I have welcomed this opportunity to address this historic body, and, through you, the people of Massachusetts to whom I am so deeply indebted for a lifetime of friendship and trust.
For fourteen years I have place my confidence in the citizens of Massachusetts–and they have generously responded by placing their confidence in me.
Now, on the Friday after next, I am to assume new and broader responsibilities. But I am not here to bid farewell to Massachusetts.
For forty-three years–whether I was in London, Washington, the South Pacific, or elsewhere–this has been my home; and, God willing, wherever I serve, this shall remain my home.
It was here my grandparents were born–it is here I hope my grandchildren will be born.
I speak neither from false provincial pride nor artful political flattery. For no man about to enter high office can ever be unmindful of the contribution this state has made to our national greatness.
Its leaders have shaped our destiny long before the great republic was born. Its principles have guided our footsteps in times of crisis as well as in times of calm. Its Democratic institutions–including this historic body–have served as beacon lights for other nations as well as our sister states.
For what Pericles said to the Athenians has long been true of this commonwealth: "We do not imitate–for we are a model to others."
And so it is that I carry with me from this state to that high and lonely office to which I now succeed more than fond memories of firm friendships. The enduring qualities of Massachusetts–the common threads woven by the Pilgrim and the Puritan, the fisherman and the farmer, the Yankee and the immigrant–will not and could not be forgotten in this nation's executive mansion.
They are an indelible part of my life, my convictions, my view of the past, and my hopes for the future…
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 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's farewell address to the Massachusetts Legislature, Boston, January 9, 1961: