I watched Obama being cheered by thousands in Berlin. Europeans compare him to Kennedy. I support Obama as the peace candidate but much of what I heard him say does not conform to my definition of peace, nor does it echo so accurately the sentiments of John F. Kennedy.
Commencement Address at American University
President John F. Kennedy
Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963
“There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university,” wrote John Masefield in his tribute to English universities–and his words are equally true today. He did not refer to towers or to campuses. He admired the splendid beauty of the university, because it was “a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.”
I have, therefore, chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth too rarely perceived–yet it is the most important topic on earth: peace.
What kind of a peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.
An excerpt from President John F. Kennedy’s commencement address at American University on June 10, 1963. © Kennedy Library Foundation