Historians, educators, and observers often cite the many inspirational quotes uttered by John F. Kennedy. Despite having served as president of the United States for less than three years, his words remain some of the most memorable of all White House occupants.
America’s 35th president had the ability to evoke passion with his charismatic style during his speeches. What’s more, many of his remarks have a historic aspect, and revisting them brings us back to a moment frozen in time.
With these visions, he mesmerized many people at the time and continues to inspire those who came of age later.
Here are eight of JFK’s most memorable quotes:
1. Responsibility — “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” This is, perhaps, the most memorable line from Kennedy’s inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961, the International Business Times noted.
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2. Freedom — Another inaugural gem: “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.”
3. Obligations — And one more: “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.”
4. Warning — “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable," Kennedy stated at the Alliance for Progress in March 1962.
5. The disadvantaged — “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich,” JFK said at his inauguration.
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6. Space race — “I believe that 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,” he told Congress on May 25, 1961, boosting the U.S. space program and race against the Soviet Union.
7. Adventure — “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,” Kennedy explained on Sept. 12, 1962, at Rice University.
8. Prosperity — “It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.” This was part of a talk at the Economic Club of New York in December 1962 that eventually led to the approval of JFK’s massive tax cut proposal.
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