Did JFK have a certain "other thing" in mind?

John F. Kennedy once gave a speech at Rice University, a famous quote from which was “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other thing, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”

Did he have a certain something in mind that he was referring to as the “other thing?”

In actuality he says “and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”. I assume this is referring to the preceding paragraph([url=http://www.cs.umb.edu/jfklibrary/j091262.htm]speech text[/url):

From President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University, 12 Sept. 1962:

The “other things” are the other examples of “hard” goals–“climb the highest mountain,” “fly the Atlantic,” and “Rice play Texas”–that Kennedy mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Actually, the correct quote is:


I’m assuming that “the other things” is to be taken as a general statement, and does not refer to anything specific.

I could be wrong.

What a difference two minutes make.

Thanks for the replies.

It sounded to me like he was saying “thing” instead of “things,” but when you realize he doesn’t even pronounce “decade” right, it makes sense that what you hear isn’t always what they said.

“Why does Rice play Texas?” [sub]Hee-hee[/sub]

The same reason Duke plays FSU.

It’s fun…:slight_smile:

Reeder, just to give it some context, my Dad was a Dean at Rice for many years, and both my older sister and my younger brother attended, but did not finish there.

I went to, and graduated from, UT on my own nickel. Hee-hee.

Just out of interest, how did he pronounce it? To my (British) ears, the usual US pronunciation of “de-CAYD” sounds ‘wrong’. Did JFK say “DEC-ayd” like us Brits, or what?

If memory serves, JFK said “de-CAYD”, which always struck me as a northeastern aristrocratic sort of pronunciation. In these parts, it’s always “DEC-ayd”, accent on the first syllable.

And yes, the “other things” are things which are difficult but ought to be done.

[lament]How come our leaders today can’t dream big? Now, “other things” involve bombing weaker nations. Where are the JFK’s of today?[/lament]

JFK’s ‘big dreams’ included attacks on Vietnam and Cuba; that puts him on par with today’s leaders for the bombing weaker nations part.

While the moon mission was a marvelous accomplishment from a scientific and technological standpoing, from a political perspective it was little more than Kennedy’s one-upmanship on the Soviets since they had already beaten us into orbit. Maybe I’m cynical, but I’d say Kennedy didn’t want to go to the moon because it was hard, he wanted to go to make America and himself look better in the eyes of the world.

Hey, they almost won in '89!