October 24, 2012
| | |
On May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born into a rich, politically connected Irish-Catholic family from Boston. He was one of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald. Born soon after America enters the First World War, JFK was the first President born into the 20th Century. Both of his parents were born into wealthy families from Boston that had long political history. Rose Kennedy’s father, known as “Honey Fitz”, was at one point the mayor of Boston and Joe Kennedy’s father, Patrick Kennedy was a farmer who came from a family line of farmers. Patrick died before Joe became an adult, so Joe was raised by his oldest brother John Kennedy. Joe Kennedy had a fortune in the stock market and other businesses and managed to get his money out of the stock market before it crashed in 1929.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was affectionately known as “Jack” as a child. Growing up, he had several suffered serious illnesses, including problems with his back that eventually resulted in his having surgery. Despite his health issues, nothing slowed him down. While at Harvard University he wrote the best-selling book, Profiles in Courage. Soon after his twenty-fourth birthday, John Kennedy volunteered for the Officers’ Candidate School of the Army. Because of the back injury he suffered while playing football at Harvard, he was denied admission because he was unable to pass the physical. He then applied to the Navy and was rejected for the same reason. After being rejected he began working for Joe Kennedy’s old bank and began planning to attend Yale School of Law. While waiting for law school, he decided to try one more time to enter the Navy, this time going through one of Joe Kennedy, Sr., former Navy contacts who had been promoted to Director of Naval Intelligence in Washington. After being examined by one of
Sirchia 2 the Director’s medical friends in Boston, John Kennedy was cleared and fit by the Boston Naval Medical Board.
Lt. John Kennedy was eventually assigned to the South Pacific as the skipper of the PT 109. During August of 1943, the PT 109 was hit and sunk to the bow by a Japanese Destroyer. Miraculously, eleven of the thirteen member of the PT 109 survived and found safety on Plum Pudding Island. After the crash, Kennedy and his crew hid on the island nearby. After five days, the crew was rescued and taken straight to the PT-boat headquarters at Tulagi to be examined for injuries and infections. John Kennedy was awarded the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Valor, and a Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained.
John F. Kennedy decided in 1946 to run for Congress with the backing of his grandfather, Honey Fitz, who assembled his first political team. At the age of 28, Jack began a grass-roots campaign, attending every breakfast, luncheon and dinner possible and joining every club and organization that would admit him. The campaigning took its toll on Jack’s health and by June he was unable to move without a back brace. Jack won the primary receiving 19,426 votes to his nearest rival, Mike Neville’s, 10,875 (Hamilton 769). This was the beginning of John F. Kennedy’s political career, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 and then the U.S. Senate from 1953 to 1961 (Coleman 1).
In November of 1960, John F. Kennedy made history when he was elected the youngest U.S. President and was the first Roman Catholic to serve in the office. He promised the people of this country so much, yet he was not able to fulfill those promises. His death remains to be one the most traumatic events in many American histories. It had such an impact on the people
Sirchia 3 of this country, many can still tell you where they were when they heard that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated.