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Flowers left for Ted Sorensen
Theodore Chaikin "Ted" Sorensen: SIr, you will be remembered as an American presidential advisor, lawyer and writer, best known as President John F. Kennedy's special counsel, adviser and legendary speechwriter. President Kennedy once called you his "intellectual blood bank". In January 1953,when you were 24 year-old, you became the new United States Senator John F. Kennedy's chief legislative aide. "The most important aide [Kennedy] ever hired" became a talented mimic of the senator's writing. You authored many of Kennedy's articles and speeches. You became President Kennedy's Special Counsel & Adviser, and primary speechwriter, the role for which you are best remembered today. You were particularly famous for having helped draft the inaugural address in which Kennedy exhorted listeners to "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." This call to service is the phrase still most closely associated with the Kennedy administration. Although you played an important part in the composition of the Inaugural Address, "the speech and its famous turn of phrase that everyone remembers was," You firmly states (counter to what the majority of authors, journalists and other media sources have claimed), "written by Kennedy himself." In later years, when pressed in interviews if you wrote the phrase, you would reply tongue-in-cheek "Ask not."In the early months of the administration the scope of your responsibilities lay within the domestic agenda; however, after the Bay of Pigs debacle Kennedy asked you to take part in foreign policy discussions as well. During the Cuban Missile Crisis you served as a member of ExComm and was named by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara as one of the "true inner circle" members who advised the president, the others being Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, General Maxwell D. Taylor (the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs), former Ambassador to the Soviet Union Llewellyn Thompson and McNamara himself.You played a critical role in drafting Kennedy's correspondence with Nikita Khrushchev and worked on Kennedy's first address to the nation about the crisis on October 22. You were devastated by Kennedy's assassination, which you called "the most deeply traumatic experience of my life...I had never considered a future without him."You later quoted a poem that he said summed up how you felt: 'How could you leave us, how could you die? We are sheep without a shepherd when the snow shuts out the sky'. You submitted a letter of resignation to President Johnson the day after the assassination but was persuaded to stay through the transition. You drafted Johnson's first address to Congress as well as the 1964 State of the Union. You officially resigned February 29, 1964, and was the first member of the Kennedy Administration to do so.Prior to your resignation, You stated your intent to write Kennedy's biography, calling it "the book that President Kennedy had intended to write with my help after hiscond term." You were not the only Kennedy aide to turn to writing; historian and Special Assistant Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote his Pulitzer-winning memoir A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House during the same time span. Your biography Kennedy was published in 1965 and became an international bestseller. You were an important partner of Democratic campaigns and was a key adviser to Robert F. Kennedy in Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. Over the next four decades, you had a prominent career as an international lawyer, advising governments around the world, as well as major international corporations. On March 9, 2007, you spoke at an event with then-Senator Barack Obama at New York City's Grand Hyatt Hotel and officially endorsed him for the presidential election in 2008.Very active in his campaign, you spoke (early-on and) frequently about the similarities between both Senator Barack Obama's and Senator John F. Kennedy's presidential campaigns. You also provided some assistance with President Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address. On February 25, 2010, you received the National Humanities Medal for 2009 in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. You were awarded the medal for: "Advancing our understanding of modern American politics. As a speechwriter and advisor to President Kennedy, you helped craft messages and policies, and later gave us a window into the people and events that made history. Thanks for being part of American history, happy 85th birthday!
 Added: May. 8, 2013

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