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Tribute to JFK - John F Kennedy - A Leader for Equal Rights

JKF served as US President for only 2 years - but oh, my - what an impact he made upon the world! November 22nd marks the anniversary of his death. Come journey through this amazing life and family and see the everlasting impact a man of only 46 years can have on a country and upon our global world.

On November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy (commonly referred to as JFK), America's 35th President was fatally shot with 2 rifle bullets. As a tribute to a much beloved American President, a man who called for congressional action to fully end the morale injustice of racism in the United States, a man who promoted physical fitness, a man who initiated the Peace Corps, a man who courageously defended freedom, a man who died decades too soon, come with me as we journey together through his life, his family his great accomplishments in his short 46 years of life.

JFK and Jackie Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy in her wedding gown sitting next to JFK in his tuxedo

Jackie Kennedy in her wedding gown sitting next to JFK in his tuxedo

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You!

JFK Freed Others From Cultural Slavery

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 and on November 22, 1963 he was assasinated. John Kennedy was commonly referred to by his initials JFK. He was a senator and the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his death in 1963, he initiated the Peace Corps and forever changed the culture of the United States by ending desegregation of black and white in restrooms and buses - he implemented the laws President Lincoln established against slavery - he freed those of color from the stigma of cultural slavery.

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It is important to note that Kennedy never lost an election, served four years in the US Navy while he only served 2 years as President, his statements, his leadership, his words are a legacy to the American public.

JFK actively supported the US Space Exploration Program which on July 20, 1969 landed the Apollo 11 on the moon.

During his short presidency of only 2 years (1961-1963) , he initiated legislation to eliminate the social injustice for African Americans. JKF called for added legislation from Congress in addition to calling upon the American people's personal assistance to have true equality throughout American society irrespective of race, religion or color of the skin. JFK also initiated the Peace Corps which remains even today a successfully government program encouraging college students to serve in foreign countries.

Jackie Kennedy Quote After JFK's Assassination

"He didn’t even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights... it had to be some silly little Communist."

JFK and Jackie Sailing - Taught the World How to Trim the Sails in Troubled Waters

JFK and Jackie Kennedy in black and white photo out on a sailboat with JFK trimming the sail along with famous quotes about trimming the sails to navigate troubled waters

JFK and Jackie Kennedy in black and white photo out on a sailboat with JFK trimming the sail along with famous quotes about trimming the sails to navigate troubled waters

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

JFK's Request for Legislation & Support of All Citizens

Even after 100 years, even after much blood shed in the United States, even after all the valiant efforts, words and deeds of Abraham Lincoln, freedom did not reign in the United States for the entire population. Segregation and discrimination remained a way of life - both in the North (albeit in a more quiet fashion) and in the South. Bonds of injustice remained in movie houses, restaurants, buses, etc...

Inequality throughout the United States continued to prevail. Discrimination based upon color of skin continued. The constitution said it was color blind but public places had different places for man and women of a different race.

From the outcries of the university campus in Birmingham, Alabama, following extreme strife where the national guard was called to restore order for the University of Alabama, a young President responded with courage, conviction with a plan both for the Congress of the United States and new legislation but also for a personal plea for individuals to put prejudice behind them, to walk the talk that the freedoms of the United States was built upon in our constitution that outlined equality.

JFK called for examination of conscious and reminded us that this country was founded upon equality. Segregation and discrimination was an ugly topic that had divided this great nation for many years. JFK united the states, he sought to unify the North and South. He brought healing after 100 years of freeing the slaves. He gave to the American people, respect for themselves, respect for our constitution and wisdom to know we are stronger when we are unified - not just in the public places but in our homes and in our hearts.

JKF stated that this is more than a legislative issue. New laws are need but this is a "moral issue", "as old as the scriptures and the heart of the American constitution". Fellow Americans need to be treated equality.

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We have as United State's citizens participated in a worldwide struggle to protect the right to be free. We have sought to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free.

"A great change is at hand, and our task our obligation is to make that revolution that change peaceful and constructive for all."

