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Video: JFK's Historic Call to Service 50 Years On

JFK's speech launched led to the birth of the Peace Corps, and eventually City Year, Americorps, and Teach for America. Rhetoric can have an impact.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLmiOEk59n8

Half a decade ago today on a blistering cold morning, a 43-year-old John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th U.S. President. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dion recalls JFK's address as both solemn and soaring.


Fifty years on, we have not heard an inaugural address like it. Tethered to its time and place, it still challenges with its ambition to harness realism to idealism, patriotism to service, national interest to universal aspiration.

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Dion confesses that JFK's speech cast such a spell on him that he bought it on an LP record at his local supermarket and played it over and over. The most memorable phrase from the address of course, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," continue to inspire.

Here at GOOD we celebrate this speech for launching an ethos of national service that birthed the Peace Corps, and eventually City Year, Americorps, and Teach for America.

image via The Guardian

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