Remembering Camelot: The 50th Anniversary of a Dream cut short


When people look back to a kingdom where grace, mystery, honor, change, beauty, and peace reigned, they think of Camelot. Camelot was that mythical kingdom. It was run by King Arthur, his knights of the round table, Merlin, and his Queen, Guinevere. Their kingdom was archetypical of how a kingdom should not only be run, but also what it should stand for.  

Jack & Jackie | Iconic Images Ever since the fall of Camelot, kings and queens have tried throughout the centuries to replicate the image, grace, courage, intellect, hope, and the belief in both a utopia and man’s desire to make the world a better place for future generations.  However, we Americans are the luckiest of the bunches, because we have had our own version of Camelot. It is 50 years to the day when tragedy took her away from us, but we are still paying homage to the achievements and struggles of Camelot and what could have been.

 The Kennedy Administration only lasted 1,036 days, but it was in those 1,036 days that it became the Presidential Administration that would not only define the 20th century, but also cause Americans to change the way they viewed themselves. Just like the original Camelot was ruled by a king, his queen, his knights, and cabinet so was this one. The king was of course John F. Kennedy, his queen was Jackie Kennedy, their knight; were his brothers: Bobby Kennedy, Ted Kennedy and the U.S. Congress.

Jack & Jackie | isnt it iconic?...dont ya think?It was January 20th 1961 that John F. Kennedy took the world stage at his inauguration and gave one of the most historical speeches in American history. “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (People’s remembering Camelot 50 years later p. 66) It was in that simple passage from his inauguration address that Kennedy pledged to seek peaceful resolutions to the world’s problems. Yet all that was stated above in his inauguration speech is not what people remember of his inauguration speech it is these lines instead that we remember: “ Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. All of this will not be finished in the first 100 days...or even perhaps in our lifetime.”  (Ibis. P.66)

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However, Jack was not the only one making changes to how the President of the United States was looked upon; his wife Jackie was doing the same for the role of Frist Lady. It can be said that Jackie Kennedy set the standard for what it was meant to be the First Lady.  Jackie Kennedy was one of our most stylish, sexy, discrete, and chic First Lady of American we ever had in the 20th century. She was fluent in three languages, which were French, Italian, and Spanish. It was this combination with her natural beauty and glamour that made her a rock star on both American and foreign soil.

The Kennedy’s involvement in the Civil Rights movement started with a simple phone called. It was a call made by her husband to a then pregnant 31 year Cotta Scott King, whose husband was in prison for marching for civil rights that would prove to be the turning point for the Kennedy administration. The electoral win of Kennedy gave the Civil Right activist such as Dr. King new found hope in ending Jim Crow in the South. Dr. King himself stated the hopes and expected he held for the new Kennedy administration when it came to Civil Rights: “use the whole weight of his office to remove the ugly weight of segregation from the shoulders of our nation” (isb. P. 113 para. 1)   Nonetheless, by 1963 that would not be the story. In fact, little had been done by the Kennedy Administration to curtail the racists tide in the South.  Jim Crow prove to be a problem for both King and Kennedy. For the Kennedy’s, the Southern Democrats had threatened to torpedo his Administration entire agenda if the White House attempted to end Jim Crow. King on the other hand, feared that his followers were on the verge of losing patience with his non-violence tactics, if the President did not act soon.


On a spring day in May of 1963, the South racial problems exploded, when a large group of Dr. King’s followers marched to Birmingham, Ala., to protest discrimination hiring practices. The then, city’s public safety chief Eugene “Bull” Connor, unleashed an assault by both cops and firemen who attacked the demonstrators, many of whom were children and teens. The televised images of the snaring police dogs lunging at frightened demonstrators and the high – pressure fire hoses that ripped off the cloths of many demonstrators backs were frighten images for the American public! Not long after this, peaceful demonstration had occurred that the Civil Rights community was hit by another act of violence with the assignation of one of its leaders. The assassination of Medgar Evans who was a veteran of D- Day had sparked in Kennedy to send what most thought to be a far – reaching bill to Congress that would affirmed and enforced the equal rights for all Americans. This bill of course was the 1964 Voting Act Bill. King praised Kennedy stating, “that is the most sweeping and forthright proposals ever presented by an American President… that will take the nation a long way towards the realization of the ideals, of freedom and of justice for all people.” It would be an unfortunate turn of events that King, not Kennedy, got to see the Voting Act Bill signed into law!


