John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th President of the United States. The youngest man elected President, and the first Roman Catholic Kennedy’s brief administration was occupied with the growing Cold War, the escalating Vietnam War and the initiation of the Space Race. Born into a wealthy Boston political family, Kennedy was the second of four sons of Joseph P. Kennedy, who served as Ambassador to Great Britain under Franklin Roosevelt.
Educated at Harvard, Kennedy enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II despite chronic health problems, including colitis. Eventually, Kennedy rose to the rank of lieutenant and was commander of the PT-109, which was rammed by the Japanese off the Solomon Islands. Kennedy was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for saving the life of a comrade and became a war hero as a result.
Following the war, Kennedy served briefly in the US House of Representatives (1946-52) before being elected to the US Senate from Massachusetts. In 1956 he was nominated for Vice President, losing to Estes Kefauver, but receiving national attention that he was able to parley into his 1960 presidential run. In a close election, Kennedy defeated incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon.
As President, his administration is marked by the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile crisis and America’s deepening involvement in Vietnam. He also set the goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s, a realized goal he did not live to see. John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.