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.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.