John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address (1961)
A Closer Look
John F. Kennedy rode to his inauguration with the outgoing president, Dwight Eisenhower. Robert Frost read one of his poems at the ceremony. Frost had written a poem for the occasion called "Dedication." As he approached the microphone he was blinded by the sun's glare and he was unable to read it and recited instead "The Gift Outright," from memory. In this picture Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is to the right of Kennedy. Can you recognize anyone else?
About the Media
Probably the most famous line from Kennedy's inaugural address is, "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." As President, he launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II. In 1962 he went to the brink of nuclear war in the Cuban missile crisis but in 1963 he secured an important nuclear test ban treaty with the USSR. He also established the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress.
About the Artist
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the youngest man elected President of the United States. He was a World War II Naval hero and a senator from Massachusetts. He narrowly defeated Richard M. Nixon to become the 35th President in 1961. On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas.
WRITE ABOUT IT
- Make a list of what you see and hear in the radio production.
- How does the producer express the message of the radio commercial?
- What is your opinion of the radio production? How does it make you feel?