Author of JFK’s ‘Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You’ Speech Dies


kennedy-theodore-sorensenJohn F. Kennedy’s speechwriter and counselor, Theodore Sorensen, died in New York on Sunday at the age of 82. He was one of the last living links to the JFK administration.Sorensen first went to work for Kennedy when Kennedy became a Massachusetts senator and remained a member of his staff until Kennedy’s assasination in 1963. Sorensen has since advised presidents and leaders around the world, including Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Anwar Sadat of Egypt.

In 2008, Sorensen spoke about his memoir, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. He talked about his position as Special Counsel to the presdent and called the 11 years with John F. Kennedy the most “interesting, challenging and useful” years of his life. Though, he says, he didn’t get much sleep. Sorensen also discusses his role as Kennedy’s chief speechwriter and his work on Kennedy’s famous inaugural address, which included the line: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”