Inauguration Day

The youngest man ever elected President, JFK came to office in one of the closest elections in U.S. history. On Inauguration Day, he understood that he would have to project a commanding image to unite the country and instill confidence both at home and abroad. Shortly after noon on January 20, 1961, he delivered a fourteen-minute address that electrified his audience and remains a source of inspiration half a century later. Mrs. Kennedy remembered the moments after her husband left the inaugural platform.

Jacqueline Kennedy congratulates her husband after he delivered his Inaugural address



Photograph by Henry Burroughs © AP Images/Henry Burrourghs

"Everyone said, why didn't Jack kiss you after, which of course, he would never do there. But you had to march out in such order that I was about eight behind him . . . And I so badly wanted to see him before the lunch, just to see him alone. . . . And I caught up to him in the Capitol and, oh, I was just so proud of him.

And there's a picture where I have my hand on his chin and you know, he's just looking at me and there really were tears in his eyes. . . . suddenly a flash came because I didn't think there was anyone there. In the papers it said, wife chucks him under chin. I mean, that was so much more emotional than any kiss because his eyes really did fill with tears. " - Jacqueline Kennedy