Inaugural address of John F. Kennedy
U.S. President John F. Kennedy delivered his only inaugural address at 12:51 (ET) Friday, January 20, 1961, immediately after taking the presidential oath of office administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
John F. Kennedy was nominated as the Democratic candidate for the presidency in the 1960 presidential election, defeating Republican candidate and Vice President Richard Nixon. In doing so he became the youngest man elected U.S. president and the first Roman Catholic president, but not the youngest president.
By a twist of fate, Kennedy, in replacing Dwight D. Eisenhower, then 70, made the youngest elected president replace the oldest to serve at that time (Ronald Reagan surpassed Eisenhower as the oldest president to serve in 1981.).
Inaugural address 
The address is 1364 words and took 13 minutes and 42 seconds to deliver, from the first word to the last word, not including applause at the end, making it the fourth-shortest inaugural address ever delivered. The speech was also the first inaugural address delivered to a televised audience in color. It is widely considered to be among the best presidential inauguration speeches in American history.
The speech was crafted by Kennedy and his speech writer Ted Sorenson. Kennedy had Sorenson study President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as well as other inaugural speeches. Kennedy began collecting thoughts and ideas for his inauguration speech in late November 1960. He sought suggestions from various friends, aides and counselors, including suggestions from clergymen for biblical quotations. Kennedy then made several drafts using his thoughts and those suggestions. Kennedy included in his speech several suggestions made by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith and by the former Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson II. Kennedy's line "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." is nearly identical to Galbraith's suggestion "We shall never negotiate out of fear. But we shall never fear to negotiate." Stevenson's suggestion "if the free way of life doesn’t help the many poor of this world it will never save the few rich." was the basis for Kennedy's line "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."
Inauguration Day 
The eve of the address was marked by heavy snow, but plans made to cancel the address were overridden. After attending the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, Kennedy headed towards the U.S. Capitol building accompanied by President Dwight Eisenhower to the inaugural ceremony.
Robert Frost attended the inaugural ceremonies, and brought a handwritten poem titled Dedication meant for the President. Although Frost had planned to read aloud a typed copy of the poem at the ceremonies, the sun glare reflecting off the heavy snow that fell the night before made it difficult to read. Frost then recited by memory The Gift Outright, and handed the original handwritten version of Dedication to John and his wife Jacqueline, who framed the poem and wrote on the back: For Jack. First thing I had framed to be put in your office. First thing to be hung there.
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See also 
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Clarke, Thurston Ask Not : The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2004. ISBN 0-8050-7213-6.
- "White House Diaries". John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
- "John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address". Bartleby. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
- "World War II and a Future in Politics", John F. Kennedy, The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, p. 3, retrieved May 5, 2010
- Reuters (May 17, 1981). "Reagan Now Oldest President". The New York Times. p. 28.
- Lawrence, W.H. (January 21, 1961). "Kennedy Sworn in, Asks 'Global Alliance' Against Tyranny, Want, Disease, and War; Republicans and Diplomats Hail Address". The New York Times. p. 1.
- "Kennedy Was in Office Despite Delay in Oath". The New York Times. January 21, 1961. p. 13.
- Wolly, Brian (17 December 2008). "History & Archaeology: Inaugural Firsts - When was the first inaugural parade? Who had the longest inaugural address? A look at presidential inaugurations through time". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- Kennedy, John Fitzgerald. "Inaugural Address". American Rhetoric. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
- JFK Library. "Analyzing the Inaugural Address". Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- National Archives and Records Administration. "John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, 1961". Retrieved January 29, 2008.
- "Analyzing the Rhetoric of JFK’s Inaugural Address". Department of Education and Public Programs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- "Robert Frost's Original Poem for JFK's Inauguration Finds Way to Kennedy Presidential Library". John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
- "The Poetry of Robert Frost". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: John F. Kennedy|
- John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
- Library of Congress, Presidential Inaugurations
- Complete text, audio mp3 and video excerpt of address
- Rhetorical Terms and Techniques of Persuasion from Kennedy’s Inaugural Address as prepared by the Department of Education and Public Programs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum