JFK: His Life and Legacy
On November 22, 1963, while being driven through the streets of Dallas, Texas, in his open car, President John F. Kennedy was shot dead, apparently by the lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. The world had not only lost a common man, but a great leader of men. From his heroic actions in World War II to his presidency, making the decisions to avert possible nuclear conflict with world
superpowers, greatness can be seen. Kennedy also found the time to author several best-selling novels from his experiences . His symbolic figure represented all the charm, vigor and optimism of youth as he led a nation into a new era of prosperity.
From his birth into the powerful and influential Kennedy clan, much was to be expected of him. Kennedy was born on May 29,1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father, Joe, Sr., was a successful businessman with many political connections. Appointed by President Roosevelt, Joe, Sr., was given the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission and later the prestigious position of United States ambassador to Great Britain(Anderson 98). His mother, Rose, was a loving housewife and took young John on frequent trips around historic Boston learning about American revolutionary history. Both parents impressed on their children that their country had been good to the Kennedys. Whatever
benefits the family received from the country they were told, must be returned by performing some service for the
country(Anderson 12). The Kennedy clan included Joe, Jr., Bobby, Ted and their sisters, Eunice, Jean, Patricia, Rosemary, and Kathleen. Joe, Jr., was a significant figure in young John's life as he was the figure for most of John's admiration. His older brother was much bigger and stronger than John and took it upon himself to be John's coach and protector. John's childhood was full of sports, fun and activity. This all ended when John grew old enough to leave for school.
At the age of thirteen, John left home to attend an away school for the first time. Canterbury School, a boarding school in New Milford, Connecticut and Choate Preparatory in Wallingford, Connecticut completed his elementary education("JFK" 98). John graduated in 1934 and was promised a trip to London as a
graduation gift. Soon after, John became ill with jaundice and would have to go to the hospital. He spent the rest of the
summer trying to recover. He was not entirely well when he started Princeton, several weeks later in the fall of 1935. Around
Christmas the jaundice returned and John had to drop out of
school. Before the next school year began, he told his father he wanted to go to Harvard("JFK" 98). On campus, young people took interest in politics, social changes, and events in Europe. The United States was pulling out of the Great Depression. Hitler's Nazi Germany followed aggressive territorial expansion in Europe. It was at this time that John first became aware of the vast social and economic differences in the United States. In June 1940, John graduated cum laude(with praise or distinction) from Harvard. His thesis earned a magna cum laude(great praise)( "JFK" 98). After graduation, John began to send his paper to publishers, and it was accepted on his second try. Wilfrid Funk published it under the title Why England Slept. It became a bestseller. John, at twenty-five, became a literary sensation.
In the spring of 1941, both John and Joe, Jr., decided to enroll in the armed services. Joe was accepted as a naval air cadet but John was turned down by both the army and navy because of his back trouble and history of illness("JFK" 98). After months of training and conditioning, John reapplied and on September 19, John was accepted into the navy as a desk clerk in Washington. He was disgusted and applied for a transfer. In June 1941, Kennedy was sent to Naval Officers Training School at Northwestern
University in Evanston, Illinois and then for additional...
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