Fifty years ago today, John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the United States!
Our youngest elected President, and the first and only Roman Catholic President to this point, Kennedy inspired the nation in a way that cannot fully be measured even after fifty years!
In a short Presidency of 1,036 days, ended by a tragic assassination which anyone who lived through it will never forget, Kennedy promoted the space program, the Peace Corps, civil rights, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the beginning of recognition that the Cold War confrontation needed to be changed in some way so as to avoid the kind of danger that the Cuban Missile Crisis represented to world peace and stability!
Kennedy gave us the thought of new beginnings and a sense of optimism, which sadly no longer exists in the highly charged world of American politics in 2010!
His memory should be honored by working toward unity and cooperation, but neither is likely anytime soon! 🙁
Today marks 50 years since Democratic Presidential nominee John F. Kennedy proposed the concept of a Peace Corps, which became law in the first months of his administration in 1961, and has been the longest lasting legacy that he left behind!
The concept of a Peace Corps actually began with Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey, who suggested it a few years earlier. Ironically, although Humphrey competed against Kennedy for the Presidential nomination in primary states and lost, his idea was picked up by Kennedy in the last weeks of the election campaign.
The idea that young Americans and others not so young would be willing to give up two years to do good deeds in the so called “third world” nations of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, instilled in the “baby boomer” generation the motivation to help others through involvement in road building, housing, health care, and education, and became part of the idealism of the 1960s!
The Peace Corps still exists today, and does good deeds which makes the US look a lot better than all of the military forces and economic impact that our country is more remembered for, often to our detriment overseas!
One of the best ideas and government agencies ever created, it is proper that we salute Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy for the Peace Corps concept and the good work it continues to do today! 🙂