And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. I pledge you that we shall neither commit nor provoke aggression. That we shall neither flee nor invoke the threat of force. That we shall never negotiate out of fear and we shall never fear to negotiate. Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history, it has been used by those who could not prevail either by persuasion or example. But, inevitably, they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because.
Terrorists themselves came to realize free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is, in the light of that history, that every nation should know be he friend or foe that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ich bin ein Berliner. The path we have chosen for the present is full of.
Hazards, as all paths are. But is is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation, and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose and that is the path of surrender, or submission. We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies.
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And skills. Because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others too. I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. Where no Catholic prelate, would tell the president, should he be Catholic, how to act. And no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. Where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. And where no man is denied public office merely because his.
Religion differs from the president who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him. I have therefore chosen this time and place to discuss a topic upon which ignorance too often abounds, and the truth too rarely perceived, and that is the most important topic on earth, peace. What kind of a peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek Not a PaxAmericana, enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave, or the security of the slayed. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind.
Of peace that makes life on Earth worth living. The kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children. Not merely peace for Americans, but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time, but peace in all time. We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American constitution. The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities. Whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans.
As we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life that all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place Who among us would then be content with the councils of ‘patience’ and ‘delay’ 100 years of delay have passed.
Since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice, they are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free. The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society. And we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago.
That the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official.