November 22, 1963: Death of the President



JFK in Germany: Rare and Classic Photos, 1963

First off, let’s get the whole jelly-doughnut fiction out of the way. For decades, people have been chuckling over the oft-repeated “fact” that when he delivered his now-famous speech at Berlin’s Schöneberg city hall in June 1963, John F. Kennedy flubbed the oration’s critical line. Instead of declaring his solidarity with the German people with a rousing, “I am a Berliner!” (Ich bin Berliner) — so the story goes — Kennedy instead proclaimed, “I am a jelly doughnut!” (Ich bin ein Berliner).

It’s a pretty good story, and it’s even more comical when it’s repeated, as it has been countless times in the subsequent decades, in JFK’s distinctive Boston accent and with his unique cadence. Alas, for comedians and for cocktail-party trivia experts everywhere, Kennedy’s assertion was not only perfectly comprehensible, but positively stirring, to the thousands of Germans who saw his speech live and to the millions of others who heard it on the radio or saw it on TV.

“I am a Berliner!” It might not be as hilarious as the apocryphal jelly-doughnut line — but five decades on, JFK’s simple declaration still feels inspiring.

Photos From Kennedy’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ Tour |

JFK Addresses Thousands in Germany: “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” |

Motorcade in Dallas, Texas, 22 November 1963

«Shortly after noon on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.»