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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1815
AUTHOR: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917–63)
QUOTATION: In its [knowledge’s] light, we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, “In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.”
ATTRIBUTION: President JOHN F. KENNEDY, address at the University of California, Berkeley, California, March 23, 1962.—Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, p. 266.

Kennedy used this story a number of times. The attribution to Marshal Lyautey is unverified.