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, allegedly by the lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
was the 35th President of the United States, the youngest person ever to be
elected President, the first Roman Catholic and the first to be born in the 20th
century. Kennedy was assassinated before he completed his third year as

President therefore his achievements were limited. Nevertheless, his influence
was worldwide, and his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis may have prevented
the United States from entering into another world war. 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. Performing some service for the country must return whatever benefits
the family received from the country they were told. (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 training at the Motor

Torpedo Boat Center at Melville, Rhode Island. In late April 1943, Lieutenant

John F. Kennedy was put in command of a PT 109, a fast, light, attack craft