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63rd ANNIVERSARY OF JFK’S MOON SPEECH, May 25, 2024

On May 25, 1961, three weeks after Alan Shepard became the first American to reach space on a suborbital mission, President John F. Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress and 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.”

President John F. Kennedy addresses a joint session of Congress, May 25, 1961. Credit: JFK Library video

John Logsdon wrote the definitive history of what led up to that announcement and JFK’s efforts to sell the idea to a lukewarm Congress thereafter (John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon).

JFK’s September 1962 Rice University speech where he said “we go to the Moon and do these other things because they are hard” is better known and often mistakenly identified as when he started the Apollo program. The 1962 speech was JFK’s attempt to build support for Apollo.

We haven’t heard of any events to commemorate JFK’s speech and the beginning of the Apollo program, but coincidentally Boeing’s Starliner Crew Flight Test is currently (as of May 18) scheduled for that day.

Details

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