John F Kennedy was remembered as a transcendent leader of a rising nation at a ceremony in Dallas last night, the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
“Our collective hearts were broken,” Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings told a crowd of about 5,000 who came to Dealey Plaza, near where Kennedy was slain, for a commemoration marked with prayer, song, and tears.
Kennedy remains one of Americans’ favourite presidents for his handling of the Cuban missile crisis, his call to public service with programmes such as the Peace Corps, and a promise — later fulfilled — to land an American on the moon before the end of the 1960s.
The assassination cut short ‘Camelot’, as the 1,000 days of the Kennedy presidency became known. He was 46 when he died.
The official anniversary memorial was a first for Dallas, which had avoided commemoration of the darkest day in its history.
At Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where Kennedy is buried, family members laid a wreath at his grave, where Jackie Kennedy and two of their children also are buried.
JFK’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, who is now the US ambassador to Japan, commemorated the anniversary of the death privately
Meanwhile, ceremonies in Wexford and Limerick were also held to mark the death of JFK, the first Catholic Irish-American US president, who visited Ireland shortly before his death.
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