"Race has no place in American life or law."

In JFK's own words: "Legislation cannot solve this problem alone it must be solved in the homes of every American, in every community across our country."

"I ask the support of all of our citizens."


JFK Establishes the Peace Corps

"I have today signed an Executive Order providing for the establishment of a Peace Corps on a temporary pilot basis. I am also sending to Congress a message proposing authorization of a permanent Peace Corps. This Corps will be a pool of trained American men and women sent overseas by the U.S. Government or through private institutions and organizations to help foreign countries meet their urgent needs for skilled manpower.

It is our hope to have 500 or more people in the field by the end of the year.

The initial reactions to the Peace Corps proposal are convincing proof that we have, in this country, an immense reservoir of such men and women--anxious to sacrifice their energies and time and toil to the cause of world peace and human progress.

In establishing our Peace Corps we intend to make full use of the resources and talents of private institutions and groups. Universities, voluntary agencies, labor unions and industry will be asked to share in this effort--contributing diverse sources of energy and imagination--making it clear that the responsibility for peace is the responsibility of our entire society.

We will only send abroad Americans who are wanted by the host country--who have a real job to do--and who are qualified to do that job. Programs will be developed with care, and after full negotiation, in order to make sure that the Peace Corps is wanted and will contribute to the welfare of other people. Our Peace Corps is not designed as an instrument of diplomacy or propaganda or ideological conflict. It is designed to permit our people to exercise more fully their responsibilities in the great common cause of world development.

Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed--doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language.

But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps--who works in a foreign land--will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace."

Statement Upon Signing Order Establishing the Peace Corps

President John F. Kennedy
March 1, 1961 as provided by as accessed on November 20,2009.

Portrait of the 35th President of the United States - John F Kennedy

John F Kennedy - JFK

John F Kennedy - JFK

John F. Kennedy Quote

John F. Kennedy's most famous saying:

"Ask not what your country can do for you,

ask what you can do for your country."

Summary of JFK's Life

Kennedy, John Fitzgerald (1917-1963)

Student, Choate Academy (1932-1935), (Wallingford, CT)

Princeton University (1935-1936),

Harvard College (1936-1940),

Stanford University (1941);

Naval Officer (1941-1945);

Representative (1947-1953) and

Senator (1953-1961) from Massachusetts;

President of the United States (1961-1963).

as provided by the as assessed on November 20, 2009

The Peace Corps Today - JFK's Legacy

The Peace Corps today is much larger than JFK's vision of 500 volunteers, it now boasts over 7,600 Volunteers in over 75 countries! And yet it has remained true to JFK's original vision of Volunteers exercising "more fully their responsibilities in the great common cause of world development." It is not a political or diplomatic service. It is not a "fully paid position", it is a volunteer service with a nominal stipend for sustenance only.

The countries the Peace Corps serve include Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe and the Middle East. Volunteers contribute in various fields from youth outreach, community development, education and information technology and agriculture.

Who are the Peace Corps Volunteers? While JFK's visions began strictly with college age students, the Peace Corps now boasts a full range of ages including retirees. The Peace Corps represents a rick diversity of the American people who serve with nominal pay by sharing their skills in education, promoting HIV/AIDS awareness, to soil conservation in various countries around the world.

The Peace Corps seeks to match the Volunteers to where their skills and life experiences can best be utilized throughout the world.

Jackie Kennedy throwing her wedding bouquet courtesy of

Jackie Kennedy throwing her wedding bouquet courtesy of

Kennedy Family

John F Kennedy and his family - Jackie and son John and daughter Carolyn

John F Kennedy and his family - Jackie and son John and daughter Carolyn

John F. Kennedy & His Family

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was the wife of the 35thpresident of the United States, John F. Kennedy. She served as First Lady during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

Years after JFK's death Jacqueline married a Greek shipping tycoon named Aristotle Onassis. They were married from 1968 until Onassis' death in 1975.

