‘Seventeen Inspiring Words’

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13th August, 2023

As we get ready to celebrate our 77th Independence Day,

I am reminded of the seventeen most inspiring words in 20th century American history which were spoken by John F. Kennedy, around mid-day, on January 20, 1961, in Washington, D.C.

The occasion was his presidential inauguration, and came as he was concluding his inaugural address.

He had just declared that the torch had been passed to a new generation of Americans – “born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage” – and pledged to “Pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Soon after, he spoke the seventeen words: And so, my fellow Americans:

‘Ask not what your country can do for you – Ask what you can do for your country.’

Those words were positively electrifying. No president had ever challenged citizens, in peacetime, to sacrifice or commit to a larger vision.

With that single sentence, Kennedy inspired people to new possibilities.

He raised their expectations of themselves, and of their nation.

In response, some joined the Peace Corps, others the Green Berets; thousands flocked to Washington to be part of the “New Frontier.” Students, thinking ahead to government service, went to law school or into programs with social benefit. All across the country, Kennedy’s words changed lives.

All, really, because of seventeen simple words of inspiration.

These words are still relevant today and let’s challenge to ask ourselves what is it that we can do for our country.

I know that we have elected officials and they must be held accountable for the job they are getting paid to do but as individuals we also have a responsibility to do something for our country.

“United, there is little we cannot do …. Divided there is little we can do” was another gem from the same speech.

In the words of John Kennedy let your words become deeds. After all, if we are divided there is little we can achieve.

“Help people help themselves” is another wonderful slogan he used in the speech wherein he made a pledge to help break the bond of mass misery by helping them to help themselves.

Most of us complain about the Government not doing what they are supposed to be doing. Yes, we should complain but what are we as an individual doing to help the country. You do not have to be a politician to help the country nor do we need to do something mammoth, every small bit & start counts.

Keep our surroundings clean, paying our taxes on time, following rules, helping people, being kind, all have tremendous benefits which compound to give amazing results.

Let’s do our bit, let’s be better citizens, Let’s celebrate Independence Day everyday & stay blessed forever.