Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins’ Remarks
Ask Not…the Dallas County Day of Service Press Conference
Monday, February 4, 2013
I am encouraging every city within Dallas County to organize, implement, and perform service projects in their respective areas on Thursday, November 21, 2013, that honor the life and legacy of President Kennedy and highlight the strength and diversity of Dallas County: a 21st century mosaic.
I am asking that each city effort be captained by its mayor and each project be selected to meet the specific needs of each community. Furthermore, I hope each Commissioner will participate in service projects that they may create and captain or join with a city within their district. The mayors and leaders standing here today have accepted this call and agreed to captain service projects in their cities.
Each participating entity will select their project and I'm sure each will choose good projects that speak to the needs and character of their city. Their local ownership and control will paint a picture worth a thousand words regarding the strength, diversity and beauty of our thriving county.
The Office of the County Judge, the county Public Information Officer and IT department will help to facilitate and publicize the projects.
The message is the projects themselves and the fact that they are meant to honor the President.
During his inauguration speech on January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to a higher level of concern and action for their neighbors in one of his most famous statements, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
That sentiment of duty through service became the hallmark of his brief tenure as president. On November 22, 1963, during a visit to Dallas County, his life tragically ended. This year will mark 50 years since his untimely death and provides an opportunity to corporately honor the life and legacy of President Kennedy through multiple service opportunities in Dallas County.
When considering how best to honor President Kennedy and incorporate a spirit of service that best described the late president's life, a day of service across Dallas County seemed most appropriate.
The President's own words at the conclusion of that inaugural speech serve as a reminder of our charge and poignant testimony to the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
"Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."
I hope you will join your city in this opportunity to honor President Kennedy, strengthen our communities, and highlight the spirit of service in North Texas.