Today, the National Archives will release the final documents that outline details of the the John F. Kennedy assassination. In 1963, the 35th President of the United States was gunned down while his motorcade traveled through a Dallas neighbor hood on November 22.  In the years since, many conspiracy theories as to how the assassination happened and who was involved have been the focus of Kennedy’s legacy.  As interesting as these are, the life Kennedy lived is far for fascinating and inspiring.  Today’s #ThursdayThoughts are 39 inspirational JFK quotes about life, leadership, education and poetry— one for each year of his life. Hopefully, they will inspire you as much as Kennedy inspired an entire nation and the world.

  1. Image courtesy of AARP

    Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
  2. If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
  3. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
  4. The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.
  5. Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.
  6. Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
  7. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
  8. There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
  9. The greater our knowledge increases, the more our ignorance unfolds.
  10. Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.
  11. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or make it the last.
  12. A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
  13. Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
  14. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.
  15. Those who dare to fail miserably can acheive greatly.
  16. Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men.
  17. Life is never easy, there is work to be done, obligations to be met— obligations to truth, justice and to liberty.
  18. Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
  19. 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.
  20. A child miseducated is a child lost.
  21. We do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard.
  22. There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
  23. Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.
  24. Failure has no friends.
  25. Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource
  26. Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
  27. One true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members.
  28. The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.
  29. There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts.
  30. It is time for a new generation of leadership, to cope with new problems and new opportunities. For there is a new world to be won.
  31. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors.
  32. Let us not think of education only in terms of its costs, but rather in terms of the infinite potential of the human mind that can be realized through education. Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our Nation.
  33. Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
  34. We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
  35. The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.
  36. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
  37. Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind
  38. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.
  39. 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.


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