A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honours, the men it remembers.
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.
I'm an idealist without illusions.
The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of this planet.
In giving rights to others which belong to them, we give rights to ourselves and to our country.
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.
The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.
It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.
Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.
If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.
There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
If not us, who? If not now, when?
Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met—obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.
My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
Our problems are man-made; therefore, they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
A child miseducated is a child lost.
The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.
The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.
The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
The human mind is our fundamental resource.
A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality.
For a city or a people to be truly free they must have the secure right, without economic, political or police pressure, to make their own choice and to live their own lives.
We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.
Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes…can no longer be of concern to great powers alone.
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
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.
Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.
We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. Remarks at Amherst College upon receiving an Honorary Degree (439)
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan. [News conference, April 21 1961]
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. [Undelivered remarks for Dallas Trade Mart, November 22 1963]
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. [Inaugural Address, January 20 1961]
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Mankind must put an end to war - or war will put an end to mankind. -Address before the United Nations, September 25 1961