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1961: The Inauguration of President Kennedy

1961: The Inauguration of President Kennedy
Photo Credit To https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/President_Kennedy_inaugural_address_(color).jpg

At the inauguration, Kennedy gave a well-known speech, of which the most famous line probably is: “(…) ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

On this day in 1961, the President of the United States of America John F. Kennedy was inaugurated on the traditional location of such events – at the eastern front of the U.S. Capitol (since Reagan and till today, they are held on the opposite side of that same building).

What made Kennedy’s inauguration special? Firstly, Kennedy was the youngest elected president in history, and that was so much more obvious because he inherited the presidency from Dwight David Eisenhower, who was the oldest president till then (he was already 70). Furthermore, Kennedy was the first and, to this date, the only Roman Catholic to hold the position of U.S. president.

In the night before the inauguration, heavy snow fell in Washington, so it was even considered that the ceremony should be canceled. However, in the morning on this day, it stopped snowing and the sun appeared. In order to clear out the streets from the snow, even the U.S. Army was called to help. On that morning, on the eve of the ceremony, Kennedy went to Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington. After the Mass he proceeded to the Capitol with outgoing President Eisenhower. The inauguration ceremony started on a fine weather, with the sun rays being reflected from the large white snow surfaces.

Kennedy swore an oath holding his hand on a family Bible. The oath was administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren (precisely the Warren Commission will be later in charge of the investigation of Kennedy’s assassination). Kennedy gave a well-known speech, of which the most famous line probably is: “(…) ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

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