John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917. He was the first president born in the twentieth century.
He attended Harvard University. His father's recommendation to the University included that Jack was "careless and lacks application.
President Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic President.
John Kennedy served in WWII. He was on PT 109 which was sunk by the Japanese. He risked his life to save his crew.
President Kennedy was 6' tall and weighed 170 pounds.
John F. Kennedy's father gave him $1,000,000 when he turned twenty-one. (Each of his nine brothers and sisters got a million dollars too!)
He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953
John F. Kennedy loved lobster stew, but he also loved New England Clam Chowder.
"Do you realize the responsibility I carry?" Kennedy asked his supporters during the presidential campaign. "I'm the only person between Nixon and the White House."
"Last Thursday night," Kennedy said during the campaign, "Mr. Nixon dismissed me as 'another Truman.' I regard that as a great compliment. I consider him another Dewey."
He was the first president that served in the navy.
He was the first president to have a campaign photo of him shirtless. The photo of him was while he was in the Navy on PT 109. He was bare chested.
Kennedy was named Time Magazine's man of the year in 1961.
JFK's first daughter was stillborn and his 2-day-old son, Patrick, died while his father was president in August 1963.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the youngest man elected (Teddy Roosevelt was younger but he was not elected), the first Roman Catholic to be elected president, the first to win a Purple Heart, the 4th president to be assassinated, and the first Pulitzer Prize winner (Profiles in Courage it is a good book for younger readers.).
Kennedy was given the oath of office by Chief Justice Warren who later lead the commission investigating his assassination. (The Warren Commission.)
The main challenges of his term in office were Cuba, Vietnam, the Mafia and civil rights.
President Kennedy donated his presidential salary to charities including the United Negro College Fund and the boy scouts.
The Cuban Missile Crisis took place in 1962 and threatened to begin a nuclear war. The crisis lasted thirteen days. Kennedy blocked Russian ships from taking nuclear missiles to Cuba. Kennedy also began to plan the invasion of Cuba. The Russians finally backed down and removed the missiles.
One of the ships in the blockade of Cuba was the USS Joseph Kennedy Jr. which was named after President Kennedy's brother who died in WW II.
Kennedy would change all his clothes at least three times a day. He liked to look good and he was uncomfortable wearing the same clothes for long period of time.
Kennedy's Vice President was Lyndon B. Johnson (1961-1963).
Kennedy never carried cash and ended up borrowing money from the Secret Service agents, friends and family.
He could read 1,200 words a minute with excellent comprehension.
John Kennedy was the first Boy Scout to become President.
John Kennedy wore corrective shoes, because his right leg was 3/4 inch longer than his left. His back was so bad that he would sometimes use crutches. He never used them in public.
He swam daily in the White House pool and exercised to help with his back problems. He had the pool heated to 90 degrees and would swim every day to help his back. (He swam in the nude.)
He had been diagnosed as having Addison's disease, a debilitating and often fatal condition, according to one of his many doctors. He denied that he had it and was in very good health--and went on to win the presidency.
View President Kennedy's Inaugural Address.
During John Kennedy's Presidency the US was involved in the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 and the beginning of the Vietnam War.
In 1961 Kennedy sent Vice President Johnson on a fact finding mission to Vietnam. This turns into a world tour.
President Kennedy was often referred to as "JFK."
President Eisenhower referred to him as "Little Boy Blue."
John F. Kennedy was the first President to hold a press conference on television.
President Kennedy would take a nap every day. (He made up the time by working until 8 PM every evening.)
His daughter had a pony named Macaroni while they lived in the White House.
John Kennedy enjoyed sailing, swimming, golf and touch football. (His golf scores were mostly in the high seventies.)
He liked to watch WW II and Western movies.
J.F.K. was the first President to appoint his brother to a cabinet position.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first President to visit the Pope during his term in office. He was also the first Roman Catholic President.
The Kennedy's had an Irish Wolfhound Wolf and Irish Spaniel named Shannon.
Jacqueline Kennedy believed that the furnishings and portraits in the White House should be preserved as landmarks in U.S. history. Her efforts have been supported by each succeeding president and first lady.
Only President Kennedy and President Taft are buried in Arlington.
Most people who were born before 1953 can remember where they were when Kennedy was shot. You may wish to ask your grandparents where they were that day.
Kennedy was the youngest president to be assassinated. The sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository is now a museum and well worth a visit if you are in Dallas.
Television stations stayed on the air throughout the day and night reporting on his death. It was the first time that television stations broadcast the 24 hours in a day.
On Dec. 4, 1963, the two deceased Kennedy children were reburied in Arlington, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy from Brookline who had predeceased JFK by 15 weeks and an unnamed stillborn daughter from Newport, R.I.
On May 23, 1994, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was buried next to President Kennedy. The grave site was completed with addition of her grave marker Oct. 6, 1994.
Kennedy was the first president to have both his parents alive when he died. He was also the youngest president to die in office.
President Lincoln and President Kennedy had several things in common:
- Lincoln was elected in 1860 and Kennedy in 1960.
- Both were assassinated on a Friday.
- Both were with their wives when they were shot.
- Their vice presidents were both named Johnson, served in the senate and came from the south.
- Vice President Andrew Johnson was born in 1808 and Vice President Lyndon Johnson was born in 1908.
- Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. Kennedy was elected to the house in 1946.
- Both men had children die while they were in office.
- Booth, Lincoln assassin, shot Lincoln in a theater and fled to a storage facility. Oswald shot Kennedy from a storage facility and fled to a theater.
Quotes from JFK:
"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country."
Three months after he took office he met with Eisenhower, during their conversation Kennedy said: " No one knows how tough this job is until after he has been in it for a few months." Eisenhower replied: "I think I mentioned that to you three months ago." Kennedy's response was "I certainly have learned a lot since."
On him becoming a war hero: "It was involuntary. They sank my boat."
After the defeat at the Bay of Pigs, JFK stated: "How could I have been so stupid."
His wife Jackie was so popular with the people of France that JFK started a speech in Paris with this statement: "I do not think it altogether inappropriate for me to introduce myself to this audience. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I have enjoyed it."
During the Cuban Missile Crisis he ended his televised speech to the nation with: "Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right. Not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom - here in this hemisphere and, we hope, around the world. God willing that goal will be achieved."