President John F. Kennedy (CBS)

President John F. Kennedy (CBS)

CHICAGO (CBS) — John F. Kennedy grew up in Massachusetts, but in the words of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago was his second home.

The bells tolled at St Jane’s on the Southwest Side, as they did throughout the city, to remember a man many Chicagoans adopted as their own.

Bill Daley, son of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, remembers that day–Nov. 22, 1963.

“When Jack Kennedy died, it was one of the few times I ever saw my father cry,” he said.

Richard J. Daley rode alongside Kennedy during a torchlight parade two days before his election.

Daley and Chicago were considered critical to his historic victory.

So was the first televised debate, broadcast from the old WBBM-TV studios in Streeterville.

When he died, we took it hard

“People were inspired by him,” said other member of the Daley family, former Mayor Richard M. Daley. “They really believed he was gonna change peoples’ lives.”

Young Chicagoans, actually, anyone under 50, know him from what they’ve been taught.

“He was the president, the 35th president,” said one young student.

“John F. Kennedy was a supportive president and he really cared about his country.”

At Friday’s special program for kids at the Harold Washington library, the Mayor Emanuel called Kennedy’s words a continuing challenge.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, that’s the legacy,” Emanuel said.

Ald. Ed Burke spoke of JFK’s legacy of “an enduring legacy of hope, a yearning for peace and a desire for equality.”

The alderman’s words could also apply to another president with close ties to Chicago 50 years later. One who broke racial rather than religious barriers.

Both are known more for symbolism and style than significant change. In the case of President Obama because it’s too soon to tell; JFK because his time was so short.

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