Miami, Florida (JFK+50) On April 20, 1961, Americans awoke to newspaper headlines detailing the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion that had ended the previous day.
The Miami Herald's morning edition described a rally held at Bayfront Park. The anti-Castro rally sported 15,000 Cuban exiles chanting "Ayuda! Ayuda! Ayuda! (Help! Help! Help!)---"Kennedy! Kennedy! Kennedy!"
Despite President John F. Kennedy's effort to keep America out of it, everyone now knew, writes Jim Rasenberger, that the invasion "had been an American effort and an American failure."
C.L. Sulzberger of the New York Times wrote..."We look like fools to our friends, rascals to our enemies, and incompetents to the rest."
The President found it hard to explain it to himself. He was raised to believe nothing less was acceptable but victory. He was humiliated and so was the nation he loved. It was not to be a very pleasant day at the White House.
JFK was, however, able to escape the "grim" atmosphere in the West Wing by going to give a long-scheduled afternoon speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors at the Statler-Hilton Hotel.
The President said...
"We intend to profit from this lesson. We intend to reexamine and reorient our forces of all kinds...We intend to intensify our efforts for a struggle in many ways more difficult than war."
The presidency has been called "the loneliest office in the world," and the next morning JFK said to reporters...
"There's an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan."
"Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs," by Jim Rasenberger, Scribner, New York, 2011.
Bay of Pigs Memorial