50 Years After the New Frontier Dawned, a Toast to Kennedy





WASHINGTON — Old habits die hard, even five decades later.

Sitting at the head of a long table at Charlie Palmer’s steakhouse, in the shadow of the Capitol, Letitia Baldrige, the White House social secretary for Jacqueline Kennedy, tapped her wine glass with a pen, to try to quiet the crowd and signal that someone should propose a toast. When that didn’t work, she tried clinking the glass with her knife. And when that still didn’t do the trick, she gave up.

“Protocol,” Ms. Baldrige said. “I can’t be the first to give a toast. The first one has to be the host, or the guest of honor.”

On Thursday in the nation’s capital, the guest of honor was in effect President John F. Kennedy, who had been inaugurated 50 years earlier. And 15 members of Kennedy’s White House staff gathered for lunch at a restaurant with a view of the Capitol where he gave his famous speech, to celebrate the anniversary and reminisce....

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