What started as a gathering to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Greers Ferry Dam has become a full-fledged event with the announcement that President Bill Clinton will be speaking. Along with other distinguished speakers, such as Governor Mike Beebe, Clinton will help celebrate this milestone in a project that changed the face of Cleburne County.
Construction of the dam took place from 1959 to 1962 and resulted in a previously unseen flurry of economic activity for the area around what became Greers Ferry Lake. The dedication on October 3, 1963 included President John F. Kennedy. “I take pride in coming here today,” said Kennedy. “I know that 10 years from now, if we come back again, flying as we did over the land, that we will see an even richer state, and I think you can take pride and satisfaction in what you have done.” Unfortunately, Kennedy wasn’t able to make the return trip to fly over the land. After leaving Arkansas, Kennedy went to Dallas, where he was assassinated on November 22 of that year. Fifty years later, however, President Clinton and Governor Beebe, both ardent admirers of Kennedy, will be at the event to help commemorate the most important event in Cleburne County history to date.
Clinton, who was not originally scheduled to attend the ceremony, changed prior plans to be able to attend the event. County Judge Jerry Holmes played a significant role in helping bring Clinton. “I’m glad we’re able to be a part of this important event,” said Holmes. “I’m so pleased we were able to get President Clinton to change his schedule, along with the Corps of Engineers, to make this happen. It’s fitting that an ex-President, especially one from Arkansas, could be here to help us commemorate this important moment in our history.”
The Sun-Times will be publishing a special tab on October 2 to help commemorate the anniversary. We invite anyone that may have been at the dedication in 1963 to submit photos and/or memories to include in the commemorative tab. Submissions must be received by Friday, September27, and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can bring them by in person at our office, located at 107 North 4th St in Heber Springs.