John F. Kennedy
Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today, at home and around the world!
Too often we...enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.
So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.
All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea -- whether it is to sail or to watch it -- we are going back from whence we came.
Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.
We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.
We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
The quality of American life must keep pace with the quantity of American goods. This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.
There will always be dissident voices heard in the land expresing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side, and seeking influence without responsibility.
I believe this nation should commit itself, to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.
There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.
Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.
Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal.
Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
It's easy, they sank my boat.
We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others.
Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.
The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'
The trouble with conservatives today is that most of their thinking is so naive. As for the liberals, their thinking is more sophisticated; but their function ought to be to provide new ideas, and they don't come up with any.
For without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.
This nation was founded by many men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
Change is the law of life; and those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.
The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.
We believe that an artist, in order to be true to himself and his work, must be a free man.
Conformity is the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth.
The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.
We don’t see the end of the tunnel but I must say I don’t think it is darker than it was a year ago, and in some ways lighter.
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
If someone is going to kill me, they are going to kill me. -- John F. Kennedy (to Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.), 1962.
If I am to die, this is the week for it. -- John F. Kennedy (to aide John McClone in response to a CIA report about rumours of an assassination plot), June 1962.
If I do the right kind of a job, I don't know whether I am going to be here four years from now. -- John F. Kennedy (to Richard M. Nixon, right after the Bay of Pigs invasion, 1961).
Who can tell who will be the President a year from now? -- John F. Kennedy, speaking to the president of Harvard about why he did not want to delay signing documents relating to a future JFK Presidential Library, 2 October 1963.
The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.
If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.
Overwhelming nuclear strength cannot stop a guerrilla war.
My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now. -- (Comment made 10 April 1962 in reaction to news that U.S. Steel was raising prices by $6 per ton, right after the unions negotiated a modest new contract under pressure from JFK to keep inflation down.)
This is the night to go to the theatre, like Abraham Lincoln.
Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan.
We set sail on this new sea because there is knowledge to be gained.
I look foreword to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty.
Now I understand why Henry VIII started his own church.
Before my term has ended, we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain.
We need men who can dream of things that never were.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy - but because they are hard! Because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win!
But peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.
I think there is a law of equity in these disputes. When one party is clearly wrong, it will eventually give way... They had no business putting those missiles in and lying to me about it. They were in the wrong and knew it. So, when we stood firm, they had to back down. But this doesn't mean at all that they would back down when they felt they were in the right and had vital interests involved.
Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.