Leaders from both sides of the aisle applauded the U.S. Senate’s decision to establish a commission to honor President John F. Kennedy on the 100th anniversary of his birth in 2017, officials said.
“President John F. Kennedy made an enduring impact on our country and on our Commonwealth, offering a bold vision for the future and inspiring generations of Americans to become engaged citizens,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “As we mark the centennial of his birth, this commission will help us honor President Kennedy’s remarkable legacy of leadership and service.”
The commission, which will be called the “John F. Kennedy Centennial Commission,” will be comprised of 11 members, including the Secretary of the Interior and ten individuals to be appointed by the President and leaders from the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a joint statement from the JFK Library Foundation and several leaders.
The legislation to establish the commission to honor Kennedy, who was President from 1961-1963, was originally introduced by Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.).
“President Kennedy passionately believed that the collective capacity of the American people was limitless,” Representative Kennedy said. “If we stood united towards a common cause, he knew the moon was within reach, equality was possible and lasting peace could endure. On his 100th birthday, we will commemorate not just the father, brother and president that he was, but the ideals and values that he left with this nation.”
The commission will be similar to a 2009 commission to honor the centennial of President Ronald Reagan’s birth, officials said.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the commission will be important because “Americans of all political persuasions remember President Kennedy as an inspiring leader and an icon of the twentieth century. The centennial of his birth offers an opportunity to inspire a new generation of Americans and renew our shared commitment to serving the nation.”
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the commission to honor the Brookline native “will not only help Americans celebrate JFK’s remarkable life, but ensure his legacy lives on for generations to come.”
The bill was co-sponsored by the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation, officials said. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) also emphasized Kennedy’s contributions to not only the country, but also Massachusetts itself.
“From the Civil Rights movement, to the space race, to the signing of the Equal Pay Act, President Kennedy’s legacy continues to resonate in importance and urgency in the 21st century,” Markey said. “His challenge to land a man on the Moon led to the discovery of new technologies and spurred historic funding in science and research, the lifeblood of the Massachusetts economy.”