Keating commemorates Kennedy in first House speech

Our new congressman remembers JFK's inaugural speech

WASHINGTON -- Cape Cod's and the 10th District's new Democratic congressman, Rep. Bill Keating, commemorated the late President John F. Kennedy's inauguration fifty years ago today in Keating's first speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"President Kennedy's words are timeless, and we can and should learn from them today. He called on our country to remember that civility is not a sign of weakness."

Noting in his remarks Wednesday evening that his office is the same one once occupied by the future president when he served in the House, Keating hailed the iconic words from JFK's inaugural address, delivered on Jan. 20, 1961, which inspired, as the current congressman noted, "my generation and the generations to come."

"President Kennedy's words are timeless, and we can and should learn from them today," Keating recalled. "He called on our country to remember that civility is not a sign of weakness."

"His words should inform our national conversation as we hopefully renew our commitment to respect and graciousness, where politics means more than stark divisions and glaring partisanship," Keating said.

Echoing the mood in the halls of congress since the violence against another House member in Tucson on Jan. 8, a mere three days after the 112th Congress was sworn in, Keating pledged to work across the aisle in pursuit of solutions to pressing national problems.

"Our country needs healing," Keating continued, again invoking that late president's words, "and Kennedy would believe that it is up to all of us to participate in restoring this type of civility."

Calling on his constituents of "all political stripes" to contact him with ideas they may have about how to create jobs and move the country forward or make it safer, Keating invited 10th District citizens to make themselves and their views known to him and participate in the legislative process.

"His words should inform our national conversation as we hopefully renew our commitment to respect and graciousness, where politics means more than stark divisions and glaring partisanship."

"In closing, let us remember that President Kennedy had a long-term vision for this country," Keating said. "He understood that a change in direction takes time, and we understand that a return to the values he kept will not be immediate."

Recalling the soaring rhetorical finish of Kennedy's ironically prophetic inaugural speech, Keating called on the Congress as well as his own constituents to energize their patience with persistence.

"As (Kennedy) said, all of this will not be finished in the first hundred days, nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor perhaps in our lifetime on this planet, but let us begin!"

"So as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration," Keating concluded, "let us begin anew!"

See video of Rep. Bill Keating's speech, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2011, at:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/clip.php?appid=599427367

See President John F. Kennedy's inaugural fifty years ago today.

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