John F. Kennedy made his famous peace address at American University in June of 1963. I was strongly moved when I read it so I share it with you now.
“Too many of us think that peace is impossible. Too many think it is unreal but that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are man made; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Mans reason and spirit have often solve the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again. I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and goodwill of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams, but the merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that are only an immediate goal.
Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on it a gradual evolution in human institutions—on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace; no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenges of each new generation. For peace is a process—a way of solving problems.
So, let us not be blind to our differences—but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot and now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”