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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid