Remembering President Kennedy: The 50th Anniversary of his Inaugural Speech

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I don't remember President Kennedy, perhaps because I was not born during his term as President. All i knew about the Kennedys was the scandals that came out often, the political humor regarding the scandals, and the lampooning in the Simpsons in the form of Mayor Quimby. That, at least, was the extend of my knowledge of President Kennedy until high school. In high school I took the AP American History class, and enjoyed very brain bending, hand cramping minute of it. My teacher was conservative, and his positions on a lot of things reflected that conservativism. When he spoke of President Kennedy, he spoke of the big events that marked his presidency: the bay of pigs, the escalation of the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, of course, his assassination.Years later, I learned of the National Endowment for the Arts founding and the role the First Lady had in that movement. I learned of the rumors of extramarital affairs of the President. I read about and watched in film the conspiracy theories regarding the assassination, and watched documentaries on the political rhetoric that led to the assassination in Dallas. But the one thing I took for granted, aside from his declaration that he was a jelly-filled doughnut, was his famous line, "Ask not what this country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."In a world of free giveaways, government run programs to feed and house others, I think it's time we stop to think about this position. It isn't what we can get out of our country that is important, but rather what we bring to our nation. Whether it be outstanding scholarship, sportsmanship, or the best chili in the world, it is up to us as individuals to make this country great. But more than that, as Kennedy said, it is up to other nations to stop relying on the US to fix their problems, but to band together and serve the World Stage with one purpose: to better the lives of everyone. And finally, a lesson that political pundits should take to heart (on all sides), we are a strong nation if we are not divided, but united in a common cause. Perhaps we as a nation can take this time to think back to those ideals President Kennedy gave to us 50 years ago. Let's stop thinking about ourselves, stop thinking about the short term win, but look for long term progress for our nation.