44 Years Ago Today

 This Land Is Your Land

On September 20, 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy gave a speech before the United Nations. It was, in part, a highly political speech in which the President portrayed the United States as a nation of “freedom” and the Soviet Union as a nation of “coercion” . . . but it was also, in part, a highly hopeful speech in which the President suggested that even nations with opposing political goals could cooperate (in some areas) for the betterment of all humanity.

Among other things, President Kennedy suggested this:

. . . Space offers no problems of sovereignty; by resolution of this Assembly, the members of the United Nations have foresworn any claim to territorial rights in outer space or on celestial bodies, and declared that international law and the United Nations Charter will apply. Why, therefore, should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction, and expenditure? Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries – indeed of all the world – cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending someday in this decade to the moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries.

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