US commemorates JFK; international media descends on Dallas
Washington – As America prepared to mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination Friday with solemn ceremonies across the nation, President Barack Obama ordered flags to be lowered at government buildings. While ceremonies have been planned across ! the nation, hundreds of journalists from around the world have descended on Dallas, Texas, where Kennedy was shot as was driven through in an open-top limousine on Nov 22, 1963.
In a presidential proclamation released Thursday, Obama said the anniversary is a day to honour Kennedy’s memory and “celebrate his enduring imprint on American history.”
Kennedy’s vision for the US and the world lives “in the generations he inspired,” said Obama of his charismatic predecessor remembered for his clarion call “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
A moment of silence will fill Dealey Plaza and its infamous grassy knoll as Dallas marks the moment the shots rang out at 12:30 pm before celebrating Kennedy’s legacy with music, prayer and speeches.
“From Europe, from Asia, from Latin America, they’re here to be the eyes of their nations, here from places like Serbia, Germany, Spain and Japan,” Dallas News reported ! noting, “Five decades have passed, but even beyond America, the Kennedy! charisma still charms, the mystery still intrigues.”
The gathering of reporters, photographers, satellite-truck drivers and cable technicians marks the culmination of a yearlong crescendo of media interest, ranging from Toronto’s Globe and Mail to Britain’s BBC, it said.
Obama Wednesday visited Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery with former president Bill Clinton and later hailed the slain president’s legacy at a ceremony for recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom established by Kennedy.
“Fifty years later, John F. Kennedy stands for posterity as he did in life – young, bold and daring,” said Obama, who was two years old when Kennedy was killed at the age of 46.
“He stays with us in our imagination, not because he left us so soon, but because he embodied the character of the people that he led,” Obama said.
Paying tributes to “Kennedy’s Legacy of Inspiration” the New York Times said “Fifty years after John F. Kennedy’! s assassination, he remains an object of almost universal admiration.”
“And yet, particularly this year, his legacy has aroused the ire of debunkers who complain that Kennedy is unworthy of all this adulation,” wrote Robert Dallek, author of “Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House” in an opinion piece.
“But Kennedy’s greatest success was the very thing that critics often cast as a shortcoming: his charisma, his feel for the importance of inspirational leadership and his willingness to use it to great ends,” he wrote.
Kennedy has “become fodder for an interpretation industry toiling to make his life malleable enough to soothe the sensitivities and serve the agendas of the interpreters,” wrote George F. Will in the Washington Post.
“The quantity of writing about him is inversely proportional to the brevity of his presidency,” he added.