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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

John F. Kennedy


John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29, 1917, at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts to businessman/politician Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Sr. (1888–1969) and philanthropist/socialite Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald-Kennedy (1890–1995).

According to the Miller Center, John F. Kennedy enjoyed a "privileged childhood of elite private schools, sailboats, servants and summer homes" during the Great Depression. He later claimed that he only learned about the Great Depression in the books he read at college.

He started his college career at Princeton but left after one semester and returned to his home state and attended Harvard.

Kennedy’s first book, written when he was 22, was called Why England Slept.  It had been his thesis written while in his senior year at Harvard College. Published in 1940, the book examines the failures of the British government to take steps to prevent World War II.


On August 2, 1943 Lt. John F. Kennedy,was serving as commander of a torpedo boat in the Solomon Islands when his ship was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. The PT 109 was split in half in the crash and sunk. Kennedy and his crew swam three miles through shark-infested waters to an island where they survived on coconuts for a week before they were eventually rescued by Solomon Islanders Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana.

Kennedy on his navy patrol boat, the PT-109, 1943.

Kennedy took ten days to recover from "symptoms of fatigue and many deep abrasions and lacerations of the entire body, especially the feet."

Kennedy was credited with saving the crew and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism, and the Purple Heart for his injuries.

Kennedy's heroics as a commander in the South Pacific during World War II was immortalized in the film, PT109. He suggested Cliff Robertson to the director to portray him in the movie.

The use of a coconut shell with the message carved in it alerting the U.S. Navy that Kennedy and his crew were alive as depicted in PT 109 was accurately portrayed. The coconut was allegedly later recovered and became a paper weight in the Oval Office.


In 1946, U.S. Representative James Michael Curley vacated his seat to become mayor of Boston. Kennedy ran for the seat, beating his Republican opponent by a large margin in November 1946. He served as a congressman for six years.

In the 1952 U.S. Senate election, Kennedy defeated incumbent Republican Henry Cabot Lodge II for the U.S. Senate seat.

Before becoming President, Kennedy won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1957 book Profiles in Courage. He did not keep his $100,000 salary; instead he donated it to charity.

On September 26, 1960, the first televised U.S. presidential debate took place, between Republican Vice-President Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. It was watched by over 60 million people.

John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon participate in the second 1960 presidential debate


On November 8, 1960, John F Kennedy was elected President, beating Richard Nixon by the narrowest of margins - 113,000 votes out of the 69 million cast.

In 1960 Kennedy was just 43, the youngest President ever to be elected and the first to be born in the 20th century.

Kennedy was the first, and still the only, Roman Catholic to become US President.

Kennedy was inaugurated as president of the United States on a particularly cold day in Washington DC on January 20, 1961. Despite the frozen weather, he was the first American president to dispense with a hat reflecting the current trend for more casual dress and going about one's business hatless.

The two Solomon Islanders who helped rescue JFK during World War II were invited to his inauguration, but were prevented from going by British officials who felt they weren't dressed well enough to travel.

During his presidency, Kennedy changed his shirt three times a day and refused to wear a hat "to hide his thick chestnut hair" - a decision that helped kill off the hat-making industry as other American males followed suit.

One of Kennedy's first Presidential acts was the formation of the Peace Corps. Kennedy appointed his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver to head the volunteer program. Since 1961 over 200,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps in 139 countries.

President Kennedy made a historic speech in the city of West Berlin. He proudly proclaimed in German "Ich bin ein Berliner!" which means literally "I am a jelly doughnut!" He
should have said, "Ich bin Berliner!" or "I am of Berlin!"

Kennedy donated his residential salary to charities including the United Negro College Fund, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.

JFK had a younger sister, Rosemary, who received a lobotomy which made her unable to walk or speak. This was his main motivation for all he did for individuals with special needs.


John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12, 1953, at St Mary's Church, in Newport, Rhode Island. 800 attended the social event of the year and Pope Pius XII sent his blessing.

They  had four children; a stillborn daughter (b. 1956), Caroline (b. 1957), John (1960–1999) and Patrick, who was born prematurely in August 1963 and lived only for two days.

Kennedy reportedly had affairs with a number of women, including Marilyn Monroe and his wife's press secretary, Pamela Turnure. The extent of a relationship with Monroe will never be known, although it has been reported they spent a weekend together in March 1962 while Kennedy was staying at Bing Crosby's house.


Kennedy loved animals and variously owned owned a number of pets including cats, dogs, hamsters, a horse, a rabbit, a parakeet and a canary.

The Soviet Union gave John F. Kennedy a dog named Pushinka, who was the daughter of Strekla, one of the first dogs in space. One of Kennedy's dogs, Charlie, took a liking to Pushinka, resulting in the birth of four pups referred jokingly by Kennedy as "pupniks".

Kennedy usually swam twice a day in the White House pool heated to 90 degrees and with a specially commissioned mural of the Massachusetts waterfront to remind him of home.

He was a life member of the National Rifle Association.

Though extremely wealthy Kennedy never carried cash, borrowing from friends and often failing to pay them back.

Although the Kennedys were known for elevating the White House dinner parties with elegant French fare, JFK enjoyed simple lunches, usually involving soup. True to his roots, the president's favorite was New England-style fish chow-dah.

Kennedy was obsessed about his weight and always traveled with a bathroom scale.

John F Kennedy was the fastest recorded public speaker in history at 327 words per minute.


John F Kennedy was hospitalized more than three dozen times in his life and given the last rites three times. He had signs of adrenal failure as early as 1940.

In September 1947, while Kennedy was 30 and in his first term in Congress, he was diagnosed with a hormonal deficiency called Addison's disease.

At times of great stress, Kennedy's  body was unable to fight back and he was liable to suffer a sudden physical collapse. The only way he was able to cope with his weakness was by taking daily doses of the steroid hydrocortisone, which boosted his energy and masked his symptoms. Unfortunately, among the side effects of this drug were depression, mania, confusion and an increased libido.

John F. Kennedy's thick head of hair and perpetual tan weren't due to being fit and healthy. Just the opposite, they were side effects of one of the many drugs he took.

Kennedy also suffered from back problems, necessitating the wearing of a brace or corset.. He did much of his daily work either in bed or in a hot bath.

Kennedy's left leg was considerably shorter than his right, obliging him to wear corrective shoes.


John F. Kennedy was a Roman Catholic who attended Trinity Church in Washington, while he was President.

Kennedy was concerned about the dangers of mixing religious and political institutions, and advocated strongly the separation of church and state.

Billy Graham had been spending some time with John F. Kennedy. The evangelist had a heavy cold so held back on speaking to the president about his salvation and personal walk with God. A few weeks after Billy Graham unusually missed his opportunity to speak to the president about spiritual matters, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.


Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He was being driven through the city in an open-top convertible with his wife sat beside him. As the car drove into Dealey Plaza, shots were fired. Kennedy was hit twice. The first bullet struck him in the upper back and exited through his throat. The second bullet struck him in his head. He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital and at 1:00 p.m, was pronounced dead.

Kennedy had a state funeral on November 25th, three days after his murder, near to the White House, where his body was laid to rest in Arlington, Virginia.

JFK's brain was removed and stored in the National Archive after his autopsy. The brain was subsequently lost and remains missing to this day.

Kennedy is the only US President to have been outlived by his grandmother.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, was the prime suspect in the murder and was arrested, but denied shooting anyone. Two days later, while being moved from police headquarters to the county jail on November 24, 1963, Oswald was fatally shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

Oswald's shooting was in full view of television cameras broadcasting live to millions of viewers. It was the first live televised murder.

In 1964 a jury in Dallas found Jack Ruby (see below) guilty of murdering Lee Harvey Oswald. but the conviction was overturned.. The retrial did not happen because Ruby died on January 3, 1967 from a blood clot that lodged in his lungs. He was suffering from lung cancer.

John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby all have the same place of death: Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Mount Kennedy in Canada was named after John F Kennedy in 1964. The following year, his brother Robert Kennedy became the first person to climb it.


There are a number of similarities between President Abraham Lincoln and President John F. Kennedy:

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were shot in the back of the head in the presence of their wives.

Both wives lost a child while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.

Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.

Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre. Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford.

Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse. Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were both assassinated before their trials.

Sources Daily Mail,, Trivia Times, Daily Express 

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