John F. Kennedy was a man of inspiration. And he still is to this very day.
I first learned of the 35th President by my Irish-Catholic pop-pop. He had collected every newspaper and magazine article (that he could purchase) about Kennedy’s inauguration, presidency, and assassination. He had Kennedy campaign buttons, a copy of “Profiles in Courage“, and other such memorabilia. To be honest, Kennedy became a hero of mine, a man I wanted to emulate if I ever became President of the United States (which, yes, at one time I wanted to be).
JFK sparked a fire within a generation that refused to let that fire die. A flame that still ignites (and calls) our country to go forth to accomplish great things for all humanity “at home and around the world.“
One has to wonder, what would our country be like today, had Kennedy not been assassinated in 1963?
JFK’s Inaugural address has been revered by historians and politicians as the greatest inaugural speech ever written. Below I want to highlight some excerpts from it. I do so to inspire and challenge Americans – Christian, non-Christian, Republican, Democrat, and Tea Party – to finish what was first given to us 50 years ago today.
We are a united country, so let us stop being so divided.
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 …
To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required – not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich …
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address: Jan, 20, 1961.
John F. Kennedy speaks about Civil Rights: June 11, 1963