Here is the full transcript and summary of John F. Kennedy’s speech titled “Why Go To The Moon?” at Rice University.
In his historic speech at Rice University on September 12, 1962, John F. Kennedy passionately advocated for the United States’ commitment to space exploration and the goal of landing a man on the moon. He emphasized the significance of the space race in advancing science, technology, and national prestige. Kennedy famously rallied support for the Apollo program, declaring, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” His speech was a pivotal moment in galvanizing the nation’s determination to achieve the lunar landing, which culminated in the successful Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
Listen to the audio version here:
INTRODUCING SPEAKER: And now, ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.
John F Kennedy – 35th U.S. President
President Pitzer, Mr. Vice President, Governor, Congressman Thomas, Senator Wiley, and Congressman Miller, Mr. Webb, Mr. Bell, scientists, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: I appreciate your presence, having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief.
I am delighted to be here, and I’m particularly delighted to be here on this occasion. We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three. For we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance.