Source AP ©

Caroline Kennedy reaches 50

Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy's daughter turned 50 on Tuesday, and America's retiree association plans to honor her for a lifetime of public service.

Caroline Kennedy also will be featured on the upcoming cover of AARP The Magazine for the January/February issue, on newsstands in December.

"Ever since I was a little girl, people have told me that my father changed their lives, or that President Kennedy's inaugural challenge 'Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country' inspired a generation in the 1960s that transformed our nation with courage," she told the magazine. "To me that is one of his greatest legacies. Now, it is up to us to redefine that commitment for our time."

Also receiving the magazine's 2008 Inspire Awards next week are nine others including singer Gladys Knight; actor Gary Sinise; teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan; and Liviu Librescu, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech who was killed in last spring's school shooting while holding off the gunman so his students could escape.

Since graduating from Harvard and finishing Columbia University law school, Kennedy, a mother of three, has raised tens of millions of dollars for New York City public schools. She also has been active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Legal Defense and Education Fund and the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

Kennedy was only 3 when her family moved into the White House. A news photo of the young Caroline with her pony inspired Neil Diamond to write his hit "Sweet Caroline" - a fact he revealed earlier this month in a performance in honor of her 50th birthday.

How does 50 feel, the magazine asked her?

"It's not that old, is it?" she says. "I feel like I'm really happy, fortunate to have my family and the things I'm involved in, even without the people not here who were here once."

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