John F. Kennedy ( JFK ) was known throughout the world for his heroic deeds. He has helped many Americans many different ways from saving a mans life and keeping him from drowning, to helping African Americans. He had come from a very political family, and knowing that he felt that he had to carry on the tradition of that after his brother Joe had past away. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, the second oldest in a family of nine children. Although their families had not come to the United States with much oney, both of John Kennedy’s grandfathers became political leaders in Boston.
One of them, John Fitzgerald (for whom he was named), was elected mayor in 1905. John Kennedy’s father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy became a very wealthy businessman, an adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the United States Ambassador to Great Britain from 1938 to 1940. John Kennedy (his family called him “Jack”) moved to New York when he was ten years old. Since the family spent the summer months at their home in Hyannis, Cape Cod, Jack still lived a good part of his life in Massachusetts. As a boy and a young man, he traveled to other parts of the United States and to other countries.
After graduating from the Choate School in Connecticut in 1935, he went on to Harvard College and graduated in 1940. That same year he wrote a best-selling book, Why England Slept, about some of the decisions which led to World War II. Kennedy described himself as an idealist without illusion . He considered his best quality to be curiosity, and he worst irritability. Kennedys charm, grace, and wit were to a great extent responsible for his immense popularity as president. He remained a bit detached from things in order to counter his extremely sensitive side, for the most part he controlled his temper.
Kennedy met his future wife at a dinner party in Washington, D. C. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was the daughter of a wealthy Wall Street broker, John V. Bouvier III. She had attended Vassar College and the Sorbonne in Paris. When she met Kennedy, she was a student at George Washington University in Washington. Later, she worked as an inquiring photographer for the Washington Times-Herald. She and Kennedy were married on September 12, 1953. A daughter was still-born on August 23, 1956, and was unnamed. Their daughter Caroline was born November 27, 1957. Their son John F. Jr. , was born on November 25, 1960.
Another son, Patrick Bouvier, was born prematurely August 7th, 1963. He died August 9, 1963. Five years after Kennedy’s death, Mrs. Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis, a Greek millionaire. John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President on January 20, 1961. In his Inaugural Address, he spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” he said. He also asked the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the “common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
One of President Kennedy’s first important actions was creating the Peace Corps. Americans who join the Peace Corps go as volunteers to countries requesting assistance. They serve as teachers and provide help in areas such as farming, health care, and construction. During the next year, Kennedy and Khrushchev set up a “Hot Line,” a special telephone connection between the President’s office in the White House and the Soviet leader’s ffice at the Kremlin in Moscow. They hoped this Hot Line would prevent a war from beginning by mistake.
In August 1963, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a treaty that outlawed nuclear bomb tests in the air, under water, and in outer space. The treaty did not prevent the two countries from building more weapons, but it did protect the world from the harmful effects of nuclear tests. Kennedy also asked the American people to think more about making peace with the Soviet Union. “We all inhabit this small planet,” he said. “We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future, and we are all mortal.
While international issues demanded a lot of attention, Kennedy also had to deal with serious problems here in the United States. In most southern states, schools, buses, restaurants, and other public places were racially segregated. There were separate schools, separate seats on buses, and separate areas in restaurants for whites and for blacks. State and local laws also prevented black Americans from voting. Since the 1950s, many people–black and white–had been working to change these laws.
Kennedy called Corretta Scott King, offering any help, after her husband was taken to jail, for leading the civil rights movement. Many of the African Americans then voted for him. On November 21, 1963, President Kennedy flew to Texas to give several political speeches. The next day, as his car drove slowly past cheering crowds in Dallas, shots rang out. Kennedy was seriously wounded and died a short time later. Within two hours of the shooting, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald and charged him with the murder. On November 24, a Dallas man, Jack Ruby, shot and killed Oswald before there was a chance to put him on trial.
Although Oswald denied that he shot Kennedy, most of the evidence indicates that he really did. To this day, however, many people disagree about the facts of JFK’s assassination. Some people insist, for example, that there was a second gunman firing at Kennedy, and that he and Ruby were part of a conspiracy. None of these theories have ever been proven. President Kennedy’s death caused enormous sadness and grief among all Americans. Most people still remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the murder.
Hundreds of thousands of people athered in Washington for the President’s funeral, and millions throughout the world watched it on television. President Kennedy has made many changes in the United States that people may not have realized. He helped people out, not just the world, but also individuals, like the African Americans. He treated people equally, no matter who they were or what color there skin was. As the years have gone by and other Presidents have written their chapters in history, John Kennedy’s brief time in office stands out in people’s memories–for his leadership, personality, and ccomplishments.
Many respect his coolness when faced with difficult decisions–like what to do about the missiles in Cuba. Others admire his ability to inspire people with his eloquent speeches. Still others think his compassion and his willingness to fight for new government programs to help the poor, the elderly and the ill were most important. Like all leaders, John Kennedy made mistakes, but he was always optimistic about the future. He believed that people could solve their common problems if they put their country’s interests first and worked together.