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John F. Kennedy

Date of Birth
29 May 1917, Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

Date of Death
22 November 1963, Dallas, Texas, USA (assassination)

Birth Name
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Crash Kennedy (WW2 nickname)

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, to Rose Fitzgerald (aka Rose Kennedy and Joseph P. Kennedy. John was named after his maternal grandfather, John "HoneyFitz" Fitzgerald, the mayor of Boston. John was very ill as a child and was given the last rites five times, the first one being when he was a newborn. He was the second of four boys born to an Irish Catholic family with nine children: Joseph Jr., John, Robert F. Kennedy (called Bobby), and Ted Kennedy (born Edward). Because Rose made Joe and Jack (the name his family called him) wear matching clothes, they fought a lot for attention. When John was young the family moved from Boston to New York.
John went to Choate, a private school. Most of the time, though, he was too sick to attend. In the late 1930s father Joe became the ambassador to England. He took sons John and Robert with him, as well as his wife and daughters Kathleen and Rosemary Kennedy. John went to Princeton, then Harvard, and for his senior thesis he wrote a piece about why England refused to get into the war until late. It was published in 1940 and called "Why England Slept". His older brother Joe was a pilot during the war, and was killed when the bombs his plane was carrying exploded. Not long after that, John's sister Kathleen and her husband died in a plane crash.
In the early 1950s John ran for Congress in Massachusetts and won. He married Jacqueline Kennedy (thirteen years his junior, born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier) on September 12 1953. He became a father rather late in life. Their first child, Caroline Kennedy, was born on November 27, 1957 when JFK was 40 and their son, John Kennedy Jr., was born on November 25, 1960 when JFK was 43. They had a son named Patrick Bouvier, but he died a few days after birth. In 1954 JFK had to have back surgery and in the hospital wrote his second book, "Profiles in Courage".
His father always said that his son Joe was going to be President of the US; when he died in WWII, though, that task was passed on to John. He ran for president in 1960 against Richard Nixon and won. His administration had many conflicts, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis being key examples. In November of 1963 he and Jackie (his wife's nickname) went on a trip to Texas. Everywhere they went there were signs saying "Jack and Jackie." On November 22, 1963, John was to give a speech in Dallas, but on his way an assassin hidden on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository opened fire at Kennedy, who was riding in an open car. Hit twice and severely wounded, Kennedy died in a local hospital at 1:00 pm.
The alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was captured a short time later after shooting and killing a Dallas policeman, and was himself assassinated before he could be thoroughly interrogated, let alone tried. In just a little bit of irony, considering the death of Abraham Lincoln 100 years earlier, Kennedy was shot in a Ford Lincoln (Lincoln was in Ford's Theater when he was shot). He was laid to rest on his son's third birthday.

Jacqueline Kennedy (12 September 1953 - 22 November 1963) (his death) 3 children

Father of John Kennedy Jr (d). and Caroline Kennedy.

Brother of Robert F. Kennedy.(d)

Brother-in-law of Peter Lawford.(d)

Uncle of Maria Shriver.

Believed to have been shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was later killed by Jack Ruby.

Was the first and to date only Roman Catholic US President.

Was the youngest elected US President.

Was the 35th President of the US (1961 - 1963).

Attended the installation in Rome of Pope Pius XII with his parents and family.

In the mid-1950s, he and Jacqueline Kennedy had a daughter, who was stillborn, named Arabella.

Son, John Kennedy Jr., born 25 November 1960 and died 16 July 1999.

Son, Patrick Bouvier, died shortly after his birth in the summer of 1963.

Was instrumental in the creation of the space program, and in just 8 years (1961 - 1969), Americans sent a man to the moon.

Appointed his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, as his Attorney General. Since RFK's appointment, laws have been enacted preventing family members from serving in the President's cabinet.

Daughter, Caroline Kennedy, born 27 November 1957.

Graduated from the Choate School in Connecticut in 1935.

Was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 and to the U. S. Senate in 1952.

In 1940, he wrote the best-selling book, Why England Slept, about some of the decisions which led to World War II.

Suffered from Addison's disease.

He created the Peace Corps.

He graduated from Harvard in 1940.

Was named after his grandfather, John Fitzgerald, who was elected as Boston mayor in 1905.

In 1955, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1957.

Served in the U. S. Navy during WWII.

He was the youngest man elected President, and the youngest to die.

Son of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Kennedy.

His father never called him Jack, he always called him Johnny.

Uncle of Christopher Lawford

Pictured on a 5 US memorial postage stamp issued 29 May 1964 (birthday following assassination).

Pictured on the 13 US postage stamp in the original Prominent Americans series, issued 29 May 1967 (50th anniversary of his birth).

Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" (1961)

During a stopover in Palm Beach, Florida, en route to Dallas, Texas on November 17, 1963, a private screening of Tom Jones (1963) was organized on behalf of the president. It was the last film he saw.

During his tenure at the White House, Kennedy, like Herbert Hoover before him, refused to accept a presidential salary.

While in office, the family Secret Service code names were: Lancer (The President); Lace (Jacqueline Kennedy); Lyric (Caroline Kennedy); Lark (John Kennedy Jr.).

Died November 22, 1963, the same day as C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley.

Although he was the youngest person elected president, he was not the youngest person to become president. That was Theodore Roosevelt, who became president after William McKinley was shot.

U.S. Senator (1953 - 1961).

His vice president, Lyndon Johnson, a Texas native, campaigned against him for the presidential spot in 1960, and Kennedy later chose him to be his vice president because he needed Johnson to win over the southern voters. John's brother, Robert F. Kennedy, disliked Johnson greatly and the feeling was mutual.

Was a natural speed reader. He could read about 2,500 wpm (10 times the average reading speed). He would read 6 newspapers from cover to cover while he had breakfast.

In stark contrast to his own poor physical health, his younger brother Robert F. Kennedy was a very strong and physically active man who enjoyed hiking and canoeing among other outdoor sports.

His favourite film was Spartacus (1960).

He was the first president born in the 20th Century.

His funeral took place on the same day as that of Lee Harvey Oswald and Officer J.D. Tippit.

His assassination inspired journalist Hunter S. Thompson's famous phrase "Fear and Loathing".

He, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby all died at Parkland Hospital, Dallas.

The Lincoln limousine in which he was riding in on the day of his assassination is on display in a Dearborn, Michigan museum.

In the course of his famous 1963 speech near the Berlin Wall, Kennedy had meant to say, "Ich bin Berliner" (I am a Berliner). Since nationalities in German are not preceded by articles, Kennedy actually said, "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am one with the people of Berlin). The urban legend that it translates into "I am a jelly donut" is a myth, since the pastry is known in Germany as "pfannkuchen" (pan cake).

Is portrayed by Martin Sheen in the mini-series Kennedy.

The second of only two US presidents to be entombed in Arlington National Cemetery, the first being William Howard Taft [2006]

"Black Jack," the riderless horse that served at Kennedy's funeral, also participated in the funeral ceremonies of President Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson and General Douglas MacArthur. Coincidentally, "Black Jack" was also the nickname of Jacqueline Kennedy's father

Brother-in-law of Lee Radziwill

He had numerous bizarre distant connections with the 16th president Abraham Lincoln.

Although privately he suffered from numerous illnesses and ailments, he insisted on a public image of rugged fitness and masculinity. Following his infamous debate against Richard Nixon, he spent a week in Florida tanning and working out on the beach. He was often photographed playing football with younger brother Robert, working out, and playing various sports with his family. In one famous photograph of him, he is pictured wearing a leather jacket, jeans, and sunglasses, casually leaning against a wall. In reality, he was so exhausted and tired from getting over a virus and the job, that he literally fell asleep standing up.

Was portrayed by Stephen Collins in "A Woman Named Jackie" (1991) and Martin Donovan in RFK (2002) (TV).

Grandson of Congressman John F. Fitzgerald.

Brother of U.S. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith.

Uncle of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Joseph Kennedy, and Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.

Both he and his brother Robert F. Kennedy have been portrayed by Martin Sheen.

Was an avid reader, and at one point expressed his fondness for the James Bond novels of Ian Fleming. He said that a particular favorite was From Russia with Love (1963). For this reason, the producers of the James Bond film series made that their second Bond film.

Encouraged Kirk Douglas to make the anti-nuclear movie Seven Days in May (1964).

Was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, belonging to both the Bunker Hill No.62 and the Bishop Cheverus General Assembly.

