WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service will commemorate the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth by dedicating a Forever stamp in his honor at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
The 10 a.m. February 20 Presidents Day ceremony, free and open to the public, will kick off the 6th Annual Presidents Day Family Festival. There is a fee to enter the library and museum to attend the festival. Children 17 years old and under are free.
The stamp features a 1960 photograph by Ted Spiegel of Kennedy campaigning for president in Seattle. The artwork accompanying the stamp, showing Kennedy in a reflective pose, is a 1970 oil painting by Aaron Shikler (courtesy of the White House / White House Historical Association). The Forever stamp, available only at the event on Presidents Day, will be available nationwide in Post Offices February 21. In late January, customers may pre-order the stamps for delivery after February 21 atusps.com/shop. The public is asked to share the news using the hashtag #JFKStamps.
“Our family is honored that the Postal Service is commemorating my grandfather with this stamp,” said Jack Schlossberg, grandson of John F. Kennedy. “As we mark the centennial of his birth, we hope that the stamp will be an enduring symbol of President Kennedy’s call for service, innovation, and inclusion, and his belief that we each have the power to make this world a better place.”
Born May 29, 1917, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. He remains for many a captivating and charismatic personality — one who appealed to the nation’s higher ideals and inspired young Americans to engage in public service.
On January 20, 1961, Kennedy, at age 43, became the nation’s first Catholic president and the youngest person elected to the presidency. In his Inaugural Address, he famously called upon Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
In the early months of his administration, Kennedy announced his signature initiative, the Peace Corps, to aid people in developing nations. In May 1961, Kennedy announced the bold goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade, setting the nation on the path toward achieving the historic Moon landing in 1969.
During the height of the Cold War, Kennedy confronted the Soviet Union in a series of conflicts that could have escalated into a major war. During the summer of 1961, for example, he defended the status of West Berlin, a small pocket of freedom within Soviet-supported East Germany, when it came under threat from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
Kennedy opposed Khrushchev again in the fall of 1962 after Soviet forces installed nuclear missiles in Cuba. Against the urging of his military advisers to bomb the missile sites, Kennedy decided on a naval quarantine to prevent further shipments of military equipment to Cuba. After suspenseful days in which war appeared imminent, Soviet ships heading to Cuba turned back, and Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles.
On June 11, 1963, Kennedy made an impassioned speech on civil rights that characterized the unequal status and treatment of blacks in America as a moral crisis. He then submitted a bill to end racial segregation, which in substance was passed after his death as the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. His death at age 46 left the nation grief-stricken, all the more so because of the unrealized potential of his presidency.
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