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JFK Speaks at Rice University

Sept. 12, 1962 - President Kennedy said today that “no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations” can afford to lag in the exploration of space. In a speech under a broiling sun this morning at Rice University Stadium in Houston, the President declared: “Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power. This generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space.” He paused and then departed from his prepared text: “We mean to be a part of it — we mean to lead it.” The throng of 40,000, mostly students, cheered loudly. This was the second day of the President’s two-day tour of four space installations.

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