Creator: US President John F Kennedy, Speech delivered before a joint session of Congress, May 25, 1961.
Purpose: To secure funding for significant US projects to boost the US economy, support democracy over communism, diminish the threat of nuclear weapons and land a man on the moon.
This opening selection sets the context for wanting to commit to landing a man on the moon.
“…These are extraordinary times. And we face an extraordinary challenge. Our strength as well as our convictions have imposed upon this nation the role of leader in freedom’s cause.
No role in history could be more difficult or more important. We stand for freedom.
That is our conviction for ourselves–that is our only commitment to others. No friend, no neutral and no adversary should think otherwise. We are not against any man–or any nation–or any system–except as it is hostile to freedom. Nor am I here to present a new military doctrine, bearing any one name or aimed at any one area. I am here to promote the freedom doctrine.”
Kennedy then identifies a number of significant programs including:
“…I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
Original Speech to Congress, full transcript: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Ready-Reference/JFK-Speeches/Special-Message-to-the-Congress-on-Urgent-National-Needs-May-25-1961.aspx
The video at the top of this page is not the original speech. It is an excerpt from JFK’s speech at Rice University.
Full video of the latter speech at Rice University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouRbkBAOGEw