John F. Kennedy made history in 1960 by becoming the first Roman Catholic elected into U.S. Presidency. He also became the youngest man to hold power, at 43 years old as the 35th President of the United States.
JFK was born to a wealthy family and was educated in elite schools progressing later on to become a military hero. He ventured into politics, clinching a Congress seat in 1946 and the Senate in 1952.
As president, Kennedy confronted mounting Cold War tensions in Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere. He is accredited for having provided federal support to the civil rights movements and also advocated for public service, reports History.
The world was left in shocks on November 22, 1963 when F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The all-too-human Kennedy was immediately turned into a larger-than-life heroic figure. Up to this day, Kennedy is still regarded as one of the most loved American presidents.
Famously known as Jack in his childhood, John F. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the second born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy – they were five children in their family.
His parents were members of the most prominent Irish Catholic political families in Boston. He lived a privileged life as a youth, attending private schools like Canterbury and Choate and also spent summers in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. However, Jack was faced with numerous health problems in his childhood, including a rare endocrine disorder called Addison’s disease.
Joe Kennedy established himself as a successful businessman, apart from being a huge supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934 he was appointed the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and then became U.S. ambassador to Great Britain in 1937.
He was a Harvard student and constantly travelled to Europe as his father’s secretary. In 1940, his thesis on British’s unpreparedness for war was published as an acclaimed book “Why England Slept”.
After joining the U.S. Navy in 1941, Jack was sent to South Pacific to command of a Patrol-Torpedo (PT) boat. The Japanese destroyer attack on the Solomon Islands killed and injured most US troops. Kennedy helped some of his marooned crew back to safety, and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism.
However, his elder brother Joe Jr. was unfortunate with the explosion of his Navy airplane in August 1944. They had gone on a secret mission against a German rocket-launching site.
While grieving the death of his son, Joe Sr. informed Jack it was his duty to take up a responsibility initially intended for his elder brother – be the first Catholic president of the United States.
Check in tomorrow for part 2 of JFK’s history. We will look at his beginnings in politics as well as John F. Kennedy’s road to Presidency.