Statement on the 20th Anniversary of the Death of President John F. Kennedy

November 22, 1983

On November 22, 1983, we mark the 20th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy. This young and vibrant man was struck down by an assassin's bullet in one of the most tragic episodes in our nation's history.

The events of that day in Dallas ushered in a wave of universal mourning that led people of all races and religions to fill their churches, temples, and mosques to pray for the fate of this one man. Never before in the history of the world had the thoughts of 4 billion people been focused in such a singular way.

Later, leaders from around the world would come to walk and stand shoulder to shoulder to pay tribute to this leader of the free world and eloquent spokesman for America.

People not yet born or too young to remember have learned of the deep trauma and grief his death brought to our country. We all remember the bright smile and wit he added to public life. He was dedicated to a strong America and the pursuit of the best for all our citizens. His leadership reflected one of his favorite quotes from Aristotle that defined the state of happiness as the exercise of all a man's ``vital powers along the lines of excellence.''

Across the Potomac River from the White House burns the Eternal Flame in Arlington Cemetery that marks J. F. K.'s final resting place. It is a flame that will always bring his spirit to our hearts and those of generations to come.