Friday, September 4, 2009

A Few JFK Quotes

His reputation was large. I remember hearing, while doing the Evelyn Wood training for speed reading with comprehension in sixth grade, that John F. Kennedy could read 2000 words a minute. This seemed astonishing to me. Equally astonishing was the assassination which occurred just months before.

Without doubt he became our 35th president at a very dicey time. The Cold War was hot, and the times were a-changin'. The Russians appeared to be ahead in "the Space Race" and the Civil Rights movement was in full bloom with nothing as yet resolved.

He called himself “an idealist without illusions” which feels like a pretty apt moniker. Raised from a vantage point inside the corridors of power, there's no doubt he had ample opportunity to get jaded... but somehow managed to inspire a generation to step up to the plate and make a mark in history. Despite his brief time in office, his shadow has stretched long.

The following are a few pointed and pithy thoughts from the heart of a president who's life was indeed cut short in its prime.

"A child miseducated is a child lost."

"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on."

"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."

"And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

"Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both."

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."

"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction."

"For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future."

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."

"I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy; Dear Jack, Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide."

"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."

"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."

"Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind."

"Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process."

"Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

It's easy to see without reading too far how witty the man was, or perhaps talented his team of writers. If you enjoyed these, a Google search will bring you plenty more to chew on.

In the meantime, have a great day... and make a difference.

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