Friday, May 1, 2009

JFK Peace Strategy - Lessons for Today

The season of commencement is here and while we may feel sad because it is the end of something, it really is the beginning of a time that can be exciting and meaningful if we strive to be our best selves. Not just the graduates, but all of us who are paying attention.

I attended Brown University's Baccalaureate address last year, my eldest son in cap and gown, proudly receiving his hard-earned undergrad degree in music. Listening to (and sometimes laughing with) author, publisher, philanthropist and teacher-at-large Dave Eggars speak about our connections and responsibilities to our community and to the world was energizing! I wanted to find him and go work for him, immediately!

President Kennedy earned an honorary degree on the day he offered his strategy of peace to the 1963 American University undergrads - I imagine his audience felt how essential each one of them was to the peace process. Here is an excerpt:

"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 to 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 for all time."

In this speech, JFK was talking about the buildup of nuclear arms and the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union; many of his points can be applied to our current world situation. As always, President Kennedy used the poetry and prose of others in his illustrations of how we, as American and citizens of the world, can be better; we owe it to the world to be our best.

Mike Lowe brings the words of JFK to life for audiences in Boston, New England and beyond - more at JFK Experience with Mike Lowe.

1 comment:

emipres said...

If only the powers that be in Washington right now not only learned from JFK's views on world peace, but also his other political views, I think it would be a far less partisan place. The other thing is peace also comes from strength, not from weakness. JFK understood that too.