John Fitzgerald Kennedy (also known as John Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, and JFK) was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Fitzgerald. His maternal grandfather was John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald who was a prominent
political figure, serving as the
city's mayor and three terms in the US Congress. Boston
While still a teenager Jack developed health problems which were later diagnosed as colitis. He took his first trip abroad in September 1935, traveling with his parents and sister Kathleen to
but he was forced to return home the next month because of ill health. He enrolled in London
in September 1936. While still a college
student Jack made several trips overseas.
In July 1937 he took his own convertible to Harvard College France
and spent ten weeks traveling around Europe
with a friend. In June 1938 he sailed with
his father and brother Joe to London with the
purpose of helping his father who was appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to be
Ambassador to the Court of St. James.
In1939 he traveled throughout Europe, the Soviet Union, the Balkans, and
the US Middle East to gain information for his
senior honors thesis at Harvard. He then
spent time in Czechoslovakia
and Germany; he returned to London on September 1, 1939, the same day that Germany invaded . He was with his family in the House of
Commons on September 3, 1939, when the Poland United
Kingdom declared war on . Germany
John graduated from
cum laude with a Bachelors of
Science degree in international affairs in 1940. That fall, JFK enrolled and audited classes
at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
In 1941 John helped his father write a memoir of his three years as an American
ambassador; then he left on a tour of Harvard College South America.
Kennedy served in the Pacific as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boats PT-l09 and PT-59 during World War II. After the war he represented
in Congress; he served six years in the US House of Representatives (1947-1953)
and seven years in the US Senate (1953-1960).
He defeated Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election and became
the youngest person elected to the office of President (43 years old) and the
second-youngest President (after Theodore Roosevelt). He was also the first President to be born in
the 20th century and the first Catholic to hold the office of President. In addition, he is the only President to have
received a Pulitzer Prize. Massachusetts
JFK was a Democrat, but he was more conservative that many of the Republicans who followed him. He started the Space Race when he authorized NASA to work towards reaching the moon within the next decade. Other events of his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Civil Rights Movement, and early involvement in the Vietnam War.
Our nation and the world were shocked when Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in
Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime but was never tried for it
due to the fact that Jack Ruby killed him two days after his arrest. The Kennedy assassination was investigated by
the FBI, the Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on
Assassinations (HSCA); the conclusion of these investigations was that Oswald
was the lone assassin. HSCA left open
the possibility of a conspiracy and based it on disputed acoustic evidence. I personally believe that Kennedy was killed
because he had information about "secret combinations" and would not
go along with their games. Even though
Kennedy was not a faithful husband, I believe that he was a good President and
that he loved our nation. Dallas, Texas
Like most Presidents, JFK left many quotes. The following quote is probably his most famous one of all, and it is very applicable to our day: "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
Kennedy's second most famous quote is probably this one: "I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to
and I have enjoyed it." Paris
"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."
"Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace."
"The best road to progress is freedom's road."
"The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission."
"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity."
"The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were."
"The tax on capital gains directly affects investment decisions, the mobility and flow of risk capital… the ease or difficulty experienced by new ventures in obtaining capital, and thereby the strength and potential for growth in the economy."
"The very word `secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings."
"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life."
"The world knows that
never start a war. This generation of
Americans has had enough of war and hate… we want to build a world of peace
where the weak are secure and the strong are just." America
"There is always inequality in life. Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded and some men never leave the country. Life is unfair."
"Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly."
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
"Too often we … enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan."
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
"We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last."
"Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both."
"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."
"Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us."
"I hope that no American will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me solely on account of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant."
"I look forward to a great future for
future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral
restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose." America