John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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On the Road to His Grave By a razor-thin margin in the November 1960 election, John F. Kennedy was elected as the 35th president of the United States. Most Americans admired his winning personality, his charisma, and his assiduous energy. He won the hearts of the nation with his charm and youth. Tragically, an assassin’s bullet cut short Kennedy’s term as president. On November 22, 1963, the youthful was shot to death while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. John was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Mass., and was the second of nine. As an infantile he lived in a comfortable house in that suburb of Boston. As the family grew and the father's fortune increased, the Kennedys moved to larger, more impressive homes, first in Brookline, then in suburbs of New York City. John had a happy childhood, full of family games and sports. He attended private elementary schools, none of them parochial. He later spent a year at Canterbury School in New Milford, Conn., where he was taught by Roman Catholic laymen, and four years at Choate School in Wallingford, Conn. Kennedy strongly favored rearmament for the United States, and in the spring of 1941 he volunteered for the Army, but was rejected because of his weak back. During the summer he took strengthening exercises, and in September he was accepted by the Navy. In March 1943, as a lieutenant he took command of a PT boat in the Solomon Islands. While his boat was cruising west of New Georgia on the night of August 2, it was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy was thrown across the deck onto his back, but he rallied the survivors and managed to get them to an island. He himself towed a wounded man three miles through the seas. For several days he risked his life repeatedly, swimming into dangerous waters hoping to find a rescue ship. He finally encountered two friendly islanders and sent them for aid with a message that he carved on a coconut. He received the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, but his earlier back injury had been aggravated, and he contracted malaria. After an operation on his back, he was discharged early in 1945. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier on Sept. 12, 1953. The couple had two children who survived infancy Caroline Bouvier, born on Nov. 27, 1957, and John, Jr.

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