News / USA

Dallas Observes 50th Anniversary of Kennedy Assassination

A man leaves the area after a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Nov. 22, 2013. President Kennedy's motorcade was passing through Dealey Plaza when shots rang out on Nov. 22, 1963.
A man leaves the area after a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Nov. 22, 2013. President Kennedy's motorcade was passing through Dealey Plaza when shots rang out on Nov. 22, 1963.
Greg Flakus
On a cold, rainy day, thousands of people gathered in Dallas, Texas, to honor the memory of President John F. Kennedy near the spot where he was killed 50 years ago by a sniper. Friday's commemoration focused not on the tragedy, but on the inspiration Kennedy provided to people around the world.

The simple ceremony took place in Dealey Plaza next to Elm Street, where an assassin's bullets ended the life of President Kennedy. That tragic day was bright and sunny, but the commemoration took place under cloudy skies, with participants bracing against cold, blustery winds and light rain.

For Dallas, this was an especially poignant moment, as the city has struggled for decades to remove the stigma of the assassination. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that "hope and reality" collided on that day in his city, but that the city has grown and changed, partly because of the inspirations Kennedy provided.

"Today, because of the hard work of many people, Dallas is a different city. I believe the new frontier did not die that day on our Texas frontier," said Rawlings.

Kennedy's inspiring and youthful image also was recalled when historian David McCullough took the podium. "He was young to be president, but it did not seem so if you were younger still. He was ambitious to make it a better world and so were we."

That Kennedy spirit is what drew people, young and old, to brave the weather and attend the ceremony in Dealey Plaza. Miguel Andrews was a five-year-old living with his parents in Mexico City when President Kennedy was assassinated. He credits Kennedy for setting ambitious goals, like the mission to the moon.

"He really drove the will of the Americans to go to the moon. I don't think anyone could have done or inspired this to be done in less than 10 years," he said.

U.S. astronauts landed on the moon nearly six years after JFK's death and many of his other projects, like civil rights, also took effect in the years following his assassination in Dallas.

Dallas resident Charlene Wyatt was 12-years-old 50 years ago, but she credits Kennedy for having proposed the civil rights legislation that would later allow black people like her to fully participate in society.

"We got a greater sense of being able to do things that we were not able to do before, go to school, get degrees and stuff."

In 1963, Dallas and most of the southern U.S. states were racially segregated, but Dallas today is a diverse city where interaction among races and nationalities is common. The city is twice the size it was then, with a metropolitan area population, including the nearby city of Fort Worth, of more than 6 million people. Dealey Plaza, the museum in the building where the assassin fired, and the nearby John F. Kennedy Memorial, will remain to remind people of the crime and the man whose promise was cut short.

  • A flag flies at half-staff above the White House in Washington, early morning, Nov. 22, 2013. President Barack Obama ordered that flags be lowered at government buildings to mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
  • The eternal flame flickers in the early morning light at the grave of John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 22, 2013, on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death.
  • A banner of John F. Kennedy is lowered to the stage before a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination, near Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 2013.
  • Tatiana Schlossberg, granddaughter of President John F. Kennedy, stands still as the U.S. national anthem is played during a short ceremony at the JFK memorial, Runnymede, England, Nov. 22, 2013.
  • Members of the Kennedy family, including former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith, fourth from left, hold hands as they pay their respects at the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 2013, at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington.
  • Images of the Kennedys are displayed at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, at Dealey Plaza in Dallas,Texas, Nov. 22, 2013.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid