Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961

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Author: John F. Kennedy  | Date: July 5, 1961

272
Remarks at Ceremonies Marking the 150th Anniversary of Venezuelan Independence.
July 5, 1961

Mr. Secretary, Your Excellency the Ambassador of Venezuela, and other Representatives of the Governments in our hemisphere, ladies and gentlemen:

We celebrate today the liberation, 150 years ago, of a great American nation, Venezuela. We do so before a statue of its liberator, Simon Bolivar, an American illustrious-an American who is held in common regard by all the sister Republics of this great neighborhood. By this act, we give double testimony: of our friendship for the land that gave him birth and that he launched on the road to freedom; and of our own rededication to the ideal of which he was the first and perhaps the greatest prophet—the unity of the Americas.
Fifteen years ago this month, PresidentBetancourt of Venezuela said before another statue of Bolivar: "Today our concern and interest is to make his [Bolivar’s] message live, to incorporate his ideology in our concepts, to follow loyally his luminous example in our daily tasks as governors and governed." It is as important today to do all of these things.

Bolivar with his insight and genius pursued goals then that we strive to attain today. His greatest dream was of a mutually defensive union of all the Republics of the hemisphere against the aggression of foreign philosophies. Its substance inspires the determination of today’s statesmen of the Americas to protect their heritage of freedom from alien encroachment; to realize to the fullest the spiritual and material greatness of our nations; to extend to all the Americas the benefits of freedom and social justice; to make common war against poverty and sickness and man’s inhumanity to man.

This determination is today’s expression of the great world revolution whose principles were clarioned from Philadelphia 185 years ago yesterday, again from Caracas 150 years ago today, and whose aims must never be considered to be finally finished or accomplished. It was and is a revolution based on the ideals of human equality and dignity; a revolution that inspires men—as long as man aspires to be free—as they must be eternally; a revolution so flexible that it answers the needs of all of our countries, of all of our races, of all of our cultures. Like all great movements in the history of man, it has followed an uneven course. Men have tried to stem it, to divert it. Its ideals have been distorted and redefined to sap them of its essence, which is freedom. But always when this revolution has been imperiled men have risen to strengthen others’ faith in it, to inspire them to its defense. In our lifetime we of the Americas must be such men and women. And I am confident that this generation who hold positions of responsibility in this great area of the world, the Western Hemisphere, will meet their responsibilities—not merely yesterday, the Fourth of July, and not merely today, which is another equally important anniversary, but every day of every month of every year during the great decade of the 1960’s.

Allied for progress, for a determined effort to realize the dreams of those who made our countries free, we are on the eve of great undertakings in our own hemisphere. May Bolivar’s words be a beacon for all of us today: "The freedom of the new world is the hope of the universe."

As the Secretary of State said, the man we honor today played a significant and vital role in the liberation of six countries. It is a source of pride to those of us who live in my country that the Founding Fathers of this country played a role not only in the liberation of the United States, but by the standard that they raised played a great role in the liberation of other countries, even down to the present day.

Every action that we take for freedom has implications far beyond the frontiers of our own country. This hemisphere seeks a better life for its people. It is committed to progress, and it is committed to that progress through freedom.

It’s a source of great satisfaction as President of the United States to salute a hero of our hemisphere from whose life and example we gather in this country, and in all the countries that share our commitment to freedom, great inspiration today.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11 a.m. at wreathlaying ceremonies at the Simon Bolivar Monument near the Pan American Union. His opening words referred to Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Dr. Jose Antonio Mayobre, Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States.

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Chicago: John F. Kennedy, "272 Remarks at Ceremonies Marking the 150th Anniversary of Venezuelan Independence.," Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.819 494. Original Sources, accessed September 23, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DBXFEXEVFAJ9H6M.

MLA: Kennedy, John F. "272 Remarks at Ceremonies Marking the 150th Anniversary of Venezuelan Independence." Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.819, page 494. Original Sources. 23 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DBXFEXEVFAJ9H6M.

Harvard: Kennedy, JF, '272 Remarks at Ceremonies Marking the 150th Anniversary of Venezuelan Independence.' in Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.819, pp.494. Original Sources, retrieved 23 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DBXFEXEVFAJ9H6M.