John F. Kennedy was seen by many as the greatest president of the United States of America. He negotiated his way successfully through multiple threats to the United States of America, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. He also started the space race between America and Russia, wanting America to be the first to put a man on the moon. Tragically, and brutally, he was assassinated in front of millions of people whilst on tour in Dallas. Let’s read 201 amazing facts about John F. Kennedy – some you’ll know, lots you won’t.
Fact 1: John F. Kennedy was often known as ‘JFK’, ‘John Kennedy’, ‘Jack Kennedy’, and as ‘Jack’. ‘Jack’ was a family nickname that was given to John when he was young and it just stuck throughout his life.
Fact 2: President John F. Kennedy was the first American president to hold a press conference on television. He enjoyed being in the limelight and was an exceptional orator who spoke with passion and sincerity, and people loved listening to him.
Fact 3: One of the worlds’ best known speeches came from President John F. Kennedy. In his inaugural speech, when he was sworn in as president on January 20 1961, he spoke of the need for all Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. This is a legendary quote from the man himself, and it still applies today!
Fact 4: During President Kennedy’s administration, he gave the go ahead for the invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba which had been approved by his predecessor President Eisenhower. It was called the ‘Bay of Pigs’ because it was the name of the beach the invasion landed on.
Fact 5: John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural speech, asked the world to join together with America in the fight to overcome the “common enemies of man” – tyranny, poverty, disease and war.
Fact 6: John F. Kennedy was the only president to appoint a member of his family to the cabinet. His brother Robert F. Kennedy became Attorney General. They worked well together as they were best friends as well as brothers.
Fact 7: Whilst visiting West Berlin on June 26 1963, President Kennedy spoke about America and Germany working together. This provoked a storm of approval from the many thousands watching him live on the street and the many millions watching from their televisions. He, of course, made his famous remark “Ich bin ein Berliner” on this occasion.
Fact 8: John F. Kennedy was the only president to be survived by both his parents as they both outlived him.
Fact 9: The book ‘Why England Slept’, which is about the British Government’s initial lack of response to Adolf Hitler’s threats of war, suggested an Anglo-American alliance as John F. Kennedy wanted the U.S. to intervene in World War II. However, his father Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. felt that it was not America’s war and they should not get involved which resulted in his father being dismissed as Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Fact 10: John F. Kennedy was the first president to serve in the U.S. Navy. During the earlier part of the 20th Century, the most popular military service for presidents was the army but during the second half of the 20th Century it was the U.S. Navy. This appealed to a number of presidents including Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.
Fact 11: John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Bouvier had four children but sadly two did not survive. One child, a little girl who they were going to name Arabella, was born five weeks premature and was stillborn in 1956. The other, a son born on August 7 1963, who they named Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, did not survive for more than a couple of days as he was suffering from a pulmonary disease. Jacqueline also suffered from a miscarriage in 1955. Their two surviving children were Caroline Bouvier Kennedy born November 27 1957 and John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr (nicknamed John-John), born in November 1960, just 17 days after his father was elected as president.
Fact 12: John F. Kennedy’s son, John-John, a graduate of Brown University, was piloting a small plane in 1999 which crashed on route to Martha’s Vineyard, and killed him on impact.
Fact 13: John F. Kennedy’s grandson, John Bouvier Kennedy ‘Jack’ Schlossberg, is the youngest child and only son of the first female U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy. He is the only grandson of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy. He was born January 19 1993 in New York. Like his grandfather he attended Harvard Business School and then Harvard Law School. His grandparents were John F Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Mae Schlossberg and Alfred Schlossberg. His parents were Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg and they had three children together, 1 boy and 2 girls.
Fact 14: Tatiana Celia Kennedy Schlossberg born 1990 was John F. Kennedy’s granddaughter. She is an American climate and environment journalist and author. She married George Moran in 2017 and attended Yale University. She wrote the book ‘Inconspicuous Consumption: The environmental impact you don’t know you have’. Her great grandparents were Joseph P Kennedy Sr, Rose Kennedy, John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Lee Bouvier.
Fact 15: John F. Kennedy’s granddaughter Rose Kennedy Schlossberg was born June 25 1988, in Manhattan New York. She is an American actress and the oldest child of Caroline Kennedy, and first born grandchild of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy. She attended New York and Harvard Universities and graduated in 2010. Many people say she looks very much like her grandmother Jacqueline. She was also in the movie ‘Houses’.
Fact 16: In a Gallup List of Admired People of the 20th Century, President Kennedy came third behind Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.
Fact 17: John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12 1953, in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Newport, Rhode Island. His brother Robert was his best man. Over 800 guests attended their wedding.
Fact 18: The wedding dress of Jacqueline Bouvier was made of ivory tissue silk. She wore a choker of pearls too, and a diamond bracelet that had been given to her by Jack for her to wear on their wedding day. Archbishop Cushing, who was a friend of the Kennedy family, performed the wedding ceremony with the help from 6 other priests. A special blessing from Pope Pius Xii was read out before the mass took place.
Fact 19: The wedding invitation was cream coloured paper and the wording was printed in black ink. A copy of the invitation is kept in the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum and can be viewed by the public.
Fact 20: John F. Kennedy’s sister Patricia Kennedy was born on May 6 1924. She was always interested in film production and wanted to go to Hollywood and to travel extensively. On April 24 1954, she married the English actor Peter Lawford. They had 4 children and divorced in 1966. After the divorce she had a problem with alcohol and also suffered from cancer of the tongue. She had a lot of involvement in the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum and she founded the National Committee for the Literary Arts. She died on September 17 2006, from pneumonia.
Fact 21: John F. Kennedy was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the second book he wrote ‘Profiles in Courage’ in 1957, which was written when he was convalescing after needing several spinal operations.
Fact 22: At his inaugural ball he was the first president to dance with an African American woman.
Fact 23: John F. Kennedy wanted a poem read out at his inaugural ceremony and he asked Robert Frost to recite ‘The Gift Outright’ on the day.
Fact 24: The Kennedy family were incredibly rich, the richest political family at the time. When he took office in 1961 John F. Kennedy had long held the record for the wealthiest president in U.S. history. When Donald Trump took office in 2017, he became the wealthiest president and pushed Jack into second place.
Fact 25: John F. Kennedy donated his presidential salary and his congressional salary to charity.
Fact 26: John F. Kennedy liked to smoke a good cigar. The day before he decreed a ban on Cuban imports to America, he bought 1,200 best quality Cuban cigars.
Fact 27: John F. Kennedy was the first American President to be born in the 20th Century.
Fact 28: At approximately 3.00pm on 29 May 1917, John F. Kennedy was born.
Fact 29: John F. Kennedy’s mother gave birth to him at home on the second floor of their Colonial style house, at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Boston, Massachusetts, in the master bedroom. It was quite common to give birth at home at the time as the home was often considered more hygienic than going into hospital.
Fact 30: When Jack was born at home, a doctor named Dr Goode, his assistant and a nurse, helped deliver him. It was Dr Goode who had delivered Jack’s older brother Joe, and the same doctor then went on to deliver the rest of the Kennedy children.
Fact 31: Jack was the second oldest of the 9 children born to his parents.
Fact 32: There were nine Kennedy children – Joe Jr (1915), John (1917), Rose Marie (1918), Kathleen, known as Kick (1920), Eunice (1921), Patricia (1924), Robert, known as Bobby (1925), Jean (1928), and Edward, who was known as Teddy or Ted (1932).
Fact 33: The house in Beals Street was built in 1909 and Mr Kennedy (Father) bought it just before his marriage to Rose Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald was her maiden name) in 1914. He paid $6500 for it. At the time he was working as the president of a local bank, the Columbia Trust Company in East Boston.
Fact 34: The Kennedy family lived in the Beals Street house for 6 years, from 1914 to 1920. In 1920 they moved to a larger home just 3 blocks away as they loved the area so much.
Fact 35: When the Kennedy family moved out of the house on Beals Street they sold the house to Edward and Mary Moore in September 1920. The youngest Kennedy, Edward Moore Kennedy was named after Edward Moore as the families were very close friends.
Fact 36: After the Moore family left the house on Beals Street, the home passed to many different owners. The house was eventually bought from Mrs Martha Pollack by the Kennedy family in 1966, as John F. Kennedy’s mother, Mrs Rose Kennedy, wanted to recreate the house to be a living memorial to her son.
Fact 37: Mrs Rose Kennedy, with the help of decorator Robert Luddington of the Jordan Marsh Retail Store, helped restore the appearance of the Beals Street house to what it would have looked like when the Kennedy family lived there. Many of the objects you can see in the house today, which is open to the public to visit, were actually used by the Kennedy family when they lived there.
Fact 38: The house became A National Historic Site on May 26 1967, when a public law was passed establishing the house as a John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Landmark.
Fact 39: You can visit the Beals Street house grounds all year round and the house itself is open to the public at specific times during the year. Mrs Rose Kennedy’s personal reminiscences guide visitors through her home. There are also special ranger led tours of the neighbourhood where Jack Kennedy spent his childhood.
Fact 40: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is located in Boston.
Fact 41: Kennedy was quite a sickly child and teenager, and his health problems continued throughout his adult life. He suffered from colitis, prostatitis, and quite severe osteoporosis of the lower back. He needed surgery for the pain in his lower back because the pain was so debilitating and he often couldn’t bend over.
Fact 42: John F. Kennedy was prescribed a number of medical drugs to help with the severe pain in his back including steroids, vitamins and amphetamines. Three different doctors regularly saw Kennedy and one, Max Jacobson, who was not known to the other doctors who were treating Kennedy, used controversial treatment for the severe back pain.
Fact 43: The White House Physician at the time of John F. Kennedy’s presidential years was Dr Janet Travell and, according to records, Kennedy also suffered from high fevers, stomach, colon, prostate problems, adrenal problems, and high cholesterol throughout his years as president, as well as his constant chronic back pain.
Fact 44: It was Dr Travell in 1966 who stated that John F. Kennedy also suffered from hypothyroidism.
Fact 45: When John F. Kennedy was in his first term in Congress in September 1947 he was diagnosed by Sir Daniel Davis, at The London Clinic, with Addison’s Disease. This is a rare adrenal problem. This was not made public at the time as it was felt it could damage his political career.
Fact 46: John F. Kennedy’s parents Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy were both members of politically prominent Irish Catholic families in Boston. Their children were encouraged to discuss and debate politics at home and they also had piano lessons there.
Fact 47: In 1920 with the birth of their fourth child, Rose and Joseph Kennedy moved to a larger home just 3 blocks away from the Beals Street house on the corner of Abbottsford and Naples Roads, until they left for New York in 1927. A housekeeper, Alice Michelin and a nanny, Mary O’Donahue, lived with them to help with the household chores and with the children (there would eventually be 9 children to look after).
Fact 48: On the same day that President Kennedy died, November 22 1963, C.S. Lewis, the novelist, poet, and literary critic, and Aldous Huxley, an English writer, also died.
Fact 49: In 1962, America found out that the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases in Cuba and this became known as The Cuban Missile Crisis. These missiles would be within range to strike the U.S. with nuclear bombs. After negotiations the Soviet Union agreed to dismantle the missile bases and, in return, the U.S. agreed to never attack Cuba and to remove missiles from Turkey.
Fact 50: A movie was made about the sinking of John F. Kennedy’s boat in the Solomon Islands called ‘PT-109’. Cliff Robertson played a young Lieutenant Kennedy in the film.
Fact 51: John F. Kennedy was the only president to win a Purple Heart Medal. He was awarded this for his service in the Pacific during World War II.
Fact 52: Theodore Roosevelt was a little younger than Kennedy at the age of 42 years, when he succeeded William McKinley as president in 1901. But Kennedy, when he became president in 1961, was the youngest elected president at the age of 43 years. Bill Clinton was the third youngest president at the age of 46.
Fact 53: There are often debates between politicians on television today, but it was the Nixon-Kennedy debates that were the first ever political debates to be televised in America.
Fact 54: In 1939 John F. Kennedy went on a tour of Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Soviet Union, to help him prepare for his Harvard Senior honours thesis. He had developed a keen interest in political philosophy and made the Dean’s List in his junior year.
Fact 55: John F. Kennedy completed his thesis entitled ‘Appeasement in Munich’ in 1940. It was about the British participating in the Munich Agreement. The thesis was renamed ‘Why England Slept’ and became a bestseller. This was the first book that Kennedy wrote.
Fact 56: John F. Kennedy visited Germany and Czechoslovakia in 1939. The day that Germany invaded Poland on September 1 1939, he returned to London. This was the beginning of World War II.
Fact 57: Due to his severe back problems which had been medically categorized as a physical disability, John F. Kennedy, on March 1 1945, retired from the Navy and was honourably discharged from World War II. He left with the full rank of lieutenant, just before Japan’s surrender in 1945.
Fact 58: John F. Kennedy, at a young age, had a vast amount of experience as a politician. In 1946, at the age of 29, he ran for the House of Representatives and won. He was elected three times to the House and two times to the Senate before becoming president.
Fact 59: John F. Kennedy’s older brother Joe, who had also joined the U.S. Navy as a pilot, had been expected to go into politics and stand for president but, sadly, he was killed in action during World War II, on August 12 1944. His plane exploded over England. He was on a secret bombing raid at the time, and was flying a plane full of explosives. It was never established why the bombs detonated in the plane before reaching the actual bombing site.
Fact 60: In 1962 President Kennedy instructed a Secret Service agent, Roger Bouck, to install secret recording devices in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room of the White House. Many of these tapes have been declassified, but The Miller Centre, at the University of Virginia, has made many of the 260 plus hours of recordings available to the public, and some of them can be listened to online.
Fact 61: Among the many private conversations secretly recorded by John F. Kennedy are those involving discussions about the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Franklin D. Roosevelt also had secret tapes made of conversations when he was in office. President Kennedy never explained why he wanted the tapes but it was thought by his private secretary, and others, that it was to help him write his memoirs after he left office.
Fact 62: John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States.
Fact 63: John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic President of the United States.
Fact 64: John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice Mary Kennedy was born July 10 1921. She was very close to her sister Rose Marie, and she became a speaker for children’s health and disability issues, as she wanted the American people to understand about different types of disabilities. She married Robert Sargent Shriver Jr. on May 23 1953. They had 5 children together including the well known television celebrity Maria Shriver. Eunice founded Camp Shriver in 1962 for people with disabilities, which expanded in 1968 and became the Special Olympics. At 88 years of age, she died of a stroke on August 11 2005.
Fact 65: Both the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys were wealthy and prominent Irish Catholic Boston families. Kennedy’s paternal grandfather Patrick Joseph Kennedy was a wealthy banker and liquor trader and his maternal grandfather John E. Fitzgerald, nicknamed ‘Honey Fitz,’ was a skilled politician who served as a congressman and as the Mayor of Boston.
Fact 66: John F. Kennedy’s mother, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was a Boston socialite, and his father Joseph Kennedy Sr was a successful banker who made a fortune on the stock market after World War I. Joe Kennedy Sr. went on to a government career as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and as Ambassador to Great Britain.
Fact 67: John F. Kennedy was the second oldest of the nine children. His sister Eunice was the founder of the Special Olympics, Robert was a US Attorney General and Ted became one of the most powerful senators in American history. They remained a very close family and supported one another throughout their lives.
Fact 68: John F. Kennedy’s sister Jean Ann Kennedy was born on February 20 1928. She is the longest living of all the Kennedy children. Jean is an American diplomat and was the former Ambassador to Ireland. On May 19 1956, she married Stephen Edward Smith and they had 4 children. Jean founded the Very Special Arts foundation, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating a society where disabled people of all ages can pursue the arts. In 2011, President Obama awarded Jean the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her outstanding work.
Fact 69: Each of John F. Kennedy’s siblings were leading lights in their own areas of expertise, and even though it’s widely accepted that John F. Kennedy was the most famous of all the Kennedy’s, each of his siblings were clever, unique and worthy in their own right. They often competed against one another, especially as children, but always in a friendly manner.
Fact 70: Following John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22 1963, Idlewild International Airport was changed to John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 18 1963. A dedication ceremony was held on December 24 1963 at 11.00am.
Fact 71: John F. Kennedy’s Private Secretary at the White House was Mrs Evelyn Lincoln. She kept the White House appointment books, and recorded his workday appointments and activities. She was probably aware of a lot of other things that Jack got up to but has always kept her own counsel about her President and never revealed what she knew.
Fact 72: John F. Kennedy wore a back brace to strengthen his weak back. Markings on the brace that he wore indicated that it came from Nelson Kloman Surgical Supply Company, the Washington D.C. firm.
Fact 73: John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert Francis Kennedy was born on November 20 1925, and joined the U.S. Navy as soon as he could. He attended Harvard College and graduated from Virginia Law School in 1951, and then worked as a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice. He married Ethel Skakel on June 7 1950 and they had 11 (yes, eleven!) children. He was appointed the 64th U.S. Attorney General by his brother John F. Kennedy when he was president. On June 6 1968, he was assassinated in Los Angeles.
Fact 74: John F. Kennedy played baseball as a pitcher (right handed), and third baseman. He made the opening day pitch for the Washington Senators who were playing the Baltimore Orioles on April 8 1963.
Fact 75: John F. Kennedy loved sailing and purchased a number of boats including the ‘Manitou’ bought in 1962, and sold it on May 23 1968 to the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship at Piney Point Maryland. It was to be used for training the Merchant Marines.
Fact 76: The ‘Caroline K’ sailing boat was purchased by Joseph P. Kennedy in July 1960 as a birthday present for Jacqueline Kennedy. John F. Kennedy and his brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr bought the ‘Flash II’ boat in 1934 but after Joseph was killed in 1944, the boat was sold to a sailor in Maine.
Fact 77: John F. Kennedy always enjoyed reading. As a child some of his favourite books included ‘Kidnapped and Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘King Arthur and the Round Table’ by A.M. Hadfield, ‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling, ‘Peter Pan’ by J.M. Barry, ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell, and ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyan.
Fact 78: John F. Kennedy’s favourite books as president included ‘Lord Melbourne’ by David Cecil, ‘Marlborough’ by Sir Winston Churchill, ‘John Quincy Adams’ by Samuel Flagg Bemis, ‘The Emergence of Lincoln’ by Allan Nevins, ‘From Russian with Love’ by Ian Fleming, and ‘Pilgrim’s Way’ by John Buchan.
Fact 79: As a young boy, President F. Kennedy was a Boy Scout in Troop 2, in Bronxville New York. He became Honorary President of the National Organization of the Boy Scouts of America in 1961.
Fact 80: John F. Kennedy smoked 4-5 cigars a day, and he preferred Uplanns or Monticellos.
Fact 81: The desk in the Oval Office was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1879. The desk was made from the timbers of the British arctic exploration ship HMS Resolute. It was this ship that was sent to England as a gift to Queen Victoria from the President, and people of the United States, as a token of friendship. The desk was made from her timbers when she was broken up and was presented by the Queen to the President of the United States as a memorial.
Fact 82: The Resolute desk was used in the White House for many years but was moved during alterations in 1952. Mrs Kennedy discovered it in the White House broadcast room and had it restored to the Oval Office where President Kennedy used it during his time in office.
Fact: 83 There were a number of President Kennedy’s personal items kept on the Resolute desk that he used in the Oval Office. These included a black alligator desk set, the presidential appointments diary, the coconut shell with the inscribed message by President Kennedy when he and some of his PT crew were marooned on the Solomon Islands waiting to be rescued, book ends which are replicas of cannons mounted on the U.S.S. Constitution, a plaque inscribed with the Breton Fishermen’s Prayer, a Steuben glass etching of a PT boat and the presidential seal, his gold inaugural medal, an ashtray, books including leather bound copies of his own publications, a large green telephone, framed photographs of President Kennedy’s children, and various other small items.
Fact 84: John F. Kennedy loved playing and watching many sports including golf, sailing, swimming, and tennis.
Fact 85: John F. Kennedy’s car of choice on his inauguration day was a new Ford Thunderbird, which was one of the most stylish convertibles at the time. He owned the car for a few months but his ride in it on inauguration day was probably the last time he drove it.
Fact 86: President Kennedy was riding in an open top Lincoln Continental SS-100-X on the day he was assassinated in Dallas. The car was rebuilt after his death with added armour and a bulletproof top, and other modifications which have not been made public for security reasons. The car remained in service until 1977, and was retired to the Henry Ford Museum where it remains today.
Fact 87: President Kennedy had two caskets on his death. The first was used to transport his body from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Bethesda Naval Hospital. It was a Handley Britannia model manufactured by the Elgin Casket Company. Made of solid bronze, it was damaged when it was removed from Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on November 22 1963.
Fact 88: President Kennedy’s second (burial) casket was selected at Joseph Gawler’s Sons Inc. of Washington D.C. and manufactured by the Marsellus Casket Company. It was made of hand-rubbed 500 year old African mahogany and upholstered in white rayon. Other Presidents buried in a Marsellus Casket included Harry S. Truman and Richard M. Nixon.
Fact 89: The pallbearers at John F. Kennedy’s funeral were George A. Barnum (Coast Guard), Hubert Clark (Navy), Timothy F. Cheek (Marines), Richard E. Gaudreau (Air Force), Samuel R. Bird (Army, commanding), James L. Felder (Army), Douglas A. Mayfield (Army), Larry B. Smith (Navy), and Jerry J. Diamond (Marines).
