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

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs