On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn into office as the 35th President of the United States. Over the years, the most quoted line from his inaugural speech has been “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” Over the years, this simple phrase has often been a rallying cry to bring people together to act in the best interests of our Nation. It seems only fitting that, on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, we look again to his inaugural speech for inspiration. This year’s Court Observance theme is taken from a lesser known line in his speech, Our Courts, Working to Assure the Survival and Success of Liberty.
While the United States was in the midst of a cold war and this line was used to remind the world that America would do whatever was necessary to assure the survival and success of liberty, the same can be said of our Court system that has, for over 200 years worked to assure liberty and justice for all.
Today, 39 years after the proclamation was signed, NALS continues each year to recognize the second full week of October as Court Observance Week. How will your chapter recognize this event?
We encourage every member, chapter, and committee to organize, publicize, and participate in an event during the week of October 14-18, 2013, in celebration of the constitutional freedoms our courts protect. Our courts must be open and available to accomplish that goal. Some of your events could include: mock trial for staff members in your firm and invite staff members from other firms in your area to attend as well. Coordinate and promote a courthouse tour. The possibilities are limited only by your creativity and dedication. For more ideas, check out what other chapters have done in the past. An internet search using the term “court observance week” will produce several useful links. And while you’re there, take time to read the full text of President Ford’s proclamation on The American Presidency Project’s website. It’s just another reminder of the importance of your contribution to the legal community.