The US is marking 50 years since President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas.
Dallas, which has long struggled with the legacy of the murder, hosts a series of official events on Friday.
John F. Kennedy is often ranked among the nation’s most revered presidents, though he served less than three years.
He is commemorated for his youthful vigor, his leadership through the Cuban missile crisis, and his challenge to America to put a man on the Moon.
But he is also remembered for ordering one of the most disastrous episodes of the Cold War, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of communist Cuba by a CIA-trained paramilitary force of Cuban exiles.
JFK’s family members laid a wreath on his grave at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC on Friday. His wife Jackie Kennedy and two of their children are also buried there.
Nearby, President Barack Obama ordered the White House flag be flown at half mast.
Among official events in Dallas on Friday, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will perform, Mayor Michael Rawlings will give an address, and bells will toll at the minute of Kennedy’s death.
Those events and others conclude a week of tributes to the slain US leader.
John F. Kennedy is often ranked among the nation’s most revered presidents, though he served less than three years
Kennedy, a Democrat, was part of one of the most prominent US political dynasties of the 20th Century.
His father, Joseph, was a wealthy businessman who served in senior positions in the government of President Franklin Roosevelt, including as ambassador to Britain.
Two of his brothers later served as US senators and ran for president. One of them, Robert, was himself assassinated in 1968. Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009, was a champion of progressive causes including universal healthcare.
JFK’s daughter Caroline is now the US ambassador to Japan.
On November 22, 1963, JFK and his wife Jackie travelled to Dallas for early campaigning ahead of the following year’s election.
Crowds of supporters lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple. As the presidential motorcade entered Dealey Plaza at around 12:30 local time, JFK’s convertible passed the Texas School Book Depository.
Gunshots rang out across the plaza. Bullets struck the president in the head and neck. Half an hour later, JFK was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Soon after, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One.
Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee at the depository, was arrested in connection with the shooting.
On November 24, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was scheduled to be transferred from police headquarters to a county jail when he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner.
Although JFK’s murder has provided endless fodder for conspiracy theorists, official inquiries have determined Lee Harvey Oswald alone was responsible for the assassination.
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President Barack Obama paid tribute to the legacy of the past and the politics of the present by awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – to 16 people.
Among those receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom in Wednesday ceremony are former President Bill Clinton, iconic talk show host Oprah Winfrey and late astronaut Sally Ride.
Barack also paid tribute to the memory of President John F. Kennedy.
“This is one of my favorite events every year,” said Barack Obama.
“This year it’s just a little more special, because this marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy establishing this award.”
Former President Bill Clinton was among those receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Barack Obama noted that members of the Kennedy clan were in attendance: Robert Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, and JFK’s grandson and son of Caroline Kennedy, Jack Schlossberg.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” says the White House.
Later in the day, presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton – and first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton – pay another tribute to JFK with a visit to his grave site at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The Obamas and Clintons will lay a wreath near the eternal flame that marks JFK’s final resting place.
The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination is Friday, November 22.
Barack Obama will again speak about JFK’s legacy during a dinner for the Medal of Freedom honorees at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
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Bill Eppridge, the photojournalist who took images of the aftermath of Robert Kennedy’s assassination, has died aged 75.
Bil Eppridge died in hospital in Connecticut from a blood infection caused by a fall.
The image of Robert Kennedy lying on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles is widely considered one of the greatest news photos of all time.
Bil Eppridge worked for Life Magazine at the time of the shooting in 1968.
Friend and fellow photographer David Hume Kennerly said: “He extended a helping hand and a bushel of inspiration to me, and his kindness shaped the course of my career.”
Born in Buenos Aires, Bill Eppridge moved to the US with his family as a young boy.
Bill Eppridge took images of the aftermath of Robert Kennedy’s assassination
Working as a staff photographer for Life Magazine from 1964, he covered a wide variety of stories from revolutions in Latin America to the Beatles’ arrival in the US.
Bill Eppridge followed Robert Kennedy from a campaign event at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles into the back kitchen where a 24-year-old Palestinian Christian, Sirhan Sirhan, shot and killed the 42-year-old presidential hopeful.
He took several black and white images that night, but the most enduring and haunting depicted Kennedy lying on the floor, with a halo of light in the background, with a hotel worker at his side.
“You are not just a photojournalist, you’re a historian,” he once explained when asked how he could keep snapping pictures while someone was lying injured in front of him.
Commenting on his unforgettable image of Robert Kennedy, he said: “I never hung it on my wall.”
Bill Eppridge’s 1965 photo essay about a drug-addicted New York couple inspired the Al Pacino film The Panic in Needle Park.
After leaving Life in 1972, Bill Eppridge worked for other magazines including Time and Sports Illustrated.
Before his death, Bill Eppridge and his wife, Adrienne Aurichio, had been putting the finishing touches to a book on the Beatles, to mark next year’s 50th anniversary of their arrival to the US.
More than 650 items belonging to former President John F. Kennedy were found locked away at the home of former aide David F. Powers, who worked alongside the president for his entire political career.
The lot, which includes rare photographs, clothing and other personal items will be auctioned off next month.
The items were recently discovered at the home of David F. Powers, who was special assistant to John F. Kennedy during his years in the White House and started working for him in 1946.
The auction, by John McInnis Auctioneers, will take place on February 17.
More than 650 items belonging to JFK were found locked away at the home of former aide David F. Powers, who worked alongside the president for his entire political career
“To be auctioned are the personal items he chose to keep close to himself throughout his lifetime. Powers’ collection encompasses years of history with the Kennedy Family and his White House years,” says the auctioneers’ website.
The collection will be on display at the Amesbury, Massachusetts auction house from February 9 through the 16th.