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Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy

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(Washington, D.C. January 20, 1961)

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 that fire

can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans:

ask not what your country can do for you–

ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world:

ask not what America will do for you,

but what together we can do

for the freedom of man.

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