20 January 2011

Words ring true, fifty years later

This week, we've witnessed the fifty-year anniversary of the most prescient farewell address and the most inspiring inaugural address in American history.

Note to all aspiring speechwriters: John F. Kennedy's inaugural address is fourth-shortest inaugural address in US history, clocking in at just under fourteen minutes. Yet it, like the two-minute Gettysburg Address, is one of our country's most memorable orations. Speechwriters, keep this in mind.

1 comment:

SJ said...

Two comments on Ike's farewell speech.

1) Never forget the "Congressional" in "Military-Industrial." Poor Ike wanted it in there, but his speechwriters didn't want to hurt Congress' feelings. You can't have a stool without three legs.

2) I also like how there's all the hubbub of the "Military-Industrial" yet people always seem to ignore the "Scientific-Technological elite" part of his warning or the caution of "plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources for tomorrow." If you know anything about how research is conducted in the US, the Federal government pretty much has academia on a short leash, and his warnings about mortgaging the future rings true with the rampant benefits machinery we've built today.