50th Anniversary of JFK’s Inaugural Address

20 Jan

“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. This much we pledge – and more.”

The John F. Kennedy inaugural address was 50 years ago to the day – on Jan. 20, 1961. Kennedy took the oath of office and called for a fresh start with a reminder that “civility is not a sign of weakness.” It is an iconic American speech filled with some of the most quoted lines from any Presidential address. The speech was drafted by Kennedy’s speech writer Ted Sorenson, and draws heavily from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Historians generally rank it as one of the four best US presidential inaugural speeches of all time. Former New York Times columnist and speechwriter for President Nixon, William Safire, included it in a volume he compiled of the greatest speeches delivered in history, writing that it “set the standard by which presidential inaugurals have been judged in the modern era.”  Listen carefully and Enjoy!

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

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