JFK Speeches - Leadership Transcending
Assassination and Death

JFK speeches - John F. Kennedy embodied the true spirit of leadership...courage, determination, tenacity and perseverance.

JFK Speeches

His life, his famous American speeches and indeed his accomplishments speak for themselves.

There are leadership skills worth noting in this remarkable man's life story - universal and timeless qualities for leadership speeches and positions.


John Fitzgerald Kennedy, famously said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen”.

Indeed, these were words that he lived by; an ideal that he aspired to and a leadership prerequisite that is still relevant and pertinent today, almost four decades on. John Kennedy – the military hero, the president, the leader of men and at times just a fallible man, exemplified universal and timeless leadership principles.

A kaleidoscope of leadership images and lessons to be learned, turn before us as we look back on Kennedy’s life and his contribution to the world.

We see John F. Kennedy cited in his year book as “most likely to become president” ; we hear about him graduating Cum Laude with a degree in International Law from Harvard College. We applaud the recognition he received when he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the biography “Profiles in Courage”.

JFK himself exemplified his own personal profile in courage and leadership. As the images shift, we focus on JFK, a lieutenant commanding a patrol torpedo boat who became a military hero. Kennedy was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, a Purple Heart and the World War 2 Victory Medal for bravery and leadership when his boat was rammed by a Japanese Destroyer. When asked how he became a hero, he modestly replied, "It was involuntary - they sank my boat".

The kaleidoscope turns again - this time to the pinnacle of success achieved. JFK, at the age of 43, became the second youngest President of the United States of America. We remember his challenge, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country?" and his appeal to the world to join together to fight against "the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself".

It is these words in JFK speeches that allow us some insight into the nature of JFK's leadership style. He challenged his fellow man to elevate themselves, not merely for their own personal gain, but for the benefit of humanity as he strove to create a better world.

We see his leadership role of striving against difficult odds, yet remaining resolute and determined in the face of adversity in Kennedy's support of the space program. Here too, JFK is noted as saying, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and to do other things, not because they are easy - but because they are hard." Leadership was personified in JFK as he chose to view obstacles as stepping stones to achieving amazing heights.

We gain further insight into his leadership style when JFK asserted, "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." As a leader of men and nations, he believed in having a vision and an ideal to aspire to. But he also realized that a vision, without a plan, remains just that - a lofty ideal. As a true leader he envisioned a goal and exemplified the notion that " things do not happen - things are made to happen".

Kennedy epitomized universal leadership qualities - presidential potential at a young age cited in his year book; personal courage in a time of war; a wry sense of humor and modesty; a desire to encourage others to be their best for the world; conviction in the face of adversity and a vision implemented through a planned sequence of actions.

JFK shooting and JFK death - his assassination in Dallas on the 22nd of November 1963, saw the world losing a great leader who made things happen!

JFK speeches - defining moments...defining leadership.

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