After climbing decks, America, in all her glory, has cemented her dominance in the soil of international relations. The inaugural speech of a newly elected president does not only speak to the American citizens, but also the international community.
Such is the likes of JFK’s inaugural speech. His speech is a monument, a treatise that screams utopia for every citizen, every country, and every state.
An inaugural speech is given by every president at the inception of his tenure. It is a written document of his message, his wishes, and his functions. Some might say that the inaugural speech is to be used as a basis for foreshadowing the success of a president's tenure.
What makes the speech of John F. Kennedy different? JFK’s inaugural speech puts him under the light of humility, modesty, goodwill, and all ardent qualities possessed by a good leader. But who is JFK and what did he stand for?
Often referred to as JFK, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a politician and the thirty-fifth president of America under the democrat party — he was the youngest elected president of America, at age forty-three, and the first catholic president. He served as the president from 1961 to November 1963, when he was assassinated.
Growing up, JFK was affiliated with a wealthy political family in Brookline, Massachusetts. He schooled at Harvard and graduated in 1940. He was unable to join the U.S army because of a bad back, and eventually joined the navy. In his navy days, he was in command of a torpedo boat that sank. He survived but his brother did not.
Before he became president, he got involved in politics, with the help of his father, he served as a congressman for six years and became a senator in 1953. In 1960, he ran for president against vice president Nixon and won.
During his tenure he got entangled in the cold war, ending the Cuban missile crises — but failing to remove the communist party, and building of the Berlin wall. Unfortunately, his tenure was cut short when he was assassinated in 1963.
On Friday, January 20, 1961, JFK’s inaugural speech was given at the Eastern portico of the United States Capitol in Washington DC. In all sundry, JFK’s speech is regarded as one of the most captivating and steering speeches in American history. It is beautiful: a book of all elements of a utopia.
He started with acknowledging the presence of the speaker, chief justice, outgoing President Truman, Vice President Nixon, the reverend clergy and American citizens. He was deliberate in his words, highlighted the concepts of freedom whilst removing party sentiment from his victory.
As he spoke, he established the role of America in the international community. JFK did this by creating a father-like image of America to other states, therein. In this, he recognized the dominance and power of the U.S, pledging to fight against all forms of tyranny in affected countries. He also found acceptable the decolonization of former colonies, incorporating them into the able system of democracy.
Further, he acknowledged American allies with similar ideologies, cultures, and beliefs and vowed to aid countries “south of the USA border”; removing them from the grips of contentious powers. To cement his viewpoint, he promised to help the United Nations achieve their objective of world peace, also assisting them in their numerous functions.
Moreover, he recognized the adversaries of America — in this instance, the USSR — and called for the dissension of the cold war. JFK expressed that both sides should “embrace civility, not as a sign of weakness”, explore what problems unite rather than the ones that disparage. In his message to USSR, he avered the formulation of serious proposals for the control of arms. JFK encouraged the use of science for betterment, to relive the heavy burdens it has plagued the world with, rather than destruction.
And finally, to the American citizens, whom he so much cherished and obliged himself with. He encouraged them to foster peace, unity, and defense of freedom, thereby taking a patriotic stance in everything they do. In other words, he made his voice clear by telling Americans to not be needy, but instead, make themselves useful to their motherland.
He closed with a hopeful remark to both citizens and non-citizens, to hold America in high esteem, as America does likewise. To carry on with God’s faithful deed as God continues to provide his help and blessings, because, in his words, “God’s work must truly be our own”.
JFK’S inaugural speech was extraordinary. Its mark has been engraved, in-depth, not only in American history but in the world’s history. It is safe to say that his speech, to a large degree, echoed with the path of his administration. The unfortunate event that took place in November 1963, ending his short stay on earth will never be forgotten.
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