On this day in 1961, John F. Kennedy was wading through heavy snow to deliver his inaugural address. Kennedy, then a Democratic Senator
from Massachusetts, spent his morning at Holy Trinity Catholic Church before traveling to the Capitol to deliver his address. Noted attendees included Robert Frost, who read one of his original poems, and Chief Justice Earl Warren who administered the oath of office.
The following are some of the most memorable quotes from Kennedy’s speech:
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support and friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
“Let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.”
“To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support- to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective – to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak – and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.”
“So let us begin anew- remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
Below is the speech in its entirety.
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