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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid