Wednesday, April 21, 2004

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy This is a short and readable biography of American President Kennedy.

From the site:

John Fitzgerald Kennedy ( May 29 , 1917 - November 22 , 1963 ), often referred to as Jack Kennedy or JFK , was the 35th ( 1961 - 1963 ) President of the United States .

Kennedy was born in Brookline , Massachusetts , the son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. In 1935 , he studied at the London School of Economics , then moved to Princeton University , but was forced to leave the latter during Christmas break because of an attack of jaundice . He then attended Harvard University , enrolling in the fall of 1936 , but he severely injured his back playing football . He traveled to Europe twice during his study at Harvard. The second was to Great Britain , while his father was serving as ambassador to that country. Kennedy returned, and wrote his honors thesis on analyzing the British portion of the Munich Pact of 1938 . He graduated cum laude from Harvard in June 1940 .

Military service

In the spring of 1941 , Kennedy volunteered for the US Army , but was rejected, mainly because of his injured back. However, he worked to strengthen himself during the summer, and was accepted by the US Navy in September of that year. He participated in various commands during World War II , but his most famous one was during March 1943 . With the rank of lieutenant , he received command of a patrol torpedo boat , or PT boat .

While his boat, PT-109 , was cruising west of New Georgia (near the Solomon Islands on August 2 , it was rammed by a Japanese destroyer . He was thrown across the deck onto his already injured back, but somehow rallied the survivors onto a nearby small island, himself towing a wounded man three miles through the ocean. After a few days of searching, he found two friendly islanders, whom he sent for aid with a message carved on a coconut . For these actions, Kennedy received the Purple Heart , Navy Medal and Marine Corps Medal . However, his back injury had been aggravated after being thrown on his boat, and he also contracted malaria . He was honorably discharged in early 1945 , just a few months before the Japanese surrender.

In May 2002 a National Geographic expedition found what is believed to be the wreckage of that PT-109 in the Solomon Islands.

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