#president john f. kennedy
President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy with the President of Pakistan Muhammad Ayub Khan, 1962.
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A young John F. Kennedy and his gay friend Lem Billings posing with their little companion Dunker during their stay in The Hague, the Netherlands in 1937.
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A woman faints after seeing JFK in person, Germany 1963.
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For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. Mythology distracts us everywhere.
President John F. Kennedy, Yale University Commence Address, June 11, 1962
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Jacqueline Kennedy & John F. Kennedy photographed by Mark Shaw in Hyannis Port
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Jack & Jackie x intimacy
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Caroline holds up a picture postcard to Maria Shriver, who screamed:
“This is the President.”
“No. No. That’s my Daddy!”
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Sisters Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Lee Radziwill, Capri, 1971.
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Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet from Los Angeles, is following in the footsteps of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou as she takes the stage for President Biden's inauguration.
But she's also taking her cues from orators like Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. — people who knew a thing or two about calling for hope and unity in times of despair and division.
Gorman told NPR she dug into the works of those speakers (and Winston Churchill, too) to study up on ways "rhetoric has been used for good." Over the past few weeks she composed a poem that acknowledges the previous president's incitement of violence, but turns toward hope.
"The Hill We Climb" reads, in part:
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
Gorman, like Biden, had a speech impediment as a child. (Biden had a stutter; Gorman had difficulty pronouncing certain sounds.) She told NPR's Steve Inskeep that her speech impediment was one reason she was drawn to poetry at a young age.
"Having an arena in which I could express my thoughts freely was just so liberating that I fell head over heels, you know, when I was barely a toddler," she said.
For Gorman, a former National Youth Poet Laureate, her struggle to speak provided a connection not only to the incoming president, but to previous inaugural poets, too.
"Maya Angelou was mute growing up as a child and she grew up to deliver the inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton," she says. "So I think there is a real history of orators who have had to struggle with a type of imposed voicelessness, you know, having that stage in the inauguration."
There have only been a handful of inaugural poets; Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy were the only presidents in the past who chose to have poems read at their inaugurations. You can read all the previous poems here.
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“When we think of him, he is without a hat, standing in the wind and the weather. He was impatient of topcoats and hats, preferring to be exposed, and he was young enough and tough enough to confront and to enjoy the cold and the wind of these times, whether the winds of nature or the winds of political circumstance and national danger. He died of exposure, but in a way that he would have settled for – in the line of duty, and with his friends and enemies all around, supporting him and shooting at him. It can be said of him, as of few men in a like position, that he did not fear the weather, and did not trim his sails, but instead challenged the wind itself, to improve its direction and to cause it to blow more softly and more kindly over the world and its people.”
- E. B. White, The New Yorker, November 30, 1963
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Ethal, Jack and Bobby, 1952.
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Jackie Kennedy campaigning with her husband, Senator John F. Kennedy for his Senate reelection
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they looked at each other with stars in their eyes, as if they were the only two people in the whole world
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No one had such vitality of personality—a vitality so superbly disciplined that it sometimes left the impression of cool detachment, but imbuing everything he thought or did with intense concentration and power. He was life-affirming, life-enhancing. When he entered the room, the temperature changed; and he quickened the sensibilities of everyone around him. His curiosity was unlimited. The restless thrust of his mind never abated. He noticed everything, responded to everything, forgot nothing… .
He was a man profoundly in earnest. Yet there was never a moment when his manner was not informal, irreverent, rueful and witty. He took life seriously, but never himself. He cared deeply, but his passion was understatement. No heart ever appeared on his sleeve, though only the unaware could have concluded that this meant there was no heart at all. He mistrusted rhetoric, and he detested histrionics. But the casualness, the dry humor, the sardonic throwaway lines, the cool precision in press conference, the sense of slight distance from emotion, the invariable courtesy and the inextinguishable gaiety—none of this could conceal the profound concern and commitment underneath.
- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. for The Saturday Evening Post, 1963
John F. Kennedy
b. May 29, 1917
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John F. Kennedy in Los Angeles. 1960.
