……. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us–recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state–our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:
First, were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one’s enemies–and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one’s associates–the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?
Secondly, were we truly men of judgment–with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past–of our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others–with enough wisdom to know that we did not know, and enough candor to admit it?
Third, were we truly men of integrity—men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them–men who believed in us–men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?
Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest.
Courage–judgment–integrity–dedication–these are the historic qualities of the Bay Colony and the Bay State–the qualities which this state has consistently sent to this chamber on Beacon Hill here in Boston and to Capitol Hill back in Washington.
And these are the qualities which, with God’s help, this son of Massachusetts hopes will characterize our government’s conduct in the four stormy years that lie ahead.
Humbly I ask His help in that undertaking–but aware that on earth His will is worked by men. I ask for your help and your prayers, as I embark on this new and solemn journey.
– John F Kennedy, Massachusetts General Court, January 9, 1961