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Today in History: September 25, 1961 & 2018 – Addresses Before the UN General Assemblies

Today, President Trump addressed the UN General Assembly. It was a very dignified speech – a speech about peace and freedom and the survival of America.

Today also marks the 57th anniversary of President Kennedy’s first address before the UN General Assembly. He, too, talked about peace and freedom and the survival of America. Go figure.

I won’t spend time comparing and contrasting the two speeches, as this isn’t a Current Events or Rhetoric class. Though, that might be fun, but both gave a good 40 minute speech (and it’s late). However, I invite you to give both a listen. Draw your own conclusions. And, you never know, there may be some future Trivia Questions in these speeches somewhere.

Hey! That’s as good as promising an upcoming quiz. Maybe I should have spent time comparing and contrasting their rhetoric. 😉

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Listen: President Kennedy’s 1961 UN Speech

Listen: President Trump’s 2018 UN Speech

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USA Trivia Answer #25


Who Said: 

“They came to make America work.  They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history.”



President Reagan in his Labor Day Speech at Liberty State Park  on September 1, 80.

Speech: Labor Day Speech at Liberty State Park

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Today in History: September 12, 1962 – Kennedy’s “We Go to the Moon” Speech

On September 12, 1962, at Rice University in Houston, Texas, President Kennedy gave his famous “We Go to the Moon” speech. Here at USA-eVote, we realized that with Trump’s talk of making the Space Force the newest branch of the military, it was important to remind Americans that Trump is not the first president to realize the seriousness of the “Space Race”

In his 1962 speech, Kennedy reminded us that this country was not built by men who looked forward, not backward. That “[t]hose who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space” (Source). During the Cold War, we Americans couldn’t take the risk that Communist Russia would make it to space before us. We had no idea what their plans were for space, should they win the race. Kennedy wanted us to be the leading nation in space. He wanted Americans to be the ones to decide if this new sea, as he referred to it, would be a land of peace or a new war zone. Sound familiar?

Again, Kennedy offered up what would become a famous challenge to Americans: 

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 and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

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President Kennedy promised Americans that we would not only win the Cold War (something that he saw as moral – aka, a Christian state vs. an atheist one), but we would also win the Space Race.

Today, if you go to any Air & Space museum, you’ll see clips of this famous speech, most likely the clip of “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Today, we link the success of Space to President Kennedy. But, as he implored of us 56 years ago today, there’s more to be done!

He admitted that this was “in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us,” but, he continued, we must be bold. And so we must be today, as well. For, after all, “space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked” (Source).

If Kennedy were alive today, he’d want us to keep up the mission, wouldn’t he? He’d want us to be bold and to get the work done.

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Speech: We Go to the Moon

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USA Trivia Answer #19


Who said:


“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.”


34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, during his Farewell Address on January 17, 1961.

Listen: Eisenhower’s Farewell Address

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USA Trivia Answer #12

Who’s speech does this come from? And better yet, when was it delivered and on what occasion?

“It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on. In this land of ours.

“Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by his assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.

“Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.”


Bobby Kennedy’s “Mindless Menace of Violence” speech was delivered on April 5, 1968 – the day after Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated and exactly two months before he, too, would be assassinated. It was, in a sense, his is own eulogy. 



Some more of his speech:

“Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach nonviolence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them. Some looks for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

“For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

“This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all. I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies – to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.

“We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear – only a common desire to retreat from each other – only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers. Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is now what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of human purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.”

Listen to his entire speech.


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On July 25, 1961, President Kennedy addressed the American people on radio and television about the Berlin Crisis. He stated that:

A theme of many of Kennedy’s speeches was “peace through strength.” But he also promised that we would never surrender to gain that peace. We would only win the battle through a strong military and a strong weapons arsenal. In this speech he reminded us: “To sum it all up: we seek peace–but we shall not surrender. That is the central meaning of this crisis, and the meaning of your government’s policy. With your help, and the help of other free men, this crisis can be surmounted. Freedom can prevail–and peace can endure” (Source).

Watch Kennedy’s Berlin Crisis speech in it’s entirety here.

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