Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

61st ANNIVERSARY OF JFK’S SPEECH CALLING FOR LANDING A MAN ON THE MOON, May 25, 2022

On May 25, 1961, in a speech to a joint session of Congress on Urgent National Needs, President John F. Kennedy called on the nation to commit itself to the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth “before this decade is out.”

The goal was achieved in July 1969 on the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstong and Buzz Aldrin  stepped on the lunar sufrace on July 20 and they and Command Module Pilot Mike Collins safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.

The Apollo 11 landing anniversary is celebrated every year, but not the call to action by JFK. Instead, what many people remember is his speech a year later at Rice University on September 12, 1962, where JFK tried to build support for the Apollo program, which was far from universally embraced by Congress or the public.  In a video clip often used in space documentaries, during the Rice speech he defended the program by saying we do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Perhaps because that clip is played so ofen, many mistakenly believe that is when he started the Apollo program, not a year and a half earlier.

John Logsdon has written two definitive books on JFK and the Apollo program. The first, Decision to the Go to the Moon (MIT Press), published in 1970, details events leading up to that May 25, 1961 speech to Congress.  The second, JFK and the Race to the Moon (Palgrave), completes the story of JFK’s efforts to build support for Apollo, illuminating the doubts he had, and his overall views of the space program.

While we do not know of any events commemorating the 61st anniversary of his speech, we think it is noteworthy and thus are including it in our Calendar for this week.

Details

Date:
May 25
Time:
8:00 am - 11:00 pm