John “Red Moon.” President Kennedy needed to

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party,  who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. President Kennedy was an influential world leader and his time in the office was marked by high tensions with Communist states in the Cold War. But besides his commendable leadership during the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1961, President Kennedy began an astounding expansion of the U.S. space program and dedicated the nation to the ambitious goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. On September 12th, 1962, President Kennedy delivered a speech, popularly referred to as the “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech, upon the podium at Rice University Houston, Texas, this being home to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA for short. The unique political situation of President Kennedy’s “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech delivered close to the height of the Cold War and toward the beginnings of the “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, were immensely significant. The American public was on the verge of panic over the implications of a “Red Moon.” President Kennedy needed to guide the nation in a new direction and thus on that day he powerfully declared that the United States would “go to the Moon before the decade was out.” President Kennedy begins by establishing a connection with the audience, and thus making them more susceptible to agreeing to the content that followed. It should be noted that Kennedy very cleverly sets the undertone of the speech by addressing the university as “a college noted for knowledge,” this underlying premise being that of a new era for exploration, learning, and discovery. Following this, his speech could be broken down into 4 main points: first, he allegorically condensed 50000 years of human evolution in terms of technology, knowledge and discovery; second, which is also his main point of how “the exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not,” and in doing so he reinforces how space exploration is an inevitability; third, his point addresses some of the prospective concerns and criticisms and synthesises his ultimate thesis. Having gone through this sort of rise to crescendo which helped demonstrate the political, scientific, and ideological importance of space exploration to his audience, this thesis he leads to is that of the necessity of landing on the moon. Thus completing the body of his speech, President Kennedy begins to draw the speech to a close. He takes this opportunity to create emphasis on the fact that the moon landings are imperative and that they will occur “while some of you are still here at school… during the term of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform.” By this he very intelligently and tangibly connects his goal to the lives and occurrences to his audience. The outline and structure of the content of Kennedy’s speech is impeccable. He sophisticatedly wove a narrative, the importance of outer space to humanity and its future and finally laid out what the United States was doing to make this dream a reality. He not only supported his points with ideological and political framing, but also with natural, everyday human tendencies for the need of discovery and knowledge. Although the immediate audience comprised of students, professors, scientists even, he did not fail to acknowledge the American Public at large. He amalgamated both technical terminology and precise scientific detail with rhetorically-flourished, coherent sentences. The overarching tone of the speech had been set to excite the general public for the great adventures to come, the scientists for the scientific significance of space exploration, and finally the politicians for the geo political and ideological implications of such an endeavour. President John F. Kennedy’s speech pointed towards the beginning of the success of man for reaching the moon, and thus in terms of content the speech was a resounding success. To many alive in 1962, the thought of man stepping on the moon was absurd. To dispel this emotion evoked in the minds of the people, Kennedy delivered the speech with pure exuberance and passion. During his speech it can be seen that by personifying his role as the President he conveyed a sense of humanity and humility to the audience, thus making a real connection with his listeners. If I may, I would like to conclude by saying that Kennedy’s “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech is by far one of the most profound, thought provoking, moving and most successful speeches to ever be witnessed. On that day he stood in front of a nation afraid to its bones of Soviet domination in space exploration and presented goals that seemed almost outlandish and impossible, and managed to convince an entire nation that they have nothing to fear about. Kennedy’s speech is representative of powerful persuasion and illustrative of the outstanding things a strong well-constructed and well delivered speech is capable of.