My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
I am familiar with these famous words but as last Thursday was the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy becoming President I watched his inauguration speech for the first time. He was just forty-three, then the youngest President, but also the first born in the twentieth century and the first Catholic.
Now the trumpet summons us again–not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are– but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation–a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.
– NationalJournal on why Kennedy’s speech still speaks to America;
– LIFE photos of the day;
– Smithsonian Magazine uses the anniversary to highlight Kennedy’s expansion of the power of the presidency, especially in foreign affairs, and the consequences for him, for America and for the rest of the world.