JFK and the Speech Not Delivered

Inside the JFK Presidential Library and Museum (R.Reed 2018)

Terri and I were recently in New England, mainly to see the fall foliage but also to visit some lovely towns and great art museums. My mom and dad flew up later and we focused on the Boston area. We had a great time and some fantastic meals (the best ones were made by Terri!)

On a whim we decided to visit the JFK Library which turned out to be one of the unexpected highlights of our trip. It was so refreshing to watch and listen to recordings of his political speeches and to read his words. They revealed a president who not only knew the language at a very high level, but was able to use it to impart an inspiring vision for the country.

One of the best moments came while reading his notecards for the speech he never delivered, but intended to give in Dallas at Market Hall. Here are the last few lines of that speech, taken directly from his note cards.

We in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than choice – the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility — that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint — and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, good will toward men.’  That must always be our goal — and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. 

For as was written long ago ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’

— John Fitzgerald Kennedy