On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy addresses the UN General Assembly with his proposal for a joint mission to the moon.
His suggestion for “new cooperation” surprised Soviets and Americans alike. Though, as he said,
“[s]pace offers no problems of sovereignty.”
Kennedy went on:
“The contest will continue–the contest between those who see a monolithic world and those who believe in diversity–but it should be a contest in leadership and responsibility instead of destruction, a contest in achievement instead of intimidation. Speaking for the United States of America, I welcome such a contest. For we believe that truth is stronger than error–and that freedom is more enduring than coercion. And in the contest for a better life, all the world can be a winner.
I know that some of you have experienced discrimination in this country. But I ask you to believe me when I tell you that this is not the wish of most Americans–that we share your regret and resentment — and that we intend to end such practices for all time to come, not only for our visitors, but for our own citizens as well.
Too often a project is undertaken in the excitement of a crisis and then it begins to lose its appeal as the problems drag on and the bills pile up. But we must have the steadfastness to see every enterprise through.
Let us complete what we have started. For “No man who puts his hand to the plow and looks back,” as the Scriptures tell us, “No man who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Additionally, let us, as united Americans, renew our cooperation, on the strength of truth. Then, we can continue the work to fulfill the lofty vision Our Founders had for Our Republic.