The most inspiring quotes from John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy is one of the most quoted people of the 20th century, and his words have inspired for more than 50 years. Whether he was talking about civil rights, public service, the Cold War, or any other topic, people listened and took his words to heart. Here are a few of our favorite JFK quotes.

"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers."

 

"If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help."

 

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."

 

"The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction in the life of the nation, is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose and it is the test of the quality of a nation’s civilization."

 

"The stories of past courage … can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul."

 

"We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light a candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do."

 

"Today every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate that day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under the sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us."

 

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

 

"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

 

"This nation was founded by many men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened."

 

"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."

 

"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger but recognize the opportunity."

 

"We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives."

 

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."