News / USA

John Kennedy's Legacy Still Inspires 50 Years After His Death

John Kennedy's Legacy Still Inspires 50 Years After His Deathi
X
November 18, 2013 10:48 PM
Friday, November 22nd, marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most traumatic events in U.S. history, the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Public opinion polls show he remains popular and many Americans continue to be inspired by the ideals and hope his legacy represents. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more on John Kennedy’s presidential legacy.
— Friday, November 22nd, marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most traumatic events in U.S. history, the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.  Public opinion polls show he remains popular and many Americans continue to be inspired by the ideals and hope his legacy represents.

Space exploration was an important part of Kennedy’s New Frontier.
 
The early success of the Mercury manned space missions under Kennedy set the stage for the moon landing later in the decade and remains one of his signature achievements.

“It was not about what I can do for you.  It was, you should do this because it is tough, it is difficult," said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who is Robert Kennedy’s eldest child and President Kennedy’s niece. "We are going to go to the moon because it is hard and it will take all our best energies.  But that will make us a better people when we do that."

One of the most vexing issues John Kennedy faced while in office was civil rights.  A few months before he died, Kennedy made a fresh appeal for action to Congress.

“We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.  It is old as the scriptures and as clear as the American Constitution.  The heart of the question is whether all Americans are going to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities," he said.

“We do not know what greatness he could have come to," said Harris Wofford, who advised President Kennedy on civil rights. "We lost somebody who was on the way toward greatness, in my opinion, at a time we needed that."

Many still wonder how the world might be different if John Kennedy had lived.

“It is really sad.  Our country lost a lot in November, 1963, and when my father was killed.  It was a lot," said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. "And I think we would have been a much better country had they lived.  I am not a believer in, you know, out of tragedy good can come.  I think a lot of pain came and a lot of bad things for our country."

A few months before he died, President Kennedy spent a few days in his ancestral homeland of Ireland.

“You know, after President Kennedy went to Berlin he went to Ireland and he said that that was the happiest four days of his life.  And when he was killed he had a rosary in his pocket, and Jackie sent that rosary to the people of Ireland, to the town his grandfather came from, because she knew how much he believed his values came from that Irish immigrant experience," said Kennedy Townsend.

“The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world,"  President Kennedy once said.

John Kennedy’s words still echo from the past and the flame atop his grave continues to burn, a beacon to those who strive to the make the world a better place.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid