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    John F. Kennedy Quotes

    35th president of US 1961-1963

    Quotes by John F. Kennedy

    • Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
    • Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
    • If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
    • Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.
    • Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.
    • Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
    • So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.
    • The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.
    • The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.
    • The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
    • The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'
    • The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
    • There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
    • Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.
    • We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
    • We set sail on this new sea because there is knowledge to be gained.
    • We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others.
    • When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we'd been saying they were.
    • The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation's greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.
      Amherst College, Oct 26, 1963 - Source JFK Library, Boston, Mass.
    • ...probably the greatest concentration of talent and genius in this house except for perhaps those times when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.
      Describing a dinner for Nobel Prize winners, 1962
    • Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
      In a speech at the White House, 1962
    • And so, my fellow americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. 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.
      Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    • If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
      inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    • We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.
      October 26, 1963
      Art
    • 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.
      Speech at The American University, Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963
    • 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.
      speech at The American University, Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963
    • The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
      speech at Vanderbilt University, May 18, 1963
    • All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea -- whether it is to sail or to watch it -- we are going back from whence we came.
      Speech given at Newport at the dinner before the America's Cup Races, September 1962
    • We need men who can dream of things that never were.
      speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963
    • The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.
      Speech in Indianapolis, April 12, 1959
    • Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
      speech prepared for delivery in Dallas the day of his assassination, November 22, 1963
    • Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
      Speech to UN General Assembly, Sept. 25, 1961
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