"It is insane that two men, sitting on opposite sides of the world, should be able to decide to bring an end to civilization."
- John F. Kennedy, commenting on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 27 October 196239
"A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality."
- John F. Kennedy, from his 1956 book, Profiles in Courage
" In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world."
- John F. Kennedy, 1961 Inaugural Address
"Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war."
- John F. Kennedy, 1961 address to the United Nations
"We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?"
- John F. Kennedy, proposal for Civil Rights legislation, 1963