‘So let us begin anew’

Earlier today I tweeted a link to Business Insider’s post about Google’s latest doodle, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of former US President John F Kennedy’s inaugural speech:

Screengrab of Google doodle commemorating JFK's inaugural speech

We can’t see this in New Zealand on google.co.nz at the moment, but given we’re a bit ahead of the northern hemisphere time-wise we may see it yet (unless the folks at Google think we’re not interested – but since many of us grew up on a diet of US and UK television shows, re-runs and wire stories, we just might be:)

Anyway, it seems to have struck a chord so it prompted me to dig out the speech on YouTube (big thanks to CSPAN for posting it).

And Bartleby provides the text of the speech here. Here are a few pull-out quotes that may seem familiar:

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.

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, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

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. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

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.

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