United States today marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Flags stayed at half-staff and the country paused to mourn the President’s death.
The wound of his death is still raw as till date various conspiracy theories are being suggested that could have killed the President.
Across the nation, at ceremonies large and small, many took comfort in reflecting upon the words of a charismatic man whose soaring rhetoric and call to service continues to inspire.
“Today, we honor his memory and celebrate his enduring imprint on American history,” President Barack Obama declared.
The ringing of church bells filled Dealey Plaza at 12:30 p.m. as a moment of silence marked the time that the deadly shots burst forth from the sixth floor of a book depository in Dallas, Texas.
“You, Lord, have lifted us up from the horrible tragedy enacted in this place . . . the gun shot by one man that killed a president in whom many of us had set our hopes and dreams for a better America,” intoned Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
A steady stream of mourners visited Kennedy’s tomb in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, where two kilted pipers from the Black Watch of the British army repeated a tribute their regiment performed at his funeral 50 years ago.
Across the Atlantic too, Kennedy was remembered.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held in the Berlin neighborhood where Kennedy gave his famed Cold War-era “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech to a rapturous crowd.
In a proclamation ordering flags be lowered at government buildings and even private homes, Obama recalled Kennedy’s leadership in the Cuban missile crisis, his speech in Berlin and his drive to advance the rights of African-Americans and women.
“Today and in the decades to come, let us carry his legacy forward,” Obama wrote Thursday.
“Let us face today’s tests by beckoning the spirit he embodied — that fearless, resilient, uniquely American character that has always driven our nation to defy the odds, write our own destiny, and make the world anew.”
Obama later led a moment of silence as he met with supporters of the Peace Corps, the humanitarian organization launched by Kennedy that endures to this day.