... of John F. Kennedy - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & MuseumHowever, one of the greatest achievements that the Kennedy Administration achieved was in science, which was the landing of a man on the moon. On July 20, 1961, two Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon and days later returned, safely. This event was followed up by two other special events, but of a more political sense.  Kennedy’s visited to


Berlin, Germany. In 1961 Kennedy went to Berlin, were what would become known, later as the Berlin Wall, was starting to form.   In order, to stop the tide of refugees fleeing to the West, the government was building a wall, to separate, West Berlin from East Berlin. The Berlin wall would stand for 28 years before it was finally torn down during the Reagan Administration! After he failed to defuse the standoff, between the United States Hawks and the Soviet Belligerence, Kennedy himself, went to Berlin and saw for his own eyes the formation of the wall. It was in that very moment, that Kennedy declared his solidarity with the people of West Berlin, in his famous statement: “Inch bin ein Berliner,” which means “I am a citizen of Berlin”.  


The second event of political importance happened on October 22, 1962, this event has become known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.  An American U-2 spy snapped 928 photos that clearly showed that the Soviets were building nuclear missiles, set in Cuba, which was 90 miles from America. Kennedy quickly convened an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the National Security Council, were by some of the war hawks were advocating a massive air strike and a full –scale invasion of Cuba.  Kennedy orders a blockade of Cuba, in an attempt, to buy time to find a peaceful solution. Even in seeking a peaceful resolution, Kennedy stated clear where America stood by stating: “If any nuclear missile is launched from Cuba against any nation, in the Western Hemisphere, the U.S. would retaliate, 27 ships approaching Cuba and the U.S. forces were on alert, tension were nearing a breaking point on the 24th. Then all of a sudden, six Soviet ships turned back and by the 28th the crisis was over, with a humiliated Khrushchev agreeing to ship all missiles back to Russia. Kennedy also agreed to not invade Cuba and secretly promises to removes U.S. missiles from Turkey. This was a peaceful end, to the last ruminate of the Cold War, but sadly, it would be the last important event, that Kennedy himself, would ever be in charge of as, the President of the United States.


Mary McGrory said to me that we’ll never laugh...                            
   November 22, 1963, would be one of those days that people would remember when they heard the news that Camelot had died! The day started out peaceful for the President and First Lady. The day was filled with laughter and being impress with the large crowd that come out to see them, in Texas during his reelection campaign the president decided to do away with the bullet proof bubble for the top of the limousine, in which, he and the first lady would be riding in. Along the way, he saw a sign held up by some children saying “Mr. President Please stop your car and shake our hands” and he did, just that.
A revealing new book about John F Kennedy's final year with his wife Jackie details with explicit detail the fateful day the president was shot on


Then at 12:30 p.m., shots were fired at the presidential limousine. It was a total of three shots, that hit the president and several that hit other members, in the limousine. When it was all over, the President of the United States was dead!  


Although the Kennedy Administration only lasted 1,036 days, it quickly becomes known as the Camelot Era, no one used that term, at the time. It was a week, after the assassination, that Mrs. Kennedy invited Life magazine writer Theodore H. White to Hyannis Port. Jackie told him a quote that the president used to say, which was: “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.” This is how the Kennedy Administration will always be remembered, as a mythical dynasty, that if given the chance to finish the work they started could have heal the race wounds of our country, pushed for more open dialogue between the races, created more jobs, housing opportunities, and  help end Communists in Cuba and around the world.  These are the things and many others that we will never know about the Kennedy Administration, but what they did do for the full 1,036 days is more than some presidents have done in 4 or 8 years. For that we celebrate them!
 Reporter by Nadia Johnson                                                                                   
December 9, 2013                                                                                      
W.O.W Radio                                    




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