, county, state or national level.

Statements of support were issued by candidates for state and federal offices.

Said the “man- on- the street,” “I would rather run the risk than back down in our struggle against the Communists.”

Staff workers at the local selective service and civil defense offices did not have to turn on the radio or TV to know there was a crisis.

Harold D. Hershberger, city civil defense director said the office has been bombarded with inquiries about CD procedure and necessary supplies.

“I haven’t sold so many canned goods and potential rationed items since the Berlin Crisis,” one store manager said.

He said the most popular items included sugar, canned meat and juices and other non-perishables. But while wives were making little “stockpiles” life continued as usual.