Two of the greatest speeches ever delivered by an American president bookend this extraordinary documentary film. It opens with President John F. Kennedy giving the commencement speech at American University on June 10, 1963 and it closes with his civil rights speech to the American people the following day. It is a deft artistic touch that suggests the brevity of JFK’s heroic efforts for world peace and domestic racial equality and justice before he was assassinated in a public execution in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
In the former anti-war speech, he called for the end to the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the halt to the arms race, and the abolishment of war and its weapons, especially nuclear. He said:
What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.