As with most World’s Fairs of the past traditionally the President of the host nation is invited to participate in opening day ceremonies with a short speech concluding with their declaring the opening of the Fair/Expo. Prior to the opening of HemisFair President Lyndon Johnson was scheduled to be on hand to open the Fair, however, as a result of the assination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. two days prior to the opening day the president did not attend. From what I understand this was done as the president felt it was more important to remain in the nation’s capital to help calm a greving and rattled nation (this was one of several unsettling events durring 1968).
As a result it was decided the First Lady of the United States; “Lady Bird” Johnson would attend in the President’s place. To help with security the First Lady’s schedule was modified and was transproted around the fairgrounds in a covered gulf cart. Opening ceremonies began at 10:00 am in the convention center, about 3/4 of the way thru the ceremonies Lady Bird Johnson gave her remarks and concluded with declaring HemisFair ’68 offically open.
According to her White House diary, which she published in the 1970’s she traveled to the LBJ Ranch in near by Johnson City the night before the fair’s opening. She did have some concerns about possible civil unrest resulting from the MLK assination one day earlier, but overall was looking forward to opening day events.
Below are images from the opening day of HemisFair ’68 w/ First Lady of the United States – Lady Bird Johnson. (Click on image for a closer look)
As part of the U.S. Independence Day weekend, the President of the United States along with First Lady – Lady Bird Johnson spent the weekend at the LBJ ranch in nearby Johnson City. On the 4th, they flew down to San Antonio in the presidential helicopter and spent the early afternoon touring the San Antonio World’s Fair.
Their first stop after arriving was the U.S. Pavilion for a private reception and public speach by Texas Gov. John Connaly, U.S. Ambasador Clark and President Johnson. Several Latin American Ambassadors were in attendence
Shortly afterwards the first family toured the fairgrounds visiting many national pavilions:
Below are images of the U.S. President and First Lady during their tour of HemisFair ’68. (Click on image for a closer look)
Please note that the below video I found on-line does not have any audio.