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President Kennedy Speaks on Columbus Day

Oct. 12, 1963 - President Kennedy, about 100 Italian-Americans, and a few Spaniards celebrated Columbus Day today with an informal ceremony in the White House rose garden. Mr. Kennedy said that the discoverer of America probably was the foremost sailor in history, but he supposed that Columbus’s perseverance was even more outstanding than his seamanship. “The first voyages are the hard ones,” Mr. Kennedy said, “and they require perseverance and character. I think that is a good lesson for all of us today as we attempt new things, whether it is going into space, going to the bottom of the ocean, or building a better country here.” Without identifying them, Mr. Kennedy said there were some Spaniards present and they deserved recognition too because of Spain’s role in promoting the voyage that led to the discovery of America.

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