John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29, 1917 -
November 22, 1963) is perhaps the most iconic American political
figure of all time. Rather than try to truncate his life story into
a few paragraphs, better he be remembered by his own words:
At a time when they
could be exploring how more efficiency and better prices could be
obtained... a few gigantic corporations have decided to increase
prices in ruthless disregard of their public
(April 11, 1962, regarding the steel crisis
and the steel companies' reneging on their promise not to raise
Let us call a truce
to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an
international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling
the national capacity to wage war.
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.
Let us resolve to be
masters, not the victims, of our history, controlling our own
without giving way to blind suspicions and emotions.
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.
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.
I want to emphasize
in the great concentration which we now place upon scientists and
engineers how much
we still need the men and women educated in the liberal tradition,
willing to take the long look, undisturbed
by prejudices and slogans of the moment, who attempt to make an
honest judgment on difficult events.
All of us do not have
equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to
develop our talents.
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.
Change is the law of
life. And those who look only to the past or the present are
certain to miss the future.
Conformity is the
enemy of thought and the jailer of freedom.
Let us never
negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Mankind must put an
end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
Those who make
peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution
If a free society
cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are
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.
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.