As many of you know, Theodore Sorensen, who was JFK’s brilliant speechwriter and close adviser, passed away today at a New York hospital at the age of 82. Sorensen has a rich legacy, and I believe Tim Wiener’s piece in the New York Times does an excellent job highlighting many of Sorensen’s accomplishments and meaningful contributions to the JFK administration.
A few days ago, I wrote a post about Kennedy’s historic presidential campaign. As I read through various articles online, I came across Sorensen’s name and learned that he was particularly influential in overcoming anti-Catholic prejudice when JFK decided to run for office.
He is probably best known for working with JFK on his 1961 inaugural address, which challenged Americans with the infamous phrase: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” According to Weiner’s article in the New York Times, Sorensen drew on the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and the words of Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill for inspiration.
What I find interesting is that in spite all the media we are bombarded with today, we cannot neglect the power of words. Sorensen’s talent and wisdom will transcend generations. His words and insights will be used as inspiration for years to come.