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 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'
- 5 Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...