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John Fitzgerald Kennedy of Massachusetts
35th President of the United States
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(1917-1963)
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"And so, my fellow Americans. . .ask not what your country can do for you. . .
ask what you can do for your country."

(Inaugural Address - John F. Kennedy - January 20, 1961)

US statesman and 35th president (1961-1963), born in Brookline, MA, son of Joseph Kennedy. After graduating from Harvard, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in World War II and served with distinction in the Pacific as commander of PT109. While on patrol, his boat was sunk and his crew, several seriously injured, were stranded on a remote Pacific island. Although injured himself, he would not rest until all his crew were ashore. His Profiles in Courage (1956) won the Pulitzer Prize.

He was a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts (1947-53) and in 1952 won a seat in the U.S. Senate. The next year he married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. Kennedy narrowly lost the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1956 and in 1960 won the party's presidential nomination. At the age of 43, he defeated Republican Richard Nixon, becoming the youngest person and the first Catholic to be elected president. During his presidency, the famous "coconut message", which led to the rescue of the PT109 crew, was prominently displayed on his desk in the Oval office.

His domestic program,the "New Frontier", brought about federal desegregation of schools and significant Civil Rights reform. He displayed firmness and moderation in foreign policy. In October 1962, U.S. reconnaissance planes discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. At the risk of nuclear war, Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba and demanded the removal of the missiles. After a brief and tense interval, known as the "Cuban Misssile Crisis", the USSR complied with his demands. The next year the U. S. and the Soviet Union signed a limited treaty banning nuclear tests. Kennedy also increased the number of U.S. military advisers in South Vietnam to about 16,000.

On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated by rifle fire while being driven in an open car with his wife Jackie through Dallas, Texas. The alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was himself shot and killed at point-blank range by Jack Ruby two days later, while under heavy police escort on a jail transfer. The Warren Commission, appointed to investigate the assassination, concluded that it was the work of a single gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. In 1979, however, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, relying in part on acoustical evidence, concluded that a conspiracy was "likely" and that it may have involved organized crime.

[JFK Library - 4K] John F. Kennedy Presidential Library - Boston, Massachusetts
John F. Kennedy National Historic Site - Brookline, Massachusetts

(Adapted from biographies in The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia and the A&E Network.)
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At times, truth is stranger than fiction! Consider these coincidences in the political careers of Abraham Lincoln and 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.

  • The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
  • Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
  • Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.
  • Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
  • Both were shot in the head.

  • Both were assassinated by Southerners.
  • Both were succeeded by Southerners.

  • Both successors were named Johnson.
  • Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
  • Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

  • John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln was born in 1839.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy was born in 1939.

  • Both assassins were known by their three names.
  • Both names comprise fifteen letters.

  • Booth ran from a theater and was caught in a warehouse.
  • Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.

  • Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
Pretty big coincidences! I'm sure it will be easy to find people in Massachusetts to discuss these occurences with.

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