“Our national strength matters, but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much.”

TorricelliThis comes from a speech by John F. Kennedy that pays tribute to Robert Frost.  He said, “When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations.  When power narrows the areas of man’s concerns, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence.  When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.  For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”  Dipping into this eclectic collection of speeches is like stepping into cool a stream on a summer day.  It’s refreshing to sample moments in American history when people said extraordinary things.

Robert Torricelli and Andrew Carroll, editors, In Our Own Words: Extraordinary Speeches of the American Century (New York: Pocket Books, 2000), p. 242.


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