Friday, May 16, 2008


One of my favourite Presidents of the United States of America is President Bill Clinton and the other is none other than the great President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (hereafter referred to as JFK). I have done quite a bit of research on the man. I have included some of the sites [at the bottom of the article] from which one can read and know more about the 35th President of the United States of America, who sadly only served 3 years of his 5 year term. This is almost a full biography of JFK - but I'd like to call it a summarised yet comprehensive version.

35th President of the United States of America

Presidential Term: 1961-1963
Born: May 29, 1917 in Brookline, MA
Died: Nov 22, 1963. Killed by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, TX
Alma Mater(s):
London School of Economics, Harvard College & Stanford Graduate School of Business
Religion: Roman Catholic
Spouse: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy
Caroline (only surviving member of the Kennedy family), John Jr. (died in a plan crash in 1999), Arabella (died a stillborn in 1956) and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (died after 2 days being born in 1963)

Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street in Brookeline, Massachusetts on Tuesday, May 29th, 1917 at 3:00 p.m., the second son of Joseph P Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald; Rose, in turn, was the eldest child of John ‘Honey’ Fitzgerald Kennedy, a prominent Boston political figure who was the city's mayor and a three-term member of Congress. Kennedy, who was to be the first U.S. president born in the twentieth century, lived in Brookline for his first ten years of life. He attended Brookline's public Edward Devotion School from kindergarten through the beginning of 3rd grade, then Noble and Greenough Lower School and its successor, the Dexter School, a private school for boys, through 4th grade. In September 1927, Kennedy moved with his family to a rented 20-room mansion in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City, then two years later moved five miles (8 km) northeast to a 21-room mansion on a six-acre estate in Bronxville, New York, purchased in May 1929.

He graduated from Choate in June 1935. Kennedy's superlative in his yearbook was "Most likely to become President". In September 1935, he sailed on the SS Normandie on his first trip abroad with his parents and his sister Kathleen to London with the intent of studying for a year with Professor Harold Laski at the London School of Economics (LSE) as his older brother Joe had done, but after a brief hospitalization with jaundice after less than a week at LSE, he sailed back to America only three weeks after he had arrived. In October 1935, Kennedy enrolled late and spent six weeks at Princeton University, but was then hospitalized for two months observation for possible leukemia at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston in January and February 1936. He recuperated at the Kennedy winter home in Palm Beach in March and April, spent May and June working as a ranch hand on a 40,000 acre (160 km²) cattle ranch outside Benson, Arizona, then July and August racing sailboats at the Kennedy summer home in Hyannisport.

In September 1936 he enrolled as a freshman at Harvard College, residing in Winthrop House during his sophomore through senior years, again following two years behind his older brother Joe. In early July 1937, Kennedy took his convertible, sailed on the SS Washington to France, and spent ten weeks driving with a friend through France, Italy, Germany, Holland and England. In late June 1938, Kennedy sailed with his father and his brother Joe on the SS Normandie to spend July working with his father, recently appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James by President Roosevelt, at the American embassy in London, and August with his family at a villa near Cannes.
In 1940, Kennedy completed his thesis, "Appeasement in Munich," about British participation in the Munich Agreement. He initially intended his thesis to be private, but his father encouraged him to publish it as a book. He graduated cum laude from Harvard with a degree in international affairs in June 1940, and his thesis was published in July 1940 as a book entitled Why England Slept, and became a bestseller.
From September to December 1940, Kennedy was enrolled and audited classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In early 1941, he helped his father complete the writing of a memoir of his three years as an American ambassador.
After World War II, Kennedy had considered the option of becoming a journalist before deciding to run for political office.
Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12, 1953. He underwent several spinal operations over the following two years, nearly dying (in all he received the Catholic Church's "last rites" four times during his life), and was often absent from the Senate.
Kennedy ran for the seat, beating his Republican opponent by a large margin. He was a congressman for six years but had a mixed voting record, often diverging from President Harry S. Truman and the rest of the Democratic Party. In 1952, he defeated incumbent Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for the U.S. Senate.
On January 2, 1960, Kennedy officially declared his intent to run for President of the United States.
In September and October, Kennedy debated Republican candidate and Vice President Richard Nixon in the first televised U.S. presidential debates in U.S. history. During these programs, Nixon, nursing an injured leg and sporting "five o'clock shadow", looked tense and uncomfortable, while Kennedy appeared relaxed, leading the huge television audience to deem Kennedy the winner. Radio listeners, however, either thought Nixon had won or that the debates were a draw. Nixon did not wear make-up during the initial debate, unlike Kennedy.

JFK at the White House

John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President at noon on January 20, 1961. In his inaugural address he spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens, famously saying, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." He also asked the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the "common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself." In closing, he expanded on his desire for greater internationalism: "Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you

On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President; he was the youngest to die. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on November 22, 1963, while on a political trip to Texas. He was shot twice in the neck and head, and was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested at a movie theater at about 1:50 p.m. He denied shooting anyone, claiming he was a patsy, and was killed by Jack Ruby on November 24, before he could be indicted or tried.

This picture was taken minutes before he was assasinated

On March 14, 1967, Kennedy's body was moved to a permanent burial place and memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, a right he earned by serving as an officer in the United States Navy. The funeral was said by John J Cavanaugh. Kennedy is buried with his wife and their deceased minor children, and his brother, the late Senator Robert Kennedy is also buried nearby. His grave is lit with an "Eternal Flame," a last minute request of Jackie Kennedy that was powered by propane during the funeral service but has since been attached by several hundred feet of underground pipe to a natural gas main. In the film The Fog of War, then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara claims that he picked the location in the cemetery — a location which Jackie agreed was suitable. Kennedy and William Howard Taft are the only two U.S. Presidents buried at Arlington.

Kennedy came in third (behind Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa) in a Gallup list of the most admired people of the twentieth century.

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"
– John F Kennedy


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