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September 12, 2022

Chairwoman Johnson Speaks at 60th Anniversary Celebration of President Kennedy’s Speech that the U.S. would Go to the Moon

(Houston, TX) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson joined NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, other NASA officials, and Congressional colleagues at Rice University to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech announcing America’s intent to land humans on the Moon. 

“Hello, I am Eddie Bernice Johnson, and I have the pleasure of chairing the Congressional Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. So, this is a great day for us, and it is a real pleasure to be here to celebrate the 60th anniversary since President Kennedy spoke at this stadium, and so I want to congratulate Rice for having the foresight to work with NASA to bring us here together today.

“In his speech, he challenged us as a nation to accomplish what then seemed impossible—but we have. There’s no better example or representation of the American people. We chose to take giant steps, we chose to know the unknown, and we chose to lead into the future.

“In the years since President Kennedy’s speech, we have made great strides in our endeavors in space exploration. Americans now live and work on the International Space Station, our rovers are exploring the surface of Mars, our telescopes are peering into the depths of the universe, and so much more.

“And many people comment all the time, about how much it costs—I want to share with you, for every dollar we invest, we get seven dollars back in services and materials.

“So as I look at this crowd today I see the faces of rising generations. Nothing in my experience in working with this Committee and students is more fascinating than space exploration. So we must encourage our young people to keep that interest—our work is just really beginning. And soon, thanks to the Artemis program, you will have a chance to experience Americans once again landing on the moon. Except this time, the first woman and the first person of color will be a part and make steps on the Moon. I hope one day that some of you students that are here today will follow in their footsteps.

“To everyone here, and to especially to our students, whether or not you pursue a career in space exploration, I hope you keep the words spoken here sixty years ago in mind: Choose to do the hard things, more often than not, your efforts will land you where you never thought would be possible.

“We never dreamed that we’d reach this sixty years later—but we have—and we’ve gained so much from it, and there’s so much more to explore. Thank you for being here to give homage to the dream of President Kennedy. Congratulations Rice.”