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December 27, 2009

Gardeners cast a vision larger than victory so people remember why the struggle is important. For example, John F. Kennedy—at the height of the Cold War—cast such a vision in this, the archetypal Gardener message:

Today some would say that those struggles are all over—that all the horizons have been explored—that all the battles have been won—that there is no longer an American frontier… [w]e stand today on the edge of a New Frontier…a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils…. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals not to their pride, not to their pocketbook—it holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security… Beyond that frontier are the uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice… It would be easier to shrink back from that frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the past…

I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier… There may be those who wish to hear… more harsh rhetoric about the men in the Kremlin… [T]he harsh facts of the matter are that we stand on this frontier at a turning point in history. We must prove all over again whether this nation—or any nation so conceived—can long endure… That is the real question. Have we the nerve and the will? Can we carry through in an age where we will witness not only new breakthroughs in weapons of destruction—but also a race for mastery of the sky and the rain, the ocean and the tides, the far side of space, and the inside of men’s minds? Are we up to the task? Are we equal to the challenge? That is the question of the New Frontier. That is the choice our nation must make… All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we shall do. And we cannot fail that trust, and we cannot fail to try.

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