(WSVN) - Fifty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
As the decades go by, memories of that day may fade. But as 7’s Craig Stevens shows us, one Broward man has made it his mission to take Americans on a tour inside Camelot.
Unfurling the flag on this perfect replica of John F. Kennedy’s limousine brings back memories of that November day in Dallas.
Nick Ciacelli, Kennedy collector: “What happened here in that six seconds defined America, and we’re still talking about it today.”
The president and first lady greeted the cheering crowds from the limo.
Commentator 1: “It appears as though something has happened in the motorcade route.”
But no one realized the horror to come.
Commentator 2: “President Kennedy has been shot.”
Nick Ciacelli was a just a kid when that happened.
Nick Ciacelli: “I couldn’t figure out what was happening. ‘What do you mean he was shot? What do you mean he is dead?'”
The end of the president’s life marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for Nick — collecting all things Kennedy.
Nick Ciacelli: “I got to know many of the Kennedy family members, and they have helped me build my collection.”
He now owns more than 10,000 items.
Nick Ciacelli: “This photograph was actually taken on US-1 in Miami. This is an original oil painting that was done as a presentation for the U.S stamp.”
Nick has toured the country with his collection, giving people a unique look inside Camelot.
Nick Ciacelli: “Three-hundred-thirty-thousand people passed through this exhibit at the New York State Fair. There was over 2,000 to 3,000 people a day coming through there.”
Nick has the portrait of Kennedy by American artist Norman Rockwell, and the pens used to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union.
Even a silver dagger given to JFK by the German Chancellor during his 1963 visit to Berlin.
But for Nick, his most prized possession is this 1961 Ford Lincoln — identical to the one Kennedy was riding in the day he died.
Nick Ciacelli: “It’s Kennedy Blue. Believe it or not, he actually picked this color himself. This car has been in 11 different movies.”
Movies like “JFK,” starring Kevin Costner.
Nick Ciacelli: “We actually took the car into the White House garage, and all of the Secret Service agents came out — guns, everything — and took photographs of the car.”
He also has personal items in the collection, like JFK’s sweater.
Nick Ciacelli: “It was a gift actually from the children, and it was left at the LBJ ranch, Nov. 22. My favorite item would be his jewelry box. It was given to him in 1946 by his dad, by Joe Kennedy.”
The sets of cufflinks and religious medals give an intimate glimpse into Kennedy’s personal life, and connects people with an important part of American history.
Nick Ciacelli: “We all have something to give back to the community. Mine has been I’ve planted the seed of history into somebody.”
And now with the recently released FBI documents revealing details of the assassination investigation, we remember that terrible day all over again.
Commentator 3: “I’m telling you I don’t feel so good, my heart is breaking.”
The day South Florida, and the nation, shed tears for a lost president.
Nick Ciacelli has toured and displayed his collection for more than three decades, but he says it’s time to pass the torch to someone else. His entire collection is now up for sale.
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