[January 20, 2014] There has been much to say about how important it is for senior leaders to provide a compelling and clear vision. That is something that President John F. Kennedy provided in his inauguration speech on January 20, 1961.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and a day to remember both MLK and JFK, two important figures in the improvement of civil rights for many who did not enjoy the benefits of being treated equally.
JFK’s speech is considered the second most important speech of the late 20th century, second only to MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech given on August 28, 1963. This is the speech that King called for an end to racism.
JFK’s speech was unusually short, less than 14 minutes in length. While the famous speech has several themes, mostly surrounding the threats of nuclear war, he also had a call for action to the American public – “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
The speech was compelling and people paid close attention to his words. The world was at the height of the Cold War. JFK made it known that American was a force for freedom and one to be reckoned with, while at the same time being peaceful.
John F. Kennedy made it known that he was a leader who wanted to accomplish many things through the idea of cooperation and that divisiveness will accomplish little.
“United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative adventures. Divided there is little we can do.” – John F. Kennedy, U.S. President
A direct link to JFK’s inauguration speech can be found in this link: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/PDFFiles/John%20F.%20Kennedy%20-%20Inaugural%20Address.pdf