The Makers of History: John F. Kennedy

This week in our series of The Makers of History: JFK.

Sure it’s a big job; but I don’t know anyone who can do it better than I can.

On the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination almost all media platforms have dedicated space for their own tributes to the fallen King.

Even City A.M., a free financial publication for London’s morning commuters, has championed JFK as a standard bearer of free enterprise.

He is presented as the predecessor and originator to Reagan’s supply side reforms and a template for modern leaders from Barack Obama to George Osborne to learn from in these uncertain times.

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.

For all JFK’s skills, oratory was certainly chief among them. The quest of even the most genius minds is to take what is normally complex and put it into the simplex.On more than one occasion Kennedy was able to do this in a way that resonated with America and those beyond its shores.

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

jfk

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”. 

Kennedy’s ability with words was legendary and alongside the likes of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali and his younger brother Edward (Bobby) Kennedy was part of a golden age of great public speakers.

It is no coincidence then that the Swinging Sixties was an era of great upheaval and change, as the masses danced to the tunes of these Prophets of oratory. Their enduring legacies are entwined with memorable soundbites and lasting wisdoms.

We shall let the words speak for themselves…

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

This is part of a series on The Makers of History where we look at the best historical speeches. Do get in touch if you have a recommendation you’d like us to include.

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