TEMPO.CO, Washington, DC - The US has been marking 50 years since President John F Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas. The city, which long struggled with the legacy of the assassination, is hosting a series of official events.
Kennedy, who had served less than three years, is often ranked among the nation's most revered presidents. Just 46 when he died, he is praised for his youthful vigor, his leadership through the Cuban missile crisis and his vision 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.
Kennedy's family members laid a wreath on his grave at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC yesterday. His wife Jackie and two of their children had also been buried there.
President Barack Obama issued a proclamation for flags to be flown at half mast at the White House, US Capitol and other government buildings."Today, we honor his memory and celebrate his enduring imprint on American history," he said.
Among official events in Dallas yesterday, the city's symphony orchestra performed and bells tolled at the minute of Kennedy's death. Crowds thronged the ceremony at Dealey Plaza, where the president was shot.
Elsewhere, wreaths were laid in the capital of Germany, Berlin, where Kennedy gave his Cold War-era "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in June 1963.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 when he and his wife 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 (18:30 GMT), Kennedy's convertible passed the Texas School Book Depository. Gunshots rang out. Bullets struck the president in the head and neck. Half an hour later, Kennedy was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
He was the fourth US president assassinated while in office, but the first to have his death captured on film. Soon after, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One.
Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine Corps veteran and Soviet defector employed at the depository at the time, was arrested in connection with the shooting. On November 24, 1963, he 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.
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