…if we shall do this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out–then we must be bold. – John F Kennedy, speech at Rice University, 9/12/62
This is the third selection from Kennedy’s 1962 Rice University speech to be featured in The Thought for the Day. Kennedy, of course, is referring to sending men to the moon and returning them home and the purpose of the speech was to drum up interest, because while the Mercury program, and later Project Gemini, were sending men into space, the first manned Apollo mission was still several years away.
As noted before, this is one of our favorite speeches given by an American and if you haven’t read it or watched it, or if you have but it’s been many years, do yourself a favor and read or watch it. If you tolerate this feature on a regular basis you will probably like it.
…then we must be bold.
America has a long history of being bold, with results that range from the inspiring to the tragic. Our Founding Fathers were bold enough to form a new country with a new form of government. America was bold enough to develop and use nuclear weapons. President Truman’s decision to do this was, of course, disastrous for the Japanese that were forced to endure them, though it probably saved hundreds of thousands American lives.
And America was bold when it sent men to the moon. We were bold enough to accept the challenge of the unknown. We were bold enough to dare to do what might well have otherwise been a decade or two off without Kennedy’s prodding. We were bold enough to dare to be what no one had ever been before, and we did this in times that were as momentous and tumultuous as they are now, perhaps more so.
We must be bold, both individually and collectively.
Individually, we must be bold enough to live the life we were meant to live. We must have the wisdom to know what we were put on this planet to do and be bold enough to have the courage to go and do it and the patience to reach our desired end.
Collectively, we must be bold enough to want a country that discards the status quo, a country that tries to transcend itself, a country that other nations look up to. We must be bold enough to want the best we can offer both ourselves and the world.
Anyone can accept what is offered. To go someplace we’ve never been as people and as a nation, we must be bold.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.