If John F. Kennedy’s life had not been tragically cut short on November 22, 1963, there is a chance that the 35th US President may have been celebrating his 100th birthday on May 29, 2017, on which day the US will also be celebrating Memorial Day.
President John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917. With rumors abounding that JFK’s daughter Caroline Kennedy may have visions of carrying on the family dynasty and even speculation that her son Jack Schlossberg, JFK’s grandson, may be priming himself to step into the political limelight, the Kennedys are still far from removed from US life and JFK’s legacy will be more than celebrated in the coming week as his birthday approaches.
While many commemorations are being held throughout JFK’s 100th year across the country, the main events will kick off today, Monday, May 22, and run through to the day itself, May 29.
Here are some of the top JFK centennial events organized for the coming week:
Monday, May 22
Washington D.C - American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Ensembles
6 p.m. - Millennium Stage, The Kennedy Center
Boston - The Road to Camelot: JFK's Five-Year Campaign
6 pm - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Washington columnist for the Boston Globe, Tom Oliphant, and former Boston Globe reporter and professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, Curtis Wilkie, discuss their new book The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK's Five-Year Campaign.
Tuesday, May 23
Washington D.C. - Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
6 pm - Millennium Stage, The Kennedy Center
Wednesday, May 24
Washington D.C. - National Symphony Orchestra Concert honoring John F. Kennedy
8 pm, Concert Hall - Kennedy Center
A world premiere work from Mason Bates unites the iconic American voices of President John F. Kennedy and poet Walt Whitman in this concert celebration of JFK's monumental legacy that also features world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Features a talkback session following the concert
Washington D.C. - “JFK and Hope: Nurturing ‘This Collaboration between Government and the Arts’”
Noon, Library of Congress - Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment, ground floor, Jefferson Building
Alan Gevinson, curator of the “Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture” exhibition, will discuss Kennedy’s attempt to foster an atmosphere of “collaboration between government and the arts.” Gevinson will also address Kennedy’s assessment of the revolutionary impact of television on politics and his appreciation of Bob Hope’s dedication to entertaining U.S. military personnel around the world.
Thursday, May 25
Boston - The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For
6 pm - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, discusses his new collection of speeches, “The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For”, with longtime former ABC reporter and anchor Charlie Gibson.
Watch this forum live at jfklibrary.org/webcast.
Washington D.C. - Hubble Cantata
7:30 pm, Concert Hall - The Kennedy Center
The hour-long, space-inspired cantata pushes the boundaries of art and science as it takes audiences on a journey of wonder and exploration. It features opera star Nathan Gunn, a 20-piece instrumental ensemble, a 100-person choir from The Washington Chorus, and a cutting-edge virtual reality film (Fistful of Stars).
Washington D.C. - The Washington Ballet: Frontier
7.30 pm, Opera House - the Kennedy Center
Frontier takes Kennedy’s goal of traveling to the moon within a decade as its jumping-off point and moves off to follow an astronaut into the final frontier: Space.
Washington D.C - “JFK Centennial Celebration”
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s birth May 29, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will display nine photographs of the 35th president and his family within the museum’s “The American Presidency” exhibition. The “JFK Centennial Celebration” display will be on view May 25 through August 27.
Friday, May 26
Washington D.C. - (In)Security: or, Jack and Nikki do the Cold War Tango
6 pm, Millennium Stage. Kennedy Center - Free event
(In)Security is a work of dance, music, film, narrative, and history which simultaneously presents both the American and the Russian viewpoints of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.
Boston - Opening of New Special Exhibit, JFK 100: Milestones & Mementos
11.00am – 5.00 pm, JFK Library
The Kennedy Library’s new special exhibit, “JFK 100: Milestones & Mementos”, features a compelling selection of 100 original artifacts, documents, and photographs, revealing the arc of President Kennedy’s life and political career.
Boston - Red Sox Pre-Game Ceremony
6:45 pm, Fenway Park
Leading into the matchup between the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, the Red Sox, in partnership with the JFK Library Foundation, will hold a pre-game ceremony celebrating President Kennedy’s life and the ideals he championed.
Saturday, May 27
Boston - JFK 100 Centennial Commemoration for the Peace Corps Community
2.00 pm – 5.00 pm, Smith Hall, JFK Library.
