JFK's Message Of Citizenship Still Important - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

JFK's Message Of Citizenship Still Important

Posted: Updated:

The Kennedy era has been labeled "Camelot," a time of great optimism, when all things seemed possible. And in this age of partisan divide, his message of citizenship may be more important than ever.

Young and handsome and made for TV, John F. Kennedy was, in 1961, the voice and face of a new generation.

He was also, says University of Pennsylvania graduate and lawyer Scott Reisch, the messenger for a new optimism.

"We seemed to really believe that our best days were ahead of us and that we could each make a difference. And we had this promise, I mean; he called it the new frontier. There was this pioneer spirit, that people could be involved in something exciting and that we were part of an important team that was moving civilization forward," Reisch says.

Reisch, 30, is the author of "The Power of Citizenship: Why John F. Kennedy matters to a new generation."

In it, he describes the president's creation of the Peace Corps, the ultimate expression of American compassion.

"This is an opportunity for us, as privileged members of the world, to export some of our talents and resources and do something," Reisch explains.

Reisch says Kennedy's message of "we're all in this together" was best embodied in the most famous passage from his inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

"I think it's about localizing that message, to give people an opportunity to get involved in their communities and embrace this spirit to say, 'I want to do good,'" Reisch articulates.

But the all too brief Kennedy administration wasn't all good. There were mistakes and controversies along the way.

But Reisch says JFK's July 4th, 1962 speech, right here at Independence Hall, symbolized the spirit of the new frontier.

In an address to a crowd that included governors from all over the nation, President Kennedy spoke of defending peace and freedom in support of the Declaration of Independence then quoted the great document: "With a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

"That's citizenship," Reisch says. "We mutually pledge to each other. We are in this together. We're on the same team. We have a shared faith. We have a shared destiny and we need to do something about it. We need to act in a way that reflects these values."

Reisch says today's dysfunctional, hyper-partisan government has turned off America's young people.

An assassin's bullet brought a premature end to Kennedy's life, and in the view of many, to the hope and optimism he embodied.

But Reisch believes millennials can breathe new life into those ideals.

"Kennedy famously says in his inaugural address, that the torch has been passed to a new generation. And I think, 50 years later, it's time for us to be asking, should we be taking that torch now? I think my generation's ready," Reisch declares.

We'll take a look back at the JFK assassination in a special report airing Friday night at 10:30 on FOX 29.

We also have a special section devoted to the anniversary on MyFOXPhilly.com.

  • Bruce Gordon ReportsMore>>

  • New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:30:49 GMT
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.

  • Feds: 6 Philly Narcotic Cops Robbed, Kidnapped Drug Dealers

    Feds: 6 Philly Narcotic Cops Robbed, Kidnapped Drug Dealers

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:20 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:20:24 GMT

    Six former members of the Philadelphia Police Dept.'s narcotics unit have been federally indicted, charged with using robbery, kidnapping and other tactics to shake down more than $500,000 in cash, property and drugs from suspected drug dealers.

    Six former members of the Philadelphia Police Dept.'s narcotics unit have been federally indicted, charged with using robbery, kidnapping and other tactics to shake down more than $500,000 in cash, property and drugs from suspected drug dealers.

  • SEPTA Rider: Couple With Toddler Seemed "Out Of It" On Train

    SEPTA Rider: Couple With Toddler Seemed "Out Of It" On Train

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:55 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:55:19 GMT
    Camera-phone video captured a disturbing scene aboard a SEPTA subway train. The video shows a shoeless toddler in a stroller and witnesses say the adults with her seem to be "out of it." The couple was on a train on the Market-Frankford Line on Sunday morning.


    Camera-phone video captured a disturbing scene aboard a SEPTA subway train. The video shows a shoeless toddler in a stroller and witnesses say the adults with her seem to be "out of it." The couple was on a train on the Market-Frankford Line on Sunday morning.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police Search For Missing Camden Man

    Police Search For Missing Camden Man

    Friday, August 1 2014 8:28 PM EDT2014-08-02 00:28:29 GMT
    Police say Jermaine Lundy, 44, was reported missing on Friday. If you have any information, please call the CCPD tip line at (856) 757-7042.Police say Jermaine Lundy, 44, was reported missing on Friday. If you have any information, please call the CCPD tip line at (856) 757-7042.
    The Camden County Police Department is searching for a missing man from North Camden that was reported missing on Friday.
    The Camden County Police Department is searching for a missing man from North Camden that was reported missing on Friday.
  • Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:28:19 GMT
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
  • New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:30:49 GMT
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.

Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices