Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower,
Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens:
We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom —
symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well
as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath
our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to
abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same
revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the
globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of
the state, but from the hand of God.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let
the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch
has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered
by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and
unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which
this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at
home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price,
bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure
the survival and the success of liberty.