The JFK Presidential Library and Museum are proud to partner with the National Peace Corps Association and Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to host the Peace Corps community at a centennial commemoration of President Kennedy.
Washington D.C. - Kennedy Center Open House: Celebrating JFK at 100
12pm to 10pm, campus-wide
In celebration of John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday, the Kennedy Center opens its doors wider than ever with a free, transcultural festival showcasing street art culture, Hip Hop, and skateboard culture, as well as classical and contemporary arts.
Sunday, May 28
Boston - “JFK 100 – Space Exploration Discovery Day: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”
12.00 pm – 4.00 pm. Smith Center, Learning Center, Museum Galleries, JFK Library
To commemorate JFK’s challenge to land a man on the Moon, the Kennedy Library is hosting an afternoon of activities and guest speakers for kids, families, and adults focused on Space.
Featured presentations by NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy and Spacesuit Engineer Su Curley will highlight space exploration and equipment, including what it’s like to live and work on the International Space Station.
Washington D.C. - National Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day Concert and Live Broadcast
8 pm, US Capitol
As part of the JFK Centennial Week celebration, the National Symphony Orchestra delivers its traditional Memorial Day Concert, an uplifting performance honoring the military service of all men and women in uniform as well as their families at home.
John F. Kennedy’s birthday - Monday, May 29
Washington D.C. - JFK Centennial Celebration
4 pm, Opera House, The Kennedy Center
Be part of a special evening of readings and musical performances featuring some of America's finest artists, as well as glimpses of rare video footage.
The Kennedy Center celebration of Memorial Day will serve a complimentary hot dog, chips, and soft drink served on the River Terrace (weather permitting) before the performance. All intermission bars will be at half price for the day.
Special readings of JFK speeches will include:
- Journalist and chief political correspondent for CNN Dana Bash,
- Stage-and-screen actor Finn Wittrock
- Celebrated actor and Golden Globe® winner Martin Sheen
Performance will also include:
- New York City Ballet Principal Dancers Joaquín De Luz and Tiler Peck
- Grammy®-nominated jazz pianist, composer, and Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran performing Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite
Boston - JFK Centennial Celebration
9.00 am – 5.00 pm, JFK Library
A fun-filled day of celebration on President Kennedy’s 100th birthday, featuring performances by the U.S. Navy Band, the Boston City Singers, a ceremonial cake cutting, and a flyover performed by the U.S. Navy. Admission to the JFK Library and Museum will be free and open to the public all day.
New York - Honoring JFK in the Rochester, New York, Memorial Day Parade
10.30 am - Parade forms at Alexander and East Avenue, proceeds along East Avenue to Main Street, then west on Main Street to North Plymouth Avenue.
The Irish Studies Program at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, in cooperation with the Colonel Patrick O’Rorke Memorial Society will be marching in the annual Rochester Memorial Day Parade with a banner honoring JFK for his service to our country.
Tuesday, May 30
Washington D.C. - "Primary"
Noon - 2 pm, Library of Congress
"Primary," a documentary. The film follows Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey as they contend against each other in Wisconsin during the 1960 primary season. The film captures Kennedy's political charm and appeals in a manner that still is riveting when viewed today.
Washington D.C. - Exhibition — John F. Kennedy
8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Library of Congress
This display includes special biographical materials about JFK and books written by the former president. Also featured are books about Kennedy in foreign languages.
Location: Great Hall South Gallery, First floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Washington D.C. - American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times
May 3, 2017 – September 17, 2017, 2nd floor South, American Art Museum (8th and F Streets, N.W.). Free.
“American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times” brings together seventy-seven images culled from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Getty Images, private collections, and the Kennedy family archives.
The dramatic scope of Kennedy’s life is evident in these photographs—from his first congressional bid as a decorated war hero in 1946, his fairytale marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, his run for the White House in 1960 and role as commander in chief, to the tragedy of his death in Dallas in 1963. These images remain as indelible evidence of John Kennedy’s personal charisma and political accomplishments.
Washington D.C. - National Portrait Gallery
May 19 -July 9 at the National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets NW. Free.
The National Portrait Gallery owns 72 portraits of Kennedy are dipping into their collection to highlight some of the best including a 1961 pastel of the young president by Shirley Seltzer Cooper and a William F. Draper portrait of Kennedy in a rocking chair as well.
Are you holding a JFK centennial event? Let us know more about what’s happening in your area in the comments section.