Was JFK’s famous quote, “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” an original?
Some internet sources have attributed the quote to Gen. Omar N. Bradley. However, I have checked Gen. Bradley’s collected writings from 1953 and can’t find a reference to it. 1953 is the year in which Gen. Bradley supposedly made the statement.
JFK must indeed be the originator of the famous quote.
The closest statement I can find from Gen. Bradley is from 11 June 1956 at the commissioning exercises at the University of Akron.
Gen. Bradley addressed new second lieutenants saying:
“So, as you gentlemen go out and continue your military career, remember you are going to assume more and more responsibility. It is an honor and privilege to serve our great country. Continue to learn how to be of great service to that country and remember you are leading men, American men who are really something special. Understand them and be loyal to them while, at the same time, you are being loyal to your superiors, your mission and your country.”
Bradley, General Omar N. “Memorial Day Address.” The Collected Writings Of General Omar N. Bradley. Vol. 2. 321.