JFK’s Inaugural best remembered in its entirety

JFK’s Inaugural Address from Friday, January 20, 1961 is transcribed here, here, and here (the latter contains video). It’s well worth a full read. Here are a few notable excerpts from the American Rhetoric version:

[…]

And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

[…]

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.

This much we pledge — and more.

[…]

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom — and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

[…]

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

[…]

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.

[…]

Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need — not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,”* a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

* [Romans 12:12 (King James Version of the Holy Bible)]

The clarity of his words is impressive. “Tyranny” and “war itself” as simultaneous “enemies of man.” Simply, yet brilliantly put.

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