50 years on, nation pauses to remember JFK assassination (VIDEO)


Herman Whalen Jr. of Syracuse, N.Y., kneels at the gravesite of former President John F. Kennedy, his wife Jaqueline Kennedy and other family members at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 22, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. When he was a boy in 1963, Whalen and his family layed a wreath at the gravesite.


Chip Somodevilla

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's life was cut short by an assassin's bullets, the nation paused Friday to remember the 35th president of the United States.

A new marker was unveiled in Dallas' Dealy Plaza featuring the last paragraph of the speech Kennedy was set to give on Nov. 22, 1963.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the speech demonstrates JFK's devotion to faith.

“We, in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than by choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom,” the speech reads as it concludes. “We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, good will toward men.'

“That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: 'except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain.'”

Thousands gathered on a cold, dreary day for the ceremony in Dallas and at Kennedy's grave in Washington, DC, where members of his family paid their respects Friday morning alongside a steady stream of well-wishers.

The Obamas and Clintons laid a wreath at the eternal flame on Thursday.

Flags at the Capitol and White House flew at half-staff, and in Kennedy's hometown of Boston, Gov. Deval Patrick laid a wreath at a statue of the former president.

Bells tolled during a solemn moment of silence in Dallas to mark the moment Kennedy was shot.