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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs