“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
…from a speech delivered by President John F. Kennedy titled “A Strategy of Peace” delivered on June 10, 1963 at the American University in Washington, D. C.
The basic premise of the speech was an outreach to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. However, I think this excerpt could be applied in a multitude of ways today.
For we are all, every single one of the inhabitants of this earth, the same. We are mortal human beings. We have the same needs. We have the same wants. Albeit, some of those wants and needs look different on the surface. But at the most base level, they are similar.
And at that most base level, should our desires not be for our children’s futures? For the ability to live in a world without the threat of hate and prejudice simply because one believes in a different God, or speaks a different language, or has a different color skin. For the security in knowing that the earth they will walk on will look like the earth they walk on today. For the peace in knowing that should there come a time in their life where they are downtrodden, hungry, cold and lonely, there might be someone who will offer a hand up.
We need to think about our children. We need to leave this place better than we found it.
I haven’t known what I could possibly add to the memories, the tributes, the talk surrounding this somber day in American history. I was not alive on this day 50 years ago. I have, I believe, felt the ripples of the effects of this tragic event. I think we all feel the ripples from that day. I think we shall feel them for years to come.
I think instead I can do my part by passing on to my daughter the wisdom and knowledge of President John F. Kennedy. I can teach her about the events that transpired in the months and weeks leading up to this day 50 years ago. Meaning the tone of the country, the hatred directed toward the President, the tensions that led to that hatred. (I have made a contract with myself as the teacher to attempt, to the best of my ability, to teach my daughter with no bias. I admit, sometimes it seeps through, but really, with her new hero being President Calvin Coolidge because of his policies, does it look like I’m throwing the game?)
I believe President John F. Kennedy deserves to be honored. I believe he left a legacy of service to this country that begs to be embraced today.
Not to be trite or hackneyed, but it would do well to remember this:
“Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”
John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961