Fourth U.S. president to be successfully assassinated (unsuccessful assassination attempts had been made on Presidents Andrew Jackson and 'Harry S Truman', and on President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and the seventh president to die in office. Ironically, all presidents to have died in office since the first (William Henry Harrison in 1841) were elected 20 years apart: Harrison in 1840, Abraham Lincoln in 1860, James Garfield in 1880, William McKinley in 1900, Warren G. Harding in 1920, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940, and Kennedy in 1960. Ironically, Kennedy and his retinue had been aware of this "20-year curse" on the Presidency. Ronald Reagan (elected 1980) was the victim of an assassin's bullet in 1981, but he survived and broke the 120-year curse that had plagued the U.S. Presidency.

He was a big fan of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. This was something instilled in him by his grandfather, Boston mayor, John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, who was, himself, a member of The Royal Rooters - a Turn-of-the-Century Boston Red Sox Fan Club.

His sister Jean Kennedy Smith was US ambassador to Ireland (June 1993 - September 1998).

Portrait appears on the US half-dollar coin.

The street, rue John-F-Kennedy is named in J.F.K.'s honor in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

When he died in 1963, Kennedy left an estate estimated to be valued at $10 million, all of which derives from trust funds established by his father, Joe Kennedy.

PT 109 - the boat that he commanded during World war II - was mentioned on more than one occasion on the TV series, "McHale's Navy", Kennedy is referred to, but never mentioned by name.

Mentioned in the song "Hey Manhattan!" by Prefab Sprout.

The Oscar-winning Jimmy Van Heusen - Sammy Cahn composition "High Hopes" (from A Hole in the Head (1959)) was Kennedy's official presidential campaign song.

Considered his younger brother Robert his top advisor and closest friend. Bobby similarly felt the same way about Jack and was "utterly devastated" by Jack's death in 1963. Friends and family said that, after his brothers death, Bobby was never the same man.

Despite their later close bond, Jack and Bobby Kennedy were not close growing up. This is due, in part, to the 8 year age difference between the men. It was not until Jack, during his third term as a Massachusetts congressman, took a seven week trip through the Far East and parts of the Middle East, and took younger brother Bobby (who had just graduated from Law School) with him. During the trip, the duo discovered their mutual similarities and forged the deep bond that would last until Jack's death. Jack appointed Bobby his campaign manager in 1952 and in 1960. Jack was reportedly so close to Bobby that he would often ask "Where's Bobby?" during important meetings in his term as President, and would finally relax when Bobby showed up. For his part, Bobby's devout loyalty to Jack was often ridiculed and parodied by the media. Bobby, loving to poke fun at himself, often joked "If I find the guy who says I'm too ruthless, I'll kill him.".

During his entire political career, he never once lost a single election.

Journalist Jeff Greenfield (who later became a speech writer for Bobby Kennedy) described him as "the guy who looked like your cool older brother".

When Kennedy visited Ireland in late June 1963, he became first sitting U.S. President to set foot on Irish soil.

Senator Kennedy's 1953 marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier was celebrated at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island, where more than 700 guests were in attendance. The couple later went to Hammersmith Farm overlooking Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island Sound) where a reception for 900 guests was lavishly catered. Best man at the wedding was Kennedy's brother Robert F. Kennedy. The ushers were Ted Kennedy, George A. Smathers, Sargent Shriver, etc. Jacqueline's matron-of-honor was sister Lee Bouvier (aka Lee Radziwill).

Mentioned in the song "We didn't start the fire" by Billy Joel.

Only US President to predecease both his parents: (father) Joseph P. Kennedy (d. 18 November 1969); (mother) Rose Kennedy (d. 22 January 1995).

Personal Quotes::
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. (special address to Congress, May 25, 1961)

"Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors." [On U.S. and Soviet joint scientific ventures, spoken during his inaugural address, 20 January 1961]

"In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon ... it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there." [State of the Union address, 30 January, 1961]

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty".

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

"Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was 'Civis Romanus sum'. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner.' All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'" (West Berlin speech, June 26, 1963)

I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics but for our contributions to the human spirit.

(Talking about the space program) "We do this and other things not because they are easy but because they are hard."

Victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan.

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

All my life I've known better than to depend on the experts.

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. - Rice University, Houston, Texas, September 12, 1962.

[on Marlon Brando] The greatest womanizer who ever set foot in Hollywood.


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