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JFK’s 1962 Fourth of July Speech

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2024 3:01 am

JFK’s 1962 Fourth of July Speech

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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April 29, 2024 3:01 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, during some of the most tense moments of the Cold War, President Kennedy on July 4th 1962 visited Independence Hall to give a motivating speech highlighting the importance of democracy and free enterprise around the world.

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All you can stream with Xumo Play. And we continue here with our American stories. On July 4, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave one of his very best and least known speeches. JFK was a patriot, and though born to a family of wealth and privilege, served in the Pacific in World War II. In the Solomon Islands specifically, he and his Navy mates ran into trouble on a torpedo patrol boat, ET-109. When asked how he came to be a World War II hero, which Kennedy was, he answered with his usual humor.

It was involuntary. They sank my boat. He won the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps medals for his heroism. His brother Joseph, the oldest of nine Kennedy children, was killed in action during World War II while serving as a land-based patrol bomber pilot.

He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. The Kennedy family's love of country and devotion to country was on display in the war that saved Western civilization. And JFK's love and affection for the nation's founding document, our birth certificate, was on full display on that warm summer day in front of Independence Hall, the very building in which the 56 founders signed the Declaration of Independence.

After the usual greetings and thanks, all 50 governors were present and a huge crowd, Kennedy got started. You and I are the executives of the testament, handed down by those who gathered in this historic hall 186 years ago today. For they gathered to affix their names to a document which was above all else, a document not of rhetoric, but of bold decision. It was, it is true, a document of protest, but protests had been made before.

It set forth their grievances with eloquence, but such eloquence had been heard before. But what distinguished this paper from all the others and all the others was the final irrevocable decision that it took to assert the independence of free states in place of colonies and to commit to that goal their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Kennedy then connected the struggle for independence in America in the 18th century to the struggle for independence across the globe in the 20th century. Today, 186 years later, that declaration whose yellowing parchment and fading almost illegible lines I saw in the past week in the National Archives in Washington is still a revolutionary document. To read it today is to hear a trumpet call for that declaration unleashed, not merely a revolution against the British, but a revolution in human affairs. Its authors were highly conscious of its worldwide implications, and George Washington declared that liberty and self-government were, in his words, finally staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

This prophecy has been borne out for 186 years. This doctrine of national independence has shaken the globe, and it remains the most powerful force anywhere in the world today. There are those struggling to eke out a bare existence in a barren land who have never heard of free enterprise, but who cherish the idea of independence. There are those who are grappling with overpowering problems of illiteracy and ill health, and who are ill-equipped to hold free elections, but they are determined to hold fast to their national independence. Even those unwilling or unable to take part in any struggle between east and west are strongly on the side of their own national independence.

Kennedy then propelled the founder's vision to the present, his present, and the great global struggle happening under his watch. The struggle between communism and nations around the world longing to be free. If there is a single issue in the world which divides the world, it is independence. The independence of Berlin, or Laos, or Vietnam. The longing for independence behind the iron curtain. The peaceful transition to independence in those newly emerging areas whose troubles some hope to exploit. The theory of independence is as always old as man himself, and it was not invented in this hall.

But it was in this hall that the theory became a practice. That the word went out to all in Thomas Jefferson's phrase, that the God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. And today this nation, conceived in a revolution, nurtured in liberty, maturing in independence, has no intention of advocating its leadership in that worldwide movement for independence to any nation or society committed to systematic human oppression. And here is how President John F. Kennedy closed things out on July 4, 1962, in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

On Washington's birthday in 1861, standing right there, President-elect Abraham Lincoln spoke at this hall on his way to the nation's capital. And he paid a brief, but eloquent tribute to the man who wrote, who fought for, and who died for the Declaration of Independence. Its essence, he said, was its promise not only of liberty to the people of this country, but hope to the world, hope that in due time, the weight should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. On this fourth day of July, 1962, we who are gathered at this same hall, entrusted with the fate and future of our states and nation, declare now our vow to do our part to lift the weights from the shoulders of all, to join other men and nations in preserving both peace and freedom. And to regard any threat to the peace or freedom of one, as a threat to the peace and freedom of all. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. And you've been listening to President John F. Kennedy on July 4th, 1962, giving what is one of his great speeches of his presidency, one we bring to you every July 4th, and we bring to you a couple of other times each year as well, because it's so worth hearing now and then.

John F. Kennedy's July 4th speech at Independence Hall, 1962, here on Our American Stories. Zoom or Play is your destination for endless entertainment. With a diverse lineup of 350-plus live channels, movies, and full TV series, you'll easily find something to watch right away.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-29 04:29:03 / 2024-04-29 04:33:01 / 4

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