In his recent inaugural speech Boston’s new mayor Marty Walsh referred to John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” quote but expanding it to encompass Bunker Hill, Mission Hill and all the hills of Boston. Over 50 years ago John F. Kennedy used the same image in a speech of farewell and homage to his roots in Boston and in Massachusetts as he was about to embark on his historic journey to the Presidency. From the archive…
JFK’s Speech of Farewell to the Massachusetts Legislature ~ January 9, 1961
MassMoments reminds us that on this day January 9, 1961, President-elect John Fitzgerald Kennedy addressed the Massachusetts legislature. He acknowledged in an oft-quoted reminder that “of those to whom much is given, much is required.” Yet, the main subject of his address was the unique legacy of the Commonwealth – our Bay State. He noted: “No man about to enter high office in this country can ever be unmindful of the contribution this state has made to our national greatness…. Courage — judgment—integrity—dedication—these are the historic qualities of the Bay Colony and the Bay State.” Kennedy took formal leave of the state and on January 20, 1961 he stood hatless in the bitter cold on the steps of the Capitol and stepped into history as he was inaugurated the 35th President of the United States.
…in 1961, John F. Kennedy bade farewell to the people of Massachusetts and reminded them of the state’s unique legacy. In a speech at the State House, the youngest man and first Catholic elected to the presidency quoted the words of John Winthrop in 1630, “We must always consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us.” “No man about to enter high office in this country,” Kennedy said, “can ever be unmindful of the contribution this state has made to our national greatness.” He referred to the “enduring qualities of Massachusetts” — “they are,” he explained, “an indelible part of my life, my convictions, my view of the past, and my hopes for the future.”
Read more from MassMoments here: http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=12
You can read President Kennedy’s entire speech here in a post from 2011: https://www.richardhowe.com/2011/01/09/5947/#more-5947