“Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. 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.
And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
John F. Kennedy—Inaugural Address, January 1961
In reference to this famous speech, David Talbot, author of the book, “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years” wrote:
“Looking back, Ted Sorensen, Kennedy’s essential collaborator, saw nothing contradictory about the inaugural address. He embodied, he said, Kennedy’s fundamental philosophy of peace through strength. The line in the inaugural address that is the most important is not ‘Ask not what your country do do for you.’ It’s ‘For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.’ That was the Kennedy policy in a nutshell.
He wasn’t for unilateral disarmament—on the contrary, he wanted to build an overwhelming nuclear advantage, so we’d never have to use them, the Soviets would never dare challenge us.”
In these days when world leaders discuss the possibility of an imminent attack in Syria, I hope the words of Kennedy remind us that peace should be sought out much more than war. He sacrificed his life to make this high principle true. Let us not forget the lessons of history. Good Day.