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Inauguration of John F. Kennedy facts for kids

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Presidential Inauguration of
John F. Kennedy
Jfk inauguration.jpg
Date January 20, 1961; 61 years ago (1961-01-20)
Location Washington, D.C.
U.S. Capitol
Participants President of the United StatesJohn F. Kennedy
Assuming office
Chief Justice of the United States,
Earl Warren
Administering oath
Vice President of the United States
Lyndon B. Johnson
Assuming office
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Sam Rayburn
Administering oath
United States Congress Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

The inauguration of John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States was held on Friday, January 20, 1961 at the eastern portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The inauguration marked the commencement of John F. Kennedy's only term as President and of Lyndon B. Johnson's only term as Vice President. Kennedy was assassinated 2 years, 306 days into this term, and Johnson succeeded to the presidency.

Kennedy took office following the November 1960 presidential election, in which he narrowly defeated Richard Nixon, the then–incumbent Vice President. He was the first Catholic to become President, and became the youngest person elected to the office.

His inaugural address encompassed the major themes of his campaign and would define his presidency during a time of economic prosperity, emerging social changes, and diplomatic challenges. This inauguration was the first in which a poet, Robert Frost, participated in the program.

The inaugural address

Immediately after reciting the oath of office, President Kennedy turned to address the crowd gathered at the Capitol. His inaugural address, the first delivered to a televised audience in color, is considered among the best presidential inaugural speeches in American history. The address was 1364 words and took 13 minutes and 55 seconds to deliver, from the first word to the last word, not including applause at the end, making it the fourth-shortest inaugural address ever delivered.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

—John F. Kennedy, inauguration address, January 1961.


Kennedy's inauguration marked many firsts for the United States. Kennedy was the first, and to this date, the only Catholic inaugurated as commander-in-chief. At the inauguration, Kennedy, then 43, was the youngest elected president and was replacing the oldest president in American history at that time, Eisenhower. The age difference and visual impact of the turnover from Eisenhower's presence to Kennedy's was noticeable at the inauguration. In addition, Kennedy was the first person born in the 20th century to have been inaugurated as President.

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