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John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

'What You Can Do For Your Country': JFK's Words In Today's World

"I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation," John F. Kennedy once said.

By Noor Tagouri | November 15, 2016

John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address: "In our hands, my fellow citizens, ... will rest the final success or failure of our course."

Later in the address, he said: "In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility. I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

He ended the address by saying: "With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

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