News / USA

JFK Anniversary Recalls the Age of America's Camelot

JFK Anniversary Recalls the Age of America's Cameloti
X
November 18, 2013 10:03 PM
Friday, November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy, who brought youth and energy to the White House when he became president in 1961. He and First Lady Jackie Kennedy brought a unique sense of style and glamour that Washington had never seen before. It is a time that came to be known as ‘The Age of Camelot’, a reference to a hit Broadway musical at the time, one of the president’s favorites. National Correspondent Jim Malone has more as VOA looks at the Kennedy years 50 years later.
Friday, November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy, who brought youth and energy to the White House when he became president in 1961.  He and First Lady Jackie Kennedy brought a unique sense of style and glamour that Washington had never seen before.  It is a time that came to be known as ‘The Age of Camelot’, a reference to a hit Broadway musical at the time, one of the president’s favorites.

January, 1961.  The new president and his First Lady emerge from the White House, and a new era begins in Washington.

“It was first of all that she was always extremely well dressed, and women loved to see her, and there was this mystery about her too that she did not come out of the White House much, did not give a lot of interviews," said author Thurston Clarke, who has written extensively about the Kennedy years.

The public’s fascination with Jackie Kennedy began during the 1960 presidential campaign.

“Politics is one of the most rewarding lives a woman can have, to be married to a politician.  I think every woman wants to feel needed and in politics you are," Jackie Kennedy said.

But at times she found public life a struggle.
 
“She was somewhat secretive.  She was elusive.  She was like Kennedy.  So she withheld herself from the public to a certain degree, and that is what made her, I think, so appealing," said Clarke.

That appeal extended well beyond the United States.  Jackie Kennedy became an international celebrity after she travelled with the president to Europe.
 
“I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it," said President Kennedy.

 “And she did charm de Gaulle, she was an expert in French history.  And afterwards, de Gaulle said to JFK, 'You know, your wife knows more French history that most French people do,'" said Clarke.

Jackie Kennedy’s star power was also on display during visits to India and Pakistan and she relished her role as her husband’s unofficial ambassador at large.

Back at home, the Kennedys projected an aura of the all-American family.

“There’s a wonderful picture of when JFK comes back from his triumphant trip to Berlin and Ireland and he gets off the helicopter in Hyannis Port and they throw their arms around each other and give this incredible hug," said Clarke.

But in private the truth was often more complicated.

“For many years she had to pretend that her marriage was perfect, which of course it was not.  And she knew even when she got married, she knew her husband had a reputation as a womanizer," Clarke said.

To escape the pressures of Washington, the first couple often invited close friends to relax out on the water off the New England coast.

Jackie Kennedy was more at home on horseback, an experience she was eager to share with children Caroline and John Jr.

“She loved it.  She had ridden as a girl.  She had ridden throughout her life.  She wanted Caroline and John to ride.  It was very important to her," said Clarke.

It was Jackie Kennedy who, a week after her husband’s assassination, compared their time in the White House to Camelot.

“Jackie was already thinking about his place in history and his judgment by what Kennedy called the ‘High Court’ of history.  It was a court that was on his mind throughout his thousand day presidency," said Clarke.

Many historians see John Kennedy’s legacy as a complementary mix of style and substance.

"In his final months he had finally done what Robert Frost the poet had urged him to do with the poem at his inaugural, which is to marry poetry to power.  Finally, at the end of his life, he had married the poetry of his words to the power of his presidency," said Clarke.

On the 50th anniversary of his death, ‘The Age of Camelot’ remains an important part of John Kennedy’s legacy.

You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid