President Obama paid tribute Wednesday night to the late President John F. Kennedy, saying he and his family gave to the nation "a legacy of service."
Speaking at a dinner for Medal of Freedom honorees at the Smithsonian Institution, Mr. Obama said Mr. Kennedy created the award shortly before his assassination 50 years ago to emphasize that the triumph of America is the "culmination of our common endeavors."
"There's no one way to contribute to the success of America," Mr. Obama said. "Our triumph is found not simply in the exertion of our power."
He said Kennedy, born into a wealthy family, "could have retreated to a life of luxury and ease." Instead, the president said, he was "determined to make the world anew."
Because of the Kennedy family, Mr. Obama said, "we are reminded that the power to change this country is ours."