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John F. Kennedy: 35th President: Earned the Purple Heart

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else be destined to repeat it.

Official White House Photo

His Family and His Rise in Politics

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was the youngest man to be elected President. He was born of Irish descent to Joseph P. Kennedy in Brookline Massachusetts on May 29,1917. His father was not only an ambassador to Great Britain but a multi-millionaire.

Kennedy's father wanted to make sure all nine of his children were competitive in sports and persuasive in debating. John, often called Jack, was the second oldest and proved to be successful in both areas while in school. He graduated high school from a private school then later graduated from Harvard University in 1940. After graduation, he joined the Navy.

In 1943, during World War II, a Japanese destroyer rammed and sunk the PT boat he was on. He was injured quite badly but still managed to lead the survivors to safety. It was during this war that his brother was killed while flying over Belgium.

When the war ended, he joined politics. He first became a Democratic Congressman, then in 1953 was elected into the Senate. That same year he married his wife Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. They had three children together and had met a friend's dinner party. She would become a very predominant person during his presidency.

Due to having hurt his back during the war, he needed to have back surgery in 1955. While recovering, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which would win him a Pulitzer Prize.

How Old Was JFK When He Became President?

JFK was the youngest man ever to be elected president at 43 years old when he became our 35th president of the United States.

In 1960 This charismatic man won many over and was nominated as the Democratic representative for President, where he ran against Richard Nixon. They were the first two candidates to have a debate on television; millions watched. He won by a narrow margin, making him the first Roman Catholic President.

During his Inaugural Address, he gave one of the most famous speeches, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

While in office, he backed the Peace Corp, encouraged the arts through concerts, and sponsored the space project to have a man step foot on the moon. He felt that equal rights were a priority. He called for new civil rights legislation and was dedicated to human rights.

What Did John F. Kennedy Accomplish as President?

Soon after being elected, JFK attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro by permitting a band of Cuban exiles to invade. Despite being well-armed and trained, they did not succeed.

The Soviet Union soon renewed its campaign against West Berlin. Kennedy responded by increasing Berlin's military strength. After the Berlin Wall was built, Moscow relaxed towards Europe, but instead, they sought to install nuclear missiles in Cuba.

In October of 1962, the United States became aware of this. Immediately Kennedy took action against Russia, requesting a naval blockade in Cuba and imposing a quarantine against all weapons heading there. Thirteen days later, the Russians removed the missiles.

Kennedy persuaded the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States to sign the Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which prohibited nuclear testing on Earth to protect the atmosphere and in hopes of keeping the peace, which would be the last significant thing he did in office.

JFK's Assassination

Six weeks later, the President toured Texas giving speeches throughout. While in Dallas on November 22, 1963, JFK was shot while riding in a motorcade by an assassin hidden in a building nearby. Since the gunshot was in his head, he died only minutes later. He barely was in office for one thousand days. He remains the youngest President to die while in office, at the age of 46.

Fun Facts

  • Due to being ill as a child, including having Addison's disease. He received last rights four times, the last time was the day of his assassination.
  • He is the only President to have received a purple heart. when he was wounded on August 22, 1943.
  • He received a Pulitzer Prize for writing his book, Profiles in Courage.
  • Two of his children died in infancy. One was born stillborn and the other died two days after birth due to being born five weeks premature.
  • Larry King accidentally hit him in a car accident.
  • He donated his entire Presidential salary to charity.

JFK being Awarded the Navy Marine Corps Medal

Lieutenant. John F. Kennedy, USNR, is awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal for "...extremely heroic conduct as Commanding Officer of Motor Torpedo Boat 109...". He rescued a crew of PT 109 during WWII on 8-2-43, when hit by a Japanese destroyer.

Lieutenant. John F. Kennedy, USNR, is awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal for "...extremely heroic conduct as Commanding Officer of Motor Torpedo Boat 109...". He rescued a crew of PT 109 during WWII on 8-2-43, when hit by a Japanese destroyer.

Basic Facts

Question Answer

Born

May 29, 1917 - Massachusettes

President Number

35th

Party

Democratic

Military Service

United States Navy (Lieutenant)

Wars Served

World War II Solomon Islands campaign

Age at Beginning of Presidency

43 years old

Term of Office

January 20, 1961 - November 22, 1963

How Long President

2 years 11 months

Vice-President

Lyndon B Johnson

Age and Year of Death

November 22, 1963 (aged 46)

Cause of Death

gun shot

Excerpt from the History Channel

List of the United States Presidents

1. George Washington

15. James Buchanan

31. Herbert Hoover

2. John Adams

16. Abraham Lincoln

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. Thomas Jefferson

17. Andrew Johnson

33. Harry S. Truman

4. James Madison

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

5. James Monroe

20. James Garfield

35. John F. Kennedy

6. John Quincy Adams

21. Chester A. Arthur

36. Lyndon B Johnson

7. Andrew Jackson

22. Grover Cleveland

37. Richard M. Nixon

8. Martin Van Buren

23. Benjamin Harrison

38. Gerald R. Ford

9. William Henry Harrison

24. Grover Cleveland

39. James Carter

10. John Tyler

25. William McKinley

40. Ronald Reagan

11. James K. Polk

26. Theodore Roosevelt

41. George H. W. Bush

12. Zachary Taylor

27. William Howard Taft

42. William J. Clinton

13. Millard Fillmore

28. Woodrow Wilson

43. George W. Bush

14. Franklin Pierce

29. Warren G. Harding

44. Barack Obama

15. James Buchanan

30. Calvin Coolidge

45. Donald Trump

JFK and Family

President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and their children John, Jr. and Caroline, at their summer house in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. August 4, 1962

President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and their children John, Jr. and Caroline, at their summer house in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. August 4, 1962

Sources

  • "25 Fascinating Facts About John F. Kennedy." Mental Floss. May 29, 2017. Accessed October 22, 2017. http://mentalfloss.com/article/501318/25-fascinating-facts-about-john-f-kennedy.
  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). John F. Kennedy. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/johnfkennedy
  • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.

© 2017 Angela Michelle Schultz

Comments

Sharlee on November 14, 2017:

Enjoyed the read... Nice work

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 08, 2017:

It is such a shame that he was killed. I never knew he had Addison's disease.

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