JFK assassination: The world remembers the president, 50 years on
Kennedy family members gathered at his grave in Arlington cemetery
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Friday 22 November 2013
America and the world yesterday remembered John F Kennedy, and the terrible 22 November of exactly 50 years ago – still etched in the mind of anyone old enough to remember – when the life of a young and handsome president was stunningly and senselessly cut short by an assassin’s bullets.
In Washington, Kennedy family members gathered at his grave in Arlington cemetery, while President Barack Obama met leaders of the Peace Corps, one of JFK’s most enduring legacies. On government buildings across the city and the country, flags were lowered to half mast.
For the first time, the city of Dallas commemorated the event that has made its very name a synonym for the crime. In Dealey Plaza, a sombre ceremony took place in the shadow of the Texas School Book Depository building from where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shots on the presidential motorcade. At 12.30 pm local time, bells tolled through the city to mark the moment of the assassination.
The tickets-only occasion for 5,000 was intended to focus on the 1,000 days of Kennedy’s presidency, rather than the moments in which it ended. It featured a brief speech by the Dallas mayor, Mike Rawlings, and readings by the historian David McCullough of excerpts from some of Kennedy’s most famous speeches.
On the “grassy knoll”, central to so many conspiracy theories, a monument was unveiled, inscribed with the final paragraph of the speech Kennedy was to have given that day at a luncheon organised by Dallas civic leaders. Its inspirational language, so typical of the speaker, echoes down the decades. Americans, the 35th president planned to say, were “the watchmen on the walls of world freedom”. But the cause must be righteous, “for as was written long ago, ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain’.”
That day in Dallas, no watchman prevented what happened. But the golden glow of the martyred president endures. A CNN poll today showed that, half a century after he died, JFK’s approval rating stands at 90 per cent, eclipsing every occupant of the Oval Office since.
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a dynamic En...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Experienced Lead SAP Data Manager Requir...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...