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John F. Kennedy Quotes

  1. A child miseducated is a child lost.
  2. A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.
  3. A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
  4. 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.
  5. A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today – and in fact we have forgotten.
  6. A young man who does not have what it takes to perform military service is not likely to have what it takes to make a living. Today’s military rejects include tomorrow’s hard-core unemployed.
  7. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’
  8. America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.
  9. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
  10. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
  11. Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both.
  12. Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
  13. Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I’m the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House.
  14. Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.
  15. Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
  16. 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.
  17. For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.
  18. Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
  19. Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.
  20. History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.
  21. I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President, who happens also to be a Catholic.
  22. I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.
  23. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters – and the church does not speak for me.
  24. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.
  25. I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.
  26. I don’t think the intelligence reports are all that hot. Some days I get more out of the New York Times.
  27. I hope that no American will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me solely on account of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant.
  28. I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy; Dear Jack, Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.
  29. I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.
  30. I think ‘Hail to the Chief’ has a nice ring to it.
  31. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
  32. I’m always rather nervous about how you talk about women who are active in politics, whether they want to be talked about as women or as politicians.
  33. I’m an idealist without illusions.
  34. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
  35. If anyone is crazy enough to want to kill a president of the United States, he can do it. All he must be prepared to do is give his life for the president’s.
  36. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.
  37. If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
  38. In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.
  39. In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.
  40. In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.
  41. Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.
  42. It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
  43. It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds. A Harvard education and a Yale degree.
  44. Khrushchev reminds me of the tiger hunter who has picked a place on the wall to hang the tiger’s skin long before he has caught the tiger. This tiger has other ideas.
  45. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
  46. Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.
  47. 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.
  48. 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 – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.
  49. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
  50. 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.
  51. Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.
  52. Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.
  53. Modern cynics and skeptics… see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.
  54. Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process.
  55. My brother Bob doesn’t want to be in government – he promised Dad he’d go straight.
  56. My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
  57. No one has been barred on account of his race from fighting or dying for America, there are no white or colored signs on the foxholes or graveyards of battle.
  58. Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.
  59. Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.
  60. Our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security.
  61. Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
  62. Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
  63. Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.
  64. Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
  65. Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.
  66. Politics is like football; if you see daylight, go through the hole.
  67. Sure it’s a big job; but I don’t know anyone who can do it better than I can.
  68. The United States has to move very fast to even stand still.
  69. The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution.
  70. The best road to progress is freedom’s road.
  71. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.
  72. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.
  73. The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.
  74. The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
  75. The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.
  76. The human mind is our fundamental resource.
  77. The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
  78. The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.
  79. The pay is good and I can walk to work.
  80. The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.
  81. The tax on capital gains directly affects investment decisions, the mobility and flow of risk capital… the ease or difficulty experienced by new ventures in obtaining capital, and thereby the strength and potential for growth in the economy.
  82. The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
  83. The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.
  84. The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.
  85. The world knows that America will never start a war. This generation of Americans has had enough of war and hate… we want to build a world of peace where the weak are secure and the strong are just.
  86. There are many people in the world who really don’t understand-or say they don’t-what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin!
  87. There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
  88. There is always inequality in life. Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded and some men never leave the country. Life is unfair.
  89. Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.
  90. Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.
  91. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
  92. To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past. The prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust.
  93. Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.
  94. Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
  95. Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes… can no longer be of concern to great powers alone.
  96. Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.
  97. War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.
  98. Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.
  99. 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.
  100. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.
  101. We believe that if men have the talent to invent new machines that put men out of work, they have the talent to put those men back to work.
  102. We cannot expect that all nations will adopt like systems, for conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
  103. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.
  104. We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
  105. We prefer world law in the age of self-determination to world war in the age of mass extermination.
  106. We stand today on the edge of a new frontier – the frontier of the 1960’s – a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils – a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.
  107. We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it.
  108. When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
  109. When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we’d been saying they were.
  110. When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
  111. Why should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction and expenditure?

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