Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fact or Fiction: JFK's Inauguration Night

One thing we've been asked a few times by folks who've seen The Columnist is - did President John F. Kennedy really come to the Alsop house on inauguration night? 

The answer, reportedly, is yes. Here's what a piece from the Washington Post says:

The president stayed about 90 minutes, enjoyed champagne and some terrapin soup, and perhaps -- according to several memoirs of the time -- a brief liaison with one of the young women present that night. The details and guest list of the party have been muddied by decades of revisionist spinning. But this was Alsop's triumph: an acknowledgment by the president on this, of all nights, that Alsop and the liberal elite who gathered in these historic old houses mattered. 
"The long, festive night and the Kennedy visit reflected for Joe the transformation of Washington," writes Robert Merry in "Taking on the World," a biography of Alsop and his brother, Stewart. "There was a new spirit in the city, a political and social ferment, as well as the prospect of imaginative leadership in the executive branch. Georgetown was once again fashionable."

Kennedy's inaugural address is routinely mentioned as one of the best in American history. Not only was it the first presidential inaugural address televised in color, but it stands as one of the most memorable and oft quoted speeches in America history. In case you missed it the first time, here's a great recording of it:

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.

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