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They Put a Flag on the Moon
It’s 1969 and Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are the first humans to land on the Moon. In now iconic footage, Aldrin and Armstrong carefully assemble and maneuver an American flag to place on the lunar surface. The fabric unfurls, staying suspended without any wind to animate the stars and stripes. The flagpole sways precariously as the crew work to anchor it in the Moon’s low gravity at just 1/6th that of Earth’s.
How did this moment come about? On Flag Day, let’s dive behind-the-scenes of what led to getting the American flag on the Moon 50 years ago.
Image: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during the Apollo 11 mission.
Seeking to empower the nation, President John F. Kennedy gave us a grand charge. The human spaceflight program of the early 1960s was challenged to work on missions that sent humans to the surface of another world. Following President Kennedy’s death in 1963, President Richard Nixon stressed a more international perspective to the Apollo missions. To reconcile the need for global diplomacy with national interests, we appointed the Committee on Symbolic Activities for the First Lunar Landing.
Image: NASA Administrator Thomas Paine and President Richard Nixon are seen aboard the USS Hornet, Apollo 11’s splashdown recovery vessel.
The committee, and the U.S. at large, wanted to avoid violating the United Nations Outer Space Treaty, which prohibited any nation from taking possession of a celestial body. After some debate, they recommended that the flag only appear during the Apollo 11 spacewalk. A plaque would accompany it, explaining that the flag was meant to stand for peaceful exploration, not conquest.
Image: The plaque reads “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all of mankind.” Under the text are signatures by President Nixon, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins.
A team of engineers at Johnson Space Center had three months to resolve several issues regarding the flag’s assembly. First, was the Moon’s lack of atmosphere. The flag, quite literally, could not fly the way it does on Earth. To address this, a horizontal crossbar was added to support the flag’s weight and give the illusion of it waving.
Image: NASA technician David L. McCraw shows the flag next to a Lunar Module mockup.
Second was the flag’s assembly, which had to be as lightweight and compact as possible so as not to take up limited storage space. The completed package, which was attached to Lunar Module’s ladder, weighed just under ten pounds. It received an outer case made of steel, aluminum, and Thermoflex insulation and blanketing to shield the flag from the 2,000 degree Fahrenheit spike from the Eagle’s descent engine.
Image: Component pieces of the flag assembly.
The last issue was mobility. Bulky spacesuits significantly restricted the astronauts’ range of motion, and suit pressurization limited how much force they could apply. To accommodate these limits, the team included telescoping components to minimize the need to reach and maneuver the poles. A red painted ring on the flagpole indicated how far into the ground it should be driven. Hinges and catches would lock into place once the pieces were fully extended.
Image: Diagram from the 1969 Apollo 11 press release illustrating astronaut spacesuit reach capabilities and ideal working height.
Fifty years after Apollo 11, the flag we planted on the lunar surface has likely faded but its presence looms large in United States history as a symbol of American progress and innovation.
Image: A close-up view of the U.S. flag deployed on the Moon at the Taurus-by the crew of Apollo 17, the most recent lunar landing mission.
The story doesn’t stop here. Anne Platoff's article “Where No Flag Has Gone Before” sheds more light on the context and technical process of putting the United States flag on the Moon. You can also check out Johnson Space Center’s recent feature story that details its presence in later missions.
Happy Flag Day!
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assassination date of president john f. kennedy // release date of Danger Days: True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys // Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) // My Way Home Is Through You //Gerard and Lindsey Way for the release of The Umbrella Academy: Dallas // The Umbrella Academy: Dallas
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28 June 1962
Presentation of the first White House Guide Book to the President & First Lady
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Jackie Kennedy With LBJ, RFK & Her Children.
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“For I have the warmth of the sun/Within me at night...” (”The Warmth of the Sun” by the Beach Boys) I was not able to post this yesterday, on the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The hopeful Beach Boys song was conceived on the “dark” day of November 22, 1963. This statue, in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, was originally dedicated in 1965, with Robert F. Kennedy in attendance. Because of weather and vandalism, it was redesigned and rededicated in 2010. The message of the Beach Boys song was “redesigned” in a later song by The Police: “There has to be an invisible sun/That gives us hope when the whole day’s done...” (”Invisible Sun”) (Photo taken on August 24, 2017)
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