jfk's words & actions


“We are under-exercised as a nation. We look, instead of play. We ride instead of walk. Our existence deprives us of the minimum of physical activity essential for healthy living. And the remedy, in my judgment, lies in one direction; that is, in developing programs for broad participation in exercise by all of our young men and women - all of our boys and girls.”

                -President Kennedy addressing the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Banquet, December 5th, 1961.


Reporter: “If you were to have a son, would you encourage a political career for him?”

Senator Kennedy: “Yes! And I hope if I had a daughter I might encourage her to play some part, I don’t think it should be confined to men only.  I would, definitely. I would hope he would grow up to be, if not a politician, in a sense devoting all his time, I would hope that whatever he did do then he would have some sense of responsibility for what went on.”

John F. Kennedy Jr. watching a clip of his father talking about the potential of his children being involved in politics. 


“However, I think we’re going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don’t think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the term of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.”

~President Kennedy talking about putting a man on the moon, Rice University, Houston, Texas 1962


“Last night somebody sang a song, the words of which I am sure you know, of ‘Comeback to Erin, Mavourneen, come back aroun’ to the land of thy birth. Come back with the shamrock in the springtime, Mavourneen.’ This is not the land of my birth, but it is the land for which I hold the greatest affection, and I certainly will come back in the springtime. Thank you.” -President Kennedy leaving Ireland, June 29, 1963


“So I am glad to come to this State which has played such a significant role in so many efforts in this century, and to say that here in Fort Worth you people will be playing a major role in the maintenance of the security of the United States for the next 10 years. I am confident, as I look to the future, that our chances for security, our chances for peace, are better than they have been in the past. And the reason is because we are stronger. And with that strength is a determination to not only maintain the peace, but also the vital interests of the United States. To that great cause, Texas and the United States are committed. Thank you.”

-President Kennedy speaking at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast, November 22nd, 1963.


I don’t think we have never been stronger. I don’t think our prestige is so high that we can’t do better. I don’t think the Communists are about to collapse. I believe we have to build strength! We have to stand for freedom! We have to demonstrate some vigor in our foreign policy!” - Senator Kennedy’s remarks at the American Legion Convention in Miami, Florida. October 18th, 1960


Reporter: “Dr. Teller, in urging the Senate to reject the Nuclear Test Ban today, said it weakens the American defenses, thus invites attack.”

Kennedy: “Now to anybody who works in the laboratories today, a 30 megaton weapon is perhaps not as sophisticated as a 60, 70, or 80 megaton weapon. But it is still many, many, many times, dozens of times stronger than the weapon that FLATTENED Hiroshima and Nagasaki! How many weapons do you need and how many megatons do you need to destroy?? I said in my speech, what we now have on hand without any further testing, will kill 300 million people in one hour! And that’s uh…and I suppose they can even improve on that if necessary.”

One of my favorite responses of President Kennedy’s. This is his reaction to an absolutely ridiculous suggestion that banning nuclear testing is a bad thing. Here is a link to the video so you can get the full effect and that famous Boston accent is on full display as well:

President Kennedy Responds To a Critic of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty


President Kennedy’s address to the nation on September 30, 1962 concerning the admittance of James Meredith into the University of Mississippi. While the President’s speech called for order it did not that stop the violence that night in Oxford, Mississippi. After the riots there were to be several injured and two dead. James Meredith, with the intervention of troops ordered in by Kennedy, registered for classes on October 1, 1962.


President Kennedy bristled when Fred Friendly of CBS suggested a television program featuring the three living presidents. “Do you mean to say you want me to appear with the hero of World War II? I’ll look like a kid.” The same was asked of Eisenhower and his response was similar to Kennedy’s. “Do you mean to say you want me to appear on the same program with the computer mind who remembers everything? Forget it. He’ll make me look like a dumb old asshole.”


The reason why the war in Indochina has not had the support of the people of that area and the people of Asia, has been that the French have maintained a greater control over the lives of the people. And therefore the Communists under Ho Chi Minh are able to claim that they are fighting for independence and the French appear to be fighting for a maintenance of colonial rule. I therefore believe that before the United States moves in any degree, that independence must be granted to the people. That the people must support the struggle, because unless, as I said that support is forthcoming, any intervention by the United States is bound to be futile.”

Senator John F. Kennedy with a statement about Vietnam in 1953. His assessment and statement of the situation brewing in Vietnam garnered him criticism from the French and fellow Senators.