JFK Remembered: The Life of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. However to many people he was much more. The charismatic leader took charge of a nation in 1961, that was in turmoil. The country was in the midst of a Cold War with the Russians (and losing), the Space Race also with the Russians (and also losing) and the increasing tensions because of racial unrest. However, despite all of these problems, Kennedy addressed them all with confidence and has become one of the country’s most respected leaders.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (also known as JFK) was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917. He was born into a family that was heavily involved in the political arena in Massachusetts, so it is no surprise that JFK followed the family path. After spending his early years in boarding schools and private schools, he enrolled at Harvard, graduating in June 1940.
After graduating, the U.S. became involved in World War II. Kennedy tried to enlist in the Army in the spring of 1941, but was turned down because of a bad back. However, in the fall of 1941, with some pulling of strings he was accepted in the U.S. Navy. Kennedy rose through the ranks of the Navy and eventually commanded his own PT boat. He saw extensive action during the war, and for his work on PT-109 he was recognized with the Navy and Marine Corp Medal, Purple Heart, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
Upon returning from the war, he began his political career as a war hero. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate. In 1960, with Dwight Eisenhower ready to leave office, the Democratic Party was looking to put another war hero in the White House, and selected Kennedy to face Richard Nixon. In one of the most fascinating races for President, Kennedy edged Nixon and became the 35th President of the United States.
During his time in the White House, Kennedy faced many challenges including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War and other difficult situations. Kennedy approached all challenges head on and JFK quickly became a well known and well liked politician. The country liked his approach to give equal rights to all people, and his “New Frontier” policy for education and medical care for the elderly was groundbreaking.
However, not all people appreciated the efforts of Kennedy. On November 22, 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed Kennedy while he was in an open air convertible in Dallas, Texas. Oswald proclaimed his innocence but before he was put to trial, Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby. The mysterious chain of events surrounding the assassination and the days after, led to the Warren Commission being called together to investigate the events. The Commission ruled that Oswald acted alone and closed the case. However, in the years since, many claims have been made saying that Oswald did not act alone, and that others were involved.
The death of JFK was a tragic and sad day for the country. Kennedy had begun to give America hope for the future and an equal chance for all citizens. Unfortunately, an assassin’s bullet ended the dreams of a country. However, JFK will always be remembered as one of the most beloved Presidents in our long history.
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