Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Kennedy, who supported government programs to help those in need, was clear about overall expectations, declaring, "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 the fire can truly light the world."

Continuing with the words that echo Lincoln's refrain that, "we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain," Kennedy challenged with the phrase, " And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Both Lincoln and Kennedy invoked God's assistance, while asking us to be more, to do more. Perhaps Kennedy's closing provides a way for us to remember these anniversaries with action.

"Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on Earth," he closed, "God's work must truly be our own."


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.