Fact 90: John F. Kennedy’s godparents were Thomas A. Fitzgerald, his maternal uncle, and Loretta Connelly, his aunt.
Fact 91: The inscription on the granite wall below John F. Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery, contain excerpts taken from his January 1961 inaugural address. John E. Benson of Newport, Rhode Island did the stonework on the wall.
Fact 92: On December 4 1963 the bodies of John F. Kennedy’s baby girl, who was still-born on August 23 1956, and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who died 2 days after his birth on August 9 1963, were brought to Washington D.C. aboard the Kennedy family plane the ‘Caroline’.
Fact 93: Due to the volume of visitors to the grave, a permanent grave was constructed at Arlington National Cemetery and the 2 babies were moved, together with their father John F. Kennedy on March 14 1967. The baby girl was buried to the right of her father, and the baby boy to the left of him. No one is exempt from sad happenings in a family – not even the President of the United States.
Fact 94: John F. Kennedy’s campaign song was ‘High Hopes’ sung by Frank Sinatra to the tune of his 1959 hit single ‘High Hopes’. But the lyrics were changed in support of the 1960 Democratic Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy.
Fact 95: John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address was fewer than 1900 words, (the shortest since 1905) and lasted between 16-17 minutes, but it is considered to be one of the most powerful and remembered addresses on record.
Fact 96: At John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, at The Capitol on January 20 1961, the oath was administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren and the bible was held by Clerk of the Supreme Court, James Browning.
Fact 97: John F. Kennedy was relieved of his command of PT-59 on November 18 1943, and sent to the hospital on Tulagi following doctor’s orders. From there he returned to the United States in early January 1944, After receiving treatment for his back injury it was decided to release him from active Navy duty.
Fact 98: The car that carried John F. Kennedy to his death in Dallas Texas was a 1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine S-100-X in metallic navy blue. The car seated six adults. There was storage space for machine guns under the front seat and in the trunk compartment. The rear seat was power operated and could rise ten inches putting the President in full view. On either side of the tires, front and rear, was a stand for the Secret Service Agents to ride on.
Fact 99: All the Kennedy family loved animals, all different types of animals, and over the years they had a large number, including two parakeets named Bluebell and Maybell, two ponies Macaroni and Tex, a cat called Tom Kitten, Robin the Canary, as well as two hamsters Debbie and Billie, and a rabbit called Zsa Zsa.
Fact 100: The Kennedy’s had many much loved family dogs over the years, these include Charlie the Welsh Terrier, Pushinka who was a gift from Nikita Khrushchev (and she was the daughter of Strelfa, who was one of the first dogs in space), Clipper a German Shepherd, Shannon a Cocker Spaniel, and an Irish Wolfhound called, rather appropriately, – Wolf.
Fact 101: Two of the Kennedy’s family dogs, Pushinka and Charlie had pups called Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie and Streaker. Butterfly and Streaker were given away to children when they were pups, while White Tips and Blackie stayed at the Kennedy’s home.
Fact 102: John F. Kennedy loved James Bond books and films. When he was asked to name his 10 favourite books he listed ‘From Russia with Love’ at number nine. He first met the author of the James Bond books Ian Fleming in 1960 at a dinner party.
Fact 103: The Kennedy family moved to a stately twenty-room Georgian style mansion at 5040 Independence Avenue in the Hudson Hill neighbourhood of Riverdale, Bronx, New York in 1927. Two years later they moved to 294 Pondfield Road in the New York City area of Bronxville, New York.
Fact 104: The Kennedy’s lived in Brookline for ten years and John F. Kennedy attended the Edward Devotion School, the Noble and Greenough Lower School in Dedham Massachusetts, and the Dexter School in Brookline through the 4th grade.
Fact 105: John F. Kennedy attended the local St Aidan’s Church where he was baptized on June 19 1917.
Fact 106: In September 1927 the family moved from Brookline to the area of Riverdale in New York City. From his 5th to his 7th grades he attended the lower Riverdale Country School which was a private school for boys.
Fact 107: In 1929 the family moved to Bronxville, New York where John F. Kennedy became a member of the Boy Scout Troop 2 movement.
Fact 108: The Kennedy family spent summers at their home in Hyannis Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Christmas and Easter holidays at their winter home in Palm Beach Florida.
Fact 109: When John F. Kennedy was 13 years of age in September 1930, he attended Canterbury School in New Milford Connecticut and would have remained here for his 8th grade if he hadn’t been taken ill.
