‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President…’. If JFK were still with us, he would’ve been 100 years old today. In no way has he ever been forgotten. He left this world young, but in essence, his purpose, as brief as his life here on Earth was, had been served. With this in mind, we must reflect on the legacy he left the U.S. and the influence he had on the rest of the world.
In his nearly three years as 35th President of the United States (Jan 1961 – Nov 1963), JFK worked tirelessly to cause an end to old ways of thinking and inspire a ‘New Frontier’. This ‘New Frontier’ served to infuse this world with a fresh start after a period of ‘drugged and fitful sleep’ (Great Speeches of our Time – Hywel Williams), of the 1950s. A new way of looking at things and empowering the citizens of his country and influencing those globally to work towards these ideals. He knew that likely these were long range ideals that would not be achieved in his presidency, however, the intent of his message was to permeate the fabric of time to reach the present day and beyond so that what he stood for had been declared in his opportunity as president would not be forgotten.
“All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” (John F. Kennedy)
JFK encouraged everyone to embrace leadership, negotiation, novelty and always, always peace. To end the Status Quo and focus on innovation (ex. going to the moon). To take care of our planet before it’s too late. To not fear the threat of terror. To end discrimination against others – primarily against blacks and women. These, and others, are all themes we are still battling/handling today.
When we speak of empowerment, JFK reminded his citizens that they themselves as individuals had the power to change circumstances, as in his famous line ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’ (John F Kennedy, Inaugural Address). His messages were focused to raise his people up, to make them aware that there are better and higher ways of living via ‘[the] virtues of self-reliance’. (Hywel Williams). Not only did he challenge the system he was faced with, but he was also a big proponent of the arts and encouraged the reading of poetry.
Ultimately, JFK will be remembered for ‘… his leadership, personality and accomplishments’. His grave site honors him with an eternal flame – a symbol that what he stood for is always ‘enduring…a reminder of commitment to a common goal’, in addition ‘He believed that people could solve their common problems if they put their country’s interests first and worked together’. Today, more than ever, our world struggles with the same common themes JFK wanted us to address so many years ago. In this article, you will find some of the most awakening and inspiring words said by our beloved JFK to remind us of the power we have within to put a better spin on the world around us.
10 Inspirational John F. Kennedy Quotes:
“When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds hi 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.” – John F. Kennedy
“If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.” – John F. Kennedy
“As we face the coming challenge, we too shall wait upon the Lord and ask that He renew our strength. The shall we be equal to the test. The we shall not be weary. An then we shall prevail.” – John F. Kennedy
“…But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises – it is a set of challenges…beyond that Frontier are the uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus…” John F. Kennedy
“My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what, together, we can do for the freedom of man…” – John F. Kennedy
“With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history as the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and Help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” – John F. Kennedy
7. “Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men.” – John F. Kennedy
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to man.” – John F. Kennedy
Author Bio: Alessandra Aversa
Alessandra Aversa has recently re-kindled her love and passion for writing while on maternity leave following the birth of her son in 2016. She is currently building up her writing profile. If you would like to contact Alessandra, her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org