RICE UNIVERSITY 1962 – American Leadership or ‘Leadership of A Free People,’ A Short Course (with new releases from the JFK Library 28JUN19)

This popular post from 2017 on the 100th Birthday of JFK is re-published here for the third time with a new release of the speech from the John F Kennedy  Presidential Library…


Everything we love of America is here in JFK’s speech.  See LBJ in the front right with sunglasses on – pen in hand – thinking and taking notes as his President speaks after minute 10:00?

Hear the tribute to Science and Scientists?  To the Republic and The Tax-Payers and the honesty with the folks paying for it?

So many of us. So many from this generation of scientists took our first steps thanking those who saw – like us – the need for a strong American Science program and then paid for it.

Here is what the 2017 Noble Laureate in Physics wrote in 1973 for his book GRAVITATION as an acknowledgment…


Finally, JFK’s speech inspired a new era of American Re-assessment in all avenues of our social life as a people, here summarized by his daughter, the Ambassador to Japan in May, 2017:

As you can see from the recollections of  JFK’s daughter and grandkids, my generation took The Moon Challenge deadly serious.

We saw the internal logic of JFK’s speech:

We are behind. Humans will be explore space with, or without, Americans.  We need to explore space for our own good and that of Humankind. Our commitment to do so mean we must be in the leadership as a free people.



(1) Only a free people, representing all ethic backgrounds and cultures can explore space without prejudices to the scientific discoveries and to our own ignorance, bringing the BEST of Humankind.

(2) “We do it, not because it is easy, but because it is HARD.”  Because it is HARD, it brings out and fortifies our strength, and exposes our weaknesses. This is friendly competition to make us into teams. Because it is HARD, it unites us in the challenge.

(3) So, if we explore space, “WE MUST LEAD IT”, because to fulfill our commitments to ourselves and to humankind in general and all nations in particular the USA must lead.  “ONLY A FREE PEOPLE CAN DO THAT.”

(4) And right now, we have a glimmer of a chance to keep space clear of,  “weapons of mass destruction” and, “in a state of peace and freedom” for all humankind.

(5) “Some say, this is too much…We should bide our time.  No, we are not sprung from a people that bided its time and waited,”  for a King 3,000 miles to make up his mind and grant us our freedom. Who took it!  As we plan to take space and space exploration. Not for ourselves alone, but for all free people, and nations, and future generations.



An Astronaut friend in 2017 confounded me by confiding,  “Some in the Administration think JFK was wrong in setting The Moon as our goal in 10 years.”

This was not some musical or mythical Camelot.  This was a 20th Century highpoint of this American Republic.  I was 12.  Everything we have from PCs and Tang, to internet and carbon fiber and high tech flow from the fact we took up that challenge JFK laid down, and succeeded.

A couple of points after The Shutdown

I reflect back, on yesterday, during the sitting President’s State of The Union speech.  I heard a lot about America being great or “choosing to make America Great.”  I hears some things about “American astronauts going to the I.S.S. and The Moon, in American rockets this year, as if that would unusual and a salient point of celebration.  “Americans going to space on American-built rockets.”  It did look like Buzz Aldrin was caught off guard, sort of applauding?

A far cry from leading humankind in space exploration. So much so, that the official NASA tweets were just fragments of time from JFK’s Rice University speech!  And videos of American Astronauts on The Moon in American Rockets!

I looked at Vice President Pence who is responsible for N.A.S.A. and The Space Council.  ‘Stoic’ comes to mind, as always.

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