Fact 110: In April 1931 John F. Kennedy needed an appendectomy after which he had to recuperate at home, and sadly he could not return to Canterbury School.
Fact 111: From September 1931 John F. Kennedy attended the very prestigious boarding school, The Choate School which was in Wallingford Connecticut, from his 9th to his 12th grade.
Fact 112: John F. Kennedy’s older brother Joe had already been attending Choate for two years. He enjoyed playing football there, he was a very good football player and he was also one of Choat’s best students.
Fact 113: The most popular baby name for a boy born in the United States on May 29 1917 was John, 51,853 ‘Johns’ were recorded on that day.
Fact 114: The poem by Alan Seeger ‘I have a rendezvous with death’ was one of John F. Kennedy’s favourite poems. He often asked his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, to recite it to him.
Fact 115: While at Choate John F. Kennedy started a club called ‘The Muckers Club’. The club included his roommate and friend Kirk LeMoyne ‘Lem’ Billings.
Fact 116: From July 27 to September 27 1942 John F. Kennedy attended the Naval Reserve Officer Training School at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He then volunteered to enter the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center based in Melville, Rhode Island.
Fact 117: During his Choate years John F. Kennedy had many health problems. In June 1934 he was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota with a diagnosis of colitis.
Fact 118: In September 1935 John F. Kennedy made his first trip abroad with his parents and his sister Kathleen to London. But, ill health forced his return to America in October of 1935, which is when he enrolled late at Princeton University. But, he also left the university early as he needed to be hospitalized and then convalesced at the Kennedy’s winter home in Palm Beach. He spent the spring of 1936 working as a ranch hand on a cattle ranch outside Benson Arizona to improve his strength.
Fact 119: In September 1936 John F. Kenney enrolled at Harvard College where he tried out for the various sporting teams and was accepted on the varsity swimming team.
Fact 120: John F. Kennedy took his convertible car and his best friend Lem Billings sailing to France in July 1937. They went to France and spent ten weeks driving through Europe. They arrived back in the United States in September 1937.
Fact 121: John F. Kennedy’s father was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London. In June 1938, he went to Great Britain with his father and older brother to work at the American embassy in London.
Fact 122: John F. Kennedy graduated from Harvard College Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in government and international affairs.
Fact 123: John F. Kennedy attempted to enter the army’s Officer Candidate School in 1940 but was disqualified on medical grounds due to his lower back problems.
Fact 124: John F. Kennedy was also, initially, refused entry to the U.S. Navy, but, with the help of a contact of his father’s, he was accepted into the Naval Reserves on September 24 1941.
Fact 125: On October 26 1941, John F. Kennedy joined the staff of the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington D.C. as an ensign.
Fact 126: John F. Kennedy was promoted to Junior Grade Lieutenant on October 10 1942.
Fact 127: John F. Kennedy’s military decorations and awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Purple Heart Medal, American Defence Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Fact 128: Patrol torpedo boat, PT-101, from December 7 1942 to February 23 1943, was John F. Kennedy’s first command.
Fact 129: Following the attack by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, which killed two PT-109 crew members on August 1-2 1943, John F. Kennedy took a month to recover from his injuries and returned to duty to command the PT-59. On November 2 1943, the PT-59 boat took part with two other PT boats in the successful rescue of 40-50 marines.
Fact 130: On October 8 1943, John F. Kennedy was promoted to full lieutenant.
Fact 131: John F. Kennedy, on March 1 1945, retired from the Navy Reserve suffering from physical disabilities (his severe back problems which had worsened considerably in the war), and was honourably discharged with the full rank of lieutenant.
Fact 132: John F. Kennedy’s black alligator briefcase was a Hermes briefcase and he carried it with him everywhere, including the morning of his assassination. In 1998 the briefcase was included in a highly anticipated auction of his personal memorabilia and sold for more than $700,000.
Fact 133: President Kennedy’s last words were “No, you certainly can’t”. It’s been widely reported his final words were “My God, I’ve been hit” but his last words were in regards to how well he had been received in Dallas. Just seconds before he was shot Nellie Connally, the wife of Governor John Connally said, that “You certainly can’t say that the people of Dallas haven’t given you a nice welcome Mr President” to which he replied “No, you certainly can’t”.
Fact 134: John F. Kennedy’s father gave him $1,000,000 when he turned twenty-one.
