Jfk why the moon

Words: 601-700

Skills: Figurative Language Main / Central Idea

Grades: 8th 9th 10th

Topics: History and Political Writings

Genres: Speech

Lexile Range: 1300L +

Lexile Measure: 1400L

CCSS: History/Social Studies and Reading: Informational Text

Themes:

John F. Kennedy: Why the Moon?


President John F. Kennedy set an ambitious goal in 1961 that America would land on the moon before the end of the decade. In this passage from a speech he gave in 1962, President Kennedy reaffirmed his commitment that the U.S. be first in the exploration of space. Students will read the selection and answer questions on the figurative language and the main idea.

Reading Comprehension Passage

John F. Kennedy: Why the Moon?

On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at Rice University in Houston, Texas. His remarks are a continuation of a promise he made in 1961 to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. The promise was kept when on July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon. Below is part of President Kennedy’s speech. His reference, “Why does Rice play Texas?” refers to Rice University playing football against the University of Texas at Austin.

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If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. Explain the metaphor in the speech that compares the sea to space.



2. Find one example of alliteration in the speech.



3. Based on this speech passage, how does President Kennedy view space?



4. Explain what he means when he says, “For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own.”