She was always known for her style and elegance. There is an amazing collection of her personal jewelry recreated by Camrose and Kross - see the link below. Jackie is fondly remembered for her diplomatic skills, multiple languages (she was fluent in French and also spoke Spanish ) that she spoke and her contributions to the arts and historic preservation.

Sadly Americans also remember her grace and public stoicism in the wake of President Kennedy's assassination.

And Their Children:

Arabella born August 23, 1956, a stillborn daughter

Caroline Bouvier Kennedy born November 27, 1957 has two daughter and a son.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. born November 25, 1960 married Carolyn Bessette. Tragically both JFK Jr and wife Carolyn and Carolyn's sister died in a plane crash on July 16, 1990.

and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy born August 7, 1963 died frm Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome 2 days after his birth.

JFK Jr and wife Carolyn

JFK Jr and wife Carolyn at George's 2nd anniversary party

JFK Jr and wife Carolyn at George's 2nd anniversary party

JFK Jr & Wife Carolyn

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. (November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999), often referred to as John F. Kennedy, Jr., JFK Jr., John Jr., John Kennedy or John-John, was an American magazine publisher (George), lawyer and pilot. He was the oldest son of John F. Kennedy, United States President. He was killed in a plane crash with his wife and sister-in-law on on July 16, 1999.

In an interview with Oprah, JFK Jr stated his father like to annoy him by calling him Sam.

Carolyn Jeanne Bessette Kennedy (January 7, 1966 – July 16, 1999) was the wife of JKF Jr.

Carolyn Kennedy

Carolyn Kennedy

Carolyn Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (born November 27, 1957) is the only surviving immediate family member. She is an American author and attorney, daughter of US President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

She is married to Edmin Schlossber, an exhibit designer and is rumored to have 7 houses! She received her law degree from Columbia Law School. She has contributed her time and expertise to education, law, politics and charitable foundations.

Philip Katz tells an adorable story how she named her daughter after her little sister. Jackie's sister was called Lee because when Jackie was little she was not able to say her little sister's name of "Caroline". Years later upon her first female child, she named her Caroline after his beloved sister whose name she was unable to pronounce!

Caroline Kennedy's Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention

Caroline Kennedy's Speech at the Democratic National Convention

Tribute speech to her uncle US Senator Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts.

Caroline Kennedy's speech at the 2008 nomination of the democratic presidential candidate for Senator Barrack Obama.

Prior to her introduction, the song that is playing is Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline.   Sadly I am unable to share this song via video with you. 

Caroline pays tribute to two men who have changed her life - Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Senator Obama and the life of this country. And she states "their stories are very different but they share a commitment to timeless American ideals of justice ad fairness, service and sacrifice, faith and family."

"Leaders like them come along rarely, but once or twice in a lifetime, they come along just when we need them the most. This is one of those moments."

Profile in Courage Award

"The Profile in Courage Award was created in 1989 by members of President Kennedy's family to honor President John F. Kennedy and to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most.

The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions."

John F. Kenney Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA

"The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of our nation's thirty-fifth president and to all those who through the art of politics seek a new and better world.

Located on a ten-acre park, overlooking the sea that he loved and the city that launched him to greatness, the Library stands as a vibrant tribute to the life and times of John F. Kennedy.

Come tour our Museum which portrays the life, leadership, and legacy of President Kennedy, conveys his enthusiasm for politics and public service, and illustrates the nature of the office of the President.

Students and scholars can also arrange to conduct research using our collection of historical materials chronicling mid-20th century politics and the life and administration of John F. Kennedy."

Jackie Quote on the JFK Legend

Now, I think that I should have known that he was magic all along. I did know it — but I should have guessed that it would be too much to ask to grow old with and see our children grow up together. So now, he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.

Jackie Quote On Making a Difference

One man can make a difference and every man should try.

Tribute to John F Kennedy - A Leader for Equal Rights & Peace

While to many his life is denoted as Camelot - a fairy-tale, in reality, he was the leader the United Stated needed even if all we could have was 2 years, he was the leader that brought us unity, ended the segregation on the buses and in the restaurants, a leader who had the foresight to create the Peace Corps which continues successfully today!

