Sunday, November 24, 2013

This Sunday fifty years ago

"First examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings...
The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough -- more than enough -- of war and hate and oppression.
We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we must labor on--not towards a strategy of annihilation but towards a strategy of peace. " President John Fitzgerald Kennedy June 10, 1963
This Sunday fifty years ago a nation was in mourning over the loss of its first Catholic president. This is JFK's famous American University Speech given June 10, 1963. Audio (ogg file) is here.  A text of the speech is available here.  Reputedly, Kennedy and Ted Sorenson managed to keep the content secret until the speech was given. RFK Jr.'s moving examination of his uncle's drive toward world peace is available in this month's Rolling Stone.

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