“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country” are the most memorable words uttered in John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address. They’re words Americans can’t forget, and in honor of his 100th birthday, his family is here to bring those words to the forefront again.
Caroline Kennedy, JFK’s surviving daughter, and his grandchildren created a video with the JFK Library to remember their father and grandfather. This Monday, May 29, would have been the former president’s 100th birthday.
Kennedy opens the video saying, “I have thought about him and missed him every day of my life.”
She continues, “Growing up without him was made easier by all the people who kept him in their hearts, who told me that he inspired them to work and fight and believe in a better world, to give something back to this country that has given so much to so many.”
Kennedy knows her father is remembered fondly, but she still thinks it’s important to bring some of his messages forward again in 2017.
“So many of the issues that are now in the headlines had their roots in the 1960s,” Kennedy told CNN. “Studying history really isn’t just about the past. It’s really about what kind of world we want to create.”
She’s chosen her children to help spread the message, too.
“[My children], I think, are the best people to take that message forward into the 21st century,” she told CNN.
“My grandfather would be proud of how far we’ve come as a nation since 1963, but he’d have been the first to tell us that we have a long way to go,” Rose Kennedy Schlossberg said. “I hope everyone, regardless of age or party, will remember what President Kennedy told America, decades ago: This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal and the rights of every man are diminished once the rights of one man are threatened.”
Because these words are just as true and important as they were in the 1960s, so when you remember Kennedy this May 29, remember what he stood for, as well.
If you want to celebrate the late president, you can even sign his birthday card.