He was born to a great nation, born to a great political family but his talents of unifying our nation during the height of ugly human emotions is a legacy of equal rights and peace that continues fervently today. His ideas echoed our founding fathers. He gave us the voice our founding fathers could not transcend.

John F. Kennedy was more than a great father, politician, speaker, he was a true leader that taught us we are one great national and an integral part of the great global populace.

I hope this article instilled upon you what one man can do in a few short years. I hope I share some new information with you and perhaps some new insights.

Enjoy this website? Not a member yet?


© 2009 Kelly Kline Burnett


Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on February 15, 2014:

Sailing Soul,

First - what a wonderful moniker - love your name! Yes, we need more president's like JFK, the world needs more people like JFK. All can strive for a better world and all of us can pray for our leaders to be as great as John F Kennedy.

Sailing soul on February 13, 2014:

If only our Nation could acquire A President like JFK

Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on December 20, 2012:

John F. Kennedy is truly timeless. There is so much history. He was truly a great leader and forever changed not just the United States but the world.

Andrew H. from Fort Wayne on December 20, 2012:

Thoroughly enjoyed this read!

Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on November 30, 2012:


Thank you so much for stopping by. Always good to see your profile here.

History is so critical to our every day lives and yet we don't stress the importance. I know the story is old but it is still important today. We cannot forget those who have forever changed our lives - for the better.

JFK made diversity real not just law. This change was paramount to our very being. Tearing down the barriers was needed. JFK did it with grace with lasting results.

James A Watkins from Chicago on November 30, 2012:

This is a very nice tribute to JFK. We all loved JFK, didn't we? All of us who were young at the time anyway?

It is a shame that he died so young. Thank you for the good read.


Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on January 15, 2012:


JFK was a great man. He gave the world so much in such a short span of time. John F Kennedy is truly a testament to the fact that one man can make a difference.

Thank you for your high marks.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on January 14, 2012:

This was truly fascinating and informative. I wish they had buttons for that. Voted up and all but funny. You've done an incredible job here on remembering this great man and the positive things he implemented like the Peace Corps and Civil Rights legislation.

Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on November 09, 2011:

ethel smith,

You are right - "what a guy". After his death the Queen of England designated one acre in honor of JFK and made it American soil! Additionally, she gave to Jackie a beautiful piece of jewelry. The piece she had designed was a cross because Jackie loved crosses. The stones she had reused or today we would say perhaps re-purposed. The stones she choose were from a piece that also went on to international notoriety - yes, you guessed it the most famous wedding ring of our day - Diana's ring.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I do wish JFK was here today and JFK Jr. - a great loss to our international community.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on November 09, 2011:

You covered that so well. A complex character but what a guy. I remember his death, although I was only a child in the UK. Sad turn of events

Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on August 14, 2011:


Thank you so much for your kind words. I worked hard on this because I admire her so much. To have leaders set a strong example endures throughout history.

DJPinna on August 06, 2011:

I just wrote a small blurb about Jackie Kennedy, but this hub has put me to shame. EXTREMELY well done - thank you for taking the time to put this together!!

Damian Delaney on October 12, 2010:

JFK accomplished little if anything in his short presidency. He was responsible for several severe mistakes, one which took us to brink of a nuclear war. I am sorry that he was assasinated. And I loved him when I was a kid. But the Kennedy Dynasty was not good for this country. And I am sick of every street, airport, school, and porta-potty in the country being named for these guys. In general, they were a great disgrace.

Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on July 27, 2010:

Tusitala Tom,

You make a very good point. The culture in American has been very self indulgent with little regard to world events - even today. The brain drain that is occurring here in America combined with the new global perspective is needed now more than ever but it is not politically acceptable - even 40 years after his death.

Kennedy wrote allot about import/export when he was a senator, I would love to see his detailed writings. I believe the man had a global perspective but his writing crew knew his audience was America.

