JFK Speeches

These speeches are delivered:

  • “In character”
  •  With emotion
  • From memory
  • With a corresponding slide presentation
  • And with Kennedy’s distinctive accent

Furthermore, each speech is preceded by a talk describing the setting, reasons and necessity for the speech.  Also, each speech is followed by questions from the audience.   And JFK Expert Mike Lowe will answer any and all questions “in character” or not.

john-f-kennedy-inaugural-addressInaugural Address*
Washington, DC –January 20, 1961

  • Who suggested the term “adversary” instead of “enemy?”
  • Why didn’t John Kennedy’s mother and father sit directly behind him on the podium so that they could be seen on TV?
  • If Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford were invited to the Inaugural Address, why weren’t they present?

image001City Upon a Hill*
Boston, MA – January 10, 1961

  • What did Ambassador Kennedy say to his son after this speech?
  • The 1630 ship mentioned in this speech is also the name of Jacqueline and Jack Kennedy’s 1955 still born child. What is it?
  • Which official function did Kennedy perform in Cambridge during the approximate time of this speech?

image002University of Washington
Seattle, WA – November 16, 1961

  • Was this speech meant for the Joint Chiefs as well as the Soviet Union and why?

houston_ministerialHouston Ministerial Association
Houston, TX – September 12, 1960

  • What did Speaker Sam Rayburn say about John Kennedy’s speech?
  • Why was the reference to the Alamo added the night before the speech?
  • After the speech, Kennedy answered all questions. Which event, which took place in the late 1940’s, dominated the questions?

Israel, we salute you!Israel, We Salute You!*
New York, NY – April 29, 1956

  • When did John Kennedy visit Palestine and what were his thoughts about the Arabs and the Jews?
  • Which Yiddish phrase did Kennedy use in this speech?

Why We go to the moonWhy we go to the moon!
Houston, TX – September 12, 1962

  • When asked why he was willing to spend billions for space exploration and not for social programs, what was his answer?
  • The President’s Science advisor, Jerome Wiesner of MIT, assessed the chances of a US moon landing. What were they?
  • What US breakthrough in weapons technology ironically gave the Soviets the lead in space exploration?

CIVIL RIGHTS AddressCivil Rights Address*
Washington, DC – June 11, 1963

  • What did President Kennedy say to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, Ralph Abernathy and other civil rights leaders in the Oval Office about their cause, the “freedom riders” and the prospects for legislation?
  • Why was the President ready to go on national television from the Oval Office and deliver this speech extemporaneously? And which portion was?
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. watched the address on TV. What did he exclaim, according to Sorensen, once Kennedy finished.

Berlin WallBerlin Wall*
Berlin, Germany – June 26, 1963

  • What did Ted Sorensen say to the President immediately after this speech and what did they both agree to do?
  • Did he really mean “jelly donut?”
  • Kennedy deviated, as he often did, from his prepared text. Why?

KENNEDYCuban Missile Crisis
Washington, DC – October 22, 1962

  • Kennedy’s tape recording system caught the true reaction from his military advisors, even after the crisis had passed. What did the military unknowingly say into the White House tape recording system once Kennedy left the room?
  • The President was thinking about his time in the South Pacific during this crisis. Why?

Amherst CollegeImportance of the Arts*
Amherst, MA – October 26, 1963

  • Ted Sorensen wrote most of the President’s speeches but not this one. Who did?
  • If Kennedy was honoring the deceased Robert Frost at Amherst, why had the President stopped talking to Frost, even while Frost lay on his death bed? What could the elderly Frost have done or said that so angered Kennedy?
  • Which song did Evelyn Lincoln say the President liked the most? It’s not likely to be sung on Broadway or in Hollywood but in a Boston Irish Tavern.

Irish ParliamentIrish Parliament*
Dublin, Ireland – June 28, 1963

  • Is it possible to quote Benjamin Franklin, Robert E. Lee, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Charles Stuart Parnell, James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, Henry Grattan, John Boyle O’Reilly, Edmund Burke, David Lloyd George, George Bernard Shaw,  William Jennings Bryan, The Boys of Wexford,  and, George William Russell all in one speech? Yes. And it happened only once, and, it happened naturally in Ireland.

Naval AcademyNaval Academy Address*
Annapolis, MD – August 1, 1963

  • Which 4 words of advice did the former Lieutenant give to the plebes?
  • The President earned a nickname while serving in the South Pacific – “Crash Kennedy.” Why that name and what did he do to deserve it?

american_universityAmerican University
Washington, DC – June 10, 1963

  • Kennedy delivered a closely guarded speech at American University aimed for the Soviet Union, only a handful of advisors knew of its contents, and certainly not the Joint Chiefs.
  • How daring was it to say, “Our long range goal in Geneva, however, is complete and total disarmament” in 1963?
  • Why was this speech not jammed by the Soviets but broadcast to the Soviet people?

johnson_kennedy_ft_worth_chamberFort Worth Chamber*
Fort Worth, Texas – November 22, 1963

  • Kennedy’s “cold warrior” side re-emerges.

dallas_trade_martDallas Trade Mart
“The speech never given.”
Dallas, Texas – November 22, 1963

  • “Watchman on the walls of freedom.”

* Knows speech in its entirety.