John F. Kennedy: Reading Comprehension
John F. Kennedy is considered one of the outstanding presidents in United States' history. He inspired hope in not only the citizens of the United States, but also in citizens of the world. Despite the many controversies surrounding President Kennedy, his message of hope and belief in the future remains inspiring as the world becomes a "Global Community". The following reading section contains highlights of the transcript of his Inaugural Address on that day of hope in January 1961.
Before you begin to read, here is a list of some of the vocabulary that might be new to you:
|abolish||Verb: to eliminate|
|assure||Verb: to make sure of something|
|bear any burden||Verb phrase: to make any sacrifice|
|conscience||Noun: a person's feeling of right and wrong|
|dare||Verb: to try something difficult|
|devotion||Noun: commitment to something|
|disciplined by a hard and bitter peace||Phrase: made strong by the cold war|
|endeavor||Noun: attempt to do something|
|exchange places||Verb phrase: to trade positions with someone|
|faith||Noun: belief in something, often religion|
|fellow citizens||phrase: people from the same country|
|glow||Noun: shine of light|
|go forth||Verb phrase: to enter the world|
|granted||Verb: given the opportunity|
|heirs||Noun: people who inherit something|
|observe||Verb: to watch|
|oppose any foe||Verb phrase: confront any enemy|
|pledge||Verb: to promise|
|proud of our ancient heritage||Phrase: proud of our past|
|sacrifice||Verb: to give up something|
|solemn oath||Phrase: serious promise|
|tempered by war||Verb phrase: made strong by war|
|torch has been passed||Phrase: responsibilities given to the younger generation|
|undoing||Noun: destruction of something made|
|wishes us well or ill||Verb phrase: wants good or bad for us|
"John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address" - 1961 - by John F. Kennedy
We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom. . . symbolizing an end as well as a beginning. . .signifying renewal as well as change for I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.
The world is very different now, for man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forbears fought are still at issue around the globe. . .the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God. We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution.
Let the word go forth from this time and place. . .to friend and foe alike. . . that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. . . born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage. . .and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today. . .at home and around the world.
Let every nation know. . .whether it wishes us well or ill. . . that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge. . .and more...
...In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger; I do not shrink from this responsibility. . .I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. . .and the glow from that fire can truly light the world...
...And so, my fellow Americans. . .ask not what your country can do for you. . .ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world. . .ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the Freedom of Man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds; let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
Kennedy Comprehension Quiz
Wow! That is an inspiring speech even after all these years have passed. The assassination of John F. Kennedy marks a special point in the history of the United States. Many people feel that things got worse after he was shot in Dallas. Obviously, we will never know what might have been (3rd conditional!), but many of us like to look back to President Kennedy as an example of a young and promising leader.
Enough pondering (noun: wondering about, thinking about)! On to the reading comprehension quiz. Remember that the answers are what John F. Kennedy said. In some cases you might disagree, and that is fine, but the answers are what Kennedy said and felt not what your opinion may be.