Interesting, I have presented the question of how to market beyond the US borders here in the Hub Pages forums and one of the responses was why? I was surprised someone took the time for that - the world is a great place and to share beyond our borders via the Internet and Hub Pages is the most wonderful item of our time. Yes, the cell phone is neat, the spell check makes me a better person, but to realize how the entire human race is really the same - we share the same blood cells and 640 muscles. Our skin is different, our language but the differences are really so few.

You bring up the wake up call that is needed for all Americans and all of the world - the world is now global - truly global and that is a very good thing. If we ignore it and it surprises us - that is our own fault.

Tom Ware from Sydney, Australia on July 27, 2010:

I heard President Kennedy's speech "Ask not what your country can do for you..." when it was actually broadcast on television for the first time many years ago. My immediate response: Why did he not say, "Ask not what the WORLD can do for you, ask what you can do for the WORLD." This would have made him a world leader, instead of simply an American leader. All these years later I still feel that way. I think he (or his speech writer) missed a tremendous opportunity to help unite the world.

As it was, Neil Armstrong had the forsight (or somebody who briefed him did) to claim the world for everyone, not just the good old USA. "Just one small step for a giant leap for Mankind."

Even that would have been a put down today, Mankind being replaced by Humankind, to recognize the other 50 percent of the human race.

KKalmes from Chicago, Illinois on June 05, 2010:

Hello GmaGoldie,

Thank you for this tribute to my 1st favorite president... we loved JFK in our house and his death left our family in mourning for months... each additional Kennedy tragedy reopened those old wounds and we mourned anew. I will definitely bookmark this hub.



Kelly Kline Burnett (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on March 24, 2010:

H P,

These rules to live by and absorb into our daily lives are needed. I love learning about great leaders and am inspired. This comment should have been included - you are absolutely correct. Thank you guiding us.

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on March 23, 2010:

JKF is a loss to humanity.What he said :

"Ask not what your country can do for you,

ask what you can do for your country." That is very true even in individual's personal life in a family.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on January 25, 2010:

Very good indeed! I am a great JFK fan and have been since my school days. I will never forget the morning I heard of the assassination - I was home for university vac and my mother came into my bedroom where I was still sleeping and told me the news. I am not ashamed to admit that I wept. I have recently read James Douglass' deeply-researched and deeply-disturbing book "JFK and the Unspeakable." People who promote peace are always under threat from those who profit from war and hatred.

Thanks for sharing this interesting and important information.

Susan Keeping from Kitchener, Ontario on December 06, 2009:

What an excellent hub, so much detail. Well done.

Karen Russell on December 05, 2009:


small talk on December 05, 2009:

Thank you for this in-depth reminder. And its important to remember that Kennedy was the man who put man on the moon.

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on December 02, 2009:

Great Hub Kelly. I like very much the way you set out this hub and the detail. You get my vote. Occasionally I llok at the speech of JFK on Youtube the speeches still put a shivver up my spine and I'm not even American !

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on November 30, 2009:

I watched JFK's presidency very closely and came to admire him immensely. While I favored Hubert Humphrey in the presidential primaries, I voted for JFK in 1960. His presidency indeed created a Camelot atmosphere. While I was at NYU I spent hours at the library reading Kennedy's extensive remarks in Congress outlining the econonic consequences of the textile industry's demise in the northeast, when corporations sought cheaper, nonunion labor in the South. I was glued to my television during his closely contested election win over Richard Nixon and during that sad weekend following his Nov. 22 assassination. It was just as if a family member had died. Thanks for keeping President Kennedy's memory alive.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on November 29, 2009:

Congratulations for your Hub that is on the Hubnuggets List! Way to go Kelly! Why don't you check it out: To John F. Kennedy and all leaders who make a difference in our lives and the Hubnuggets, three wonderful cheers! :)

Duchess OBlunt on November 27, 2009:

I agree, very well done!

RedElf from Canada on November 24, 2009:

Wow - nicely done!

Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv from Conneticut, USA on November 22, 2009:

Very nicely done --great subject matter

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