John F. Kennedy - A thousand days

John F. Kennedy was destined to be president of the United States. He would rather mold history than let history mold itself. John Kennedy was born in Brookline, MA in 1917. His mother was Irish and his father was a graduate of Harvard University and had entered the business world. After their arrival as immigrants, John's grandparents entered politics. John had attended four different schools before attending Harvard. He first attended Dexter School in Brookline where he played football. He was then enrolled at the Riverdale Country Day School in Bronxville, NY because his father had moved for business reason. He had also attended the Canterbury School in New Milford, MA and then he spent his secondary school years at Choate in Wallingford, CT. As a student, Kennedy was average. He had potential of a great intellect and had a capacity to learn but he failed to apply himself. Therefore, he was happy as a B student.

In 1946, JFK started down the road mapped out for him by his father. Since Kennedy was more of a scholar than a politician, it wasn't easy when he ran for Congress from Massachusetts' 11th district. Since his family was well known, he fit right in.

He served in the House of Representatives for six years. Then in 1952, he ran for the Senate against Henry Cabot Lodge. He won and then began to capture the eyes of men in the Democratic Party. In 1956 he decided to run as the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, but he lost to the Senator of Tennessee. His effort, however, earned him national prominence, exactly what he wanted. In 1960 he won the Democratic Presidential Contest. From that time on JFK had developed into one of the most effective speakers in the history of the presidency.

While a junior member of the Senate in 1952, Kennedy me Jacquelin Lee Bouvier, who was working as a photographer for the Washington Times Herald. On September 12, 1953, they married in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. Although Kennedy was not born a politician, he learned the trade fast. His quest for presidency started in 1959. His campaign was a very exhausting experience for him. He had planned early on that he would "cover everything, do everything and see everyone."

The highlight of the 1960 Presidential Campaign was the series of four television debates between Kennedy and his opponent, Richard M. Nixon. Even off screen, Kennedy had a way of turning the debates to his advantage. When the ratings were in, Kennedy had clearly passed up his opponent by a considerable margin. Many experts believe that his appearance on television was the key factor in winning most of the votes. They said that Nixon came off poorly and even looked poorly.

When all the speeches were over, Kennedy returned to Boston to cast his vote at the West End Branch Library. Within a few hours it was clear that Kennedy had been elected to do one of the most demanding jobs in the world. John Kennedy had two children, Caroline and John Jr. Mrs. Kennedy tried very hard to keep them out of the spotlight because she was afraid that it would have an adverse effect on their development. John Jr. loved to hang out in his father's office. John always found time to spend with his family. It was very rare that he didn't unless there was a very hectic issue he had to deal with as president.

While the children were cared for much of the time by Maud Shaw, their private nurse, Mrs. Kennedy would take over whenever time allowed. More than anything else, the children of John Kennedy served to personalize and humanize the man. Scenes of the president playing with his children, carrying their teddy bears, listening to their problems and caring for their needs were deeply moving scenes. And when he died, Caroline and John were not yet old enough to understand. Someday they will and they, more than anyone, will be able to remember the human side of the man who worked so long and hard for his country. Maybe Caroline summed it up when she once said, "That's not the president, that's my daddy."

Jackie Kennedy was the daughter of a New York banker, John Bouvier and Mrs. Hugh D. Auchincloss of Georgetown. Following a liberal arts education in American schools, Jackie went to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Just after meeting John Kennedy when she was a freshman senator, she took a job as a photographer and reporter with a Washington Newspaper. She interviewed and wrote about many of the leading political figures.

As husband and wife, John and Jackie were very compatible. Each nurtured a deep appreciation and trust of the other and each held the other's view of life in deep respect. But as John's political career rose, she had begun to realize that she wanted the quiet life she had always dreamed of. Above all, she wanted privacy, for herself and for her children. She knew that as the presidency grew her dream would become farther away. As a one-time journalist she understood all this, yet she couldn't stop it completely without hurting her husband's career. Because of this she adjusted. She protected her children from the prying cameras of the professionals and the tourists as much as possible. November 22, 1963 started out promisingly under Texas skies. Air Force 1, the presidential jet, landed at Dallas' Love Field at 11:37 a.m. The President was touring the Lone Star State for political reasons. JFK got off the plane, got into his limo and was on his way to a luncheon at the Trade Mart and was lead by cops. Many teenage girls were holding signs wanting to shake the president's hand. At this point he had less than 15 minutes to live. While going by the Texas Book Depository Building he had less than a minute to live. Within the next minute, three explosions could be heard and John F. Kennedy fell wounded into his wife's arms. The Texas Governor, John Connally, who was with Kennedy, was seriously wounded. Then the presidential limo rushed Kennedy three miles to the Parkland Hospital. A team of doctors tried to bring back his life but it had already vanished.

Police and secret service agents rushed toward the Texas Book Depository, believing that the shots had been fired from there. People were showing their great sympathy to Jackie who lay by her husband's side. Kennedy was dead instantly. Many countries like France, England, Germany, Ireland, and Italy, which had all been visited by Kennedy, the people wept. On Monday, November 25, 1963, John F. Kennedy was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, and with many of the world's leaders in attendance. His widow stood by, courageous to the end, and he would have admired that, for as brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, noted afterward, courage was the virtue that John F. Kennedy admired most. And courage was clearly the stuff that John F. Kennedy was made of.