Fact 135: John F. Kennedy’s sister, Kathleen Agnes Kennedy, known as ‘Kick’ was born on February 20 1920. She was named debutante in 1938, when she was in London with her brother and father (when he was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom). She worked with the Red Cross in both New York and London. She was ostracized by her devout Catholic family for marrying a Protestant English Aristocrat, William Cavendish the Marquess of Hartington, whom she called ‘Billy’. She was later given the title of Marchioness of Hartington. Marrying outside of the church was considered to be a sin by the church and by her family. Only one Kennedy was in attendance at her wedding, her older brother Joe Jr. Four months later in 1944, just 4 months after they were married, her husband William Cavendish was killed at war in Belgium. Kick died in a plane crash aged 28 on May 13 1948. The only Kennedy to attend her funeral was her father.
Fact 136: Jacqueline Bouvier was a “camera girl” for the Washington Times Herald shortly after she graduated from George Washington University in 1951. That year she interviewed Congressman John F. Kennedy and married him two years later.
Fact 137: In 1952 John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier were introduced to each other by the journalist Charles L. Bartlett at a dinner party.
Fact 138: After being assigned duty in Panama, John F. Kennedy commanded two more PT boats in the Pacific.
Fact 139: John F. Kennedy was assigned to Motor Torpedo Squadron 2 in April 1943. He took command of PT-109, and he was the third commander of the ship, which was based at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands on April 24 1943. As the commanding officer of PT-109, he became a wartime hero after helping his crewmates survive the gunboats 1943 sinking, having been struck by a Japanese destroyer.
Fact 140: C. S. Lewis, the author, was also known as ‘Jack’ to his friends, much like the president.
Fact 141: Some friendly islanders who had found John Kennedy and his crew after their shipwreck, sent a message from Lieutenant Kennedy who had carved a message into the husk of a coconut. The message read: ‘NAURO ISL…COMMANDER…NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT…HE CAN PILOT…11ALIVE…NEED SMALL BOAT…KENNEDY.’ The coconut husk was later turned into a paperweight which sat on his desk in the Oval Office.
Fact 142: The portraits of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline B. Kennedy hanging in the White House were painted by Aaron Shikler.
Fact 143: His father Joseph Patrick Kennedy was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 6 1888. He was the son of Mary Hickey and Patrick Joseph Kennedy, an important figure in the Irish community of Boston. Known as PJ, Patrick J. Kennedy had risen from common labourer to a highly successful businessman who helped set up two Boston financial institutions: the Columbia Trust Company and the Sumner Savings Bank. He had also entered politics and Joseph, his first child, was born during PJ’s third term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He also served in the Massachusetts Senate.
Fact 144: In Joseph Kennedy’s last years at Harvard as he started his career, he began to court Rose Fitzgerald the daughter of Boston Mayor John F. ‘Honey Fitz’ Fitzgerald. The couple were married on October 7 1914.
Fact 145: On December 19 1961 Joseph Kennedy suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body and left him barely able to communicate, although all his intellectual faculties remained intact. He lived another 8 years in this condition, thus living through the assassinations of his sons John and Robert. His health deteriorated from further strokes and heart attacks, until he died on November 18 1969, in his Hyannis Port Massachusetts home at the age of 81.
Fact 146: John F. Kennedy could not always attend the Senate as he was often critically ill and received Catholic last rites on a number of occasions as they thought he would not survive.
Fact 147: Although John F. Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline Bouvier remarried a number of years after Jack’s assassination, she was still buried next to him in Arlington National Cemetery when she died on May 23 1994.
Fact 148: It was Jacqueline Kennedy who wanted to place a permanent eternal flame near President Kennedy’s burial site in Arlington National Cemetery. And it was Mrs Kennedy who lit the flame herself with an oil soaked rag held on the end of a stick. She lit the flame at the end of the burial ceremony. The flame has only ‘gone out’ (accidentally) on a couple of occasions and it has always been re-lit immediately.
Fact 149: John F. Kennedy’s mother Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald was born in Boston’s North End on July 22 1890. She was the eldest child of John F. (Honey Fitz) Fitzgerald and Mary Josephine Hannon Fitzgerald. She was first introduced to politics as a child, when she was 5 her father was a congressman, and by the time she was 15 her father was one of the most popular mayors Boston had ever known. In her teens Rose became acquainted with Joseph P Kennedy. On October 7 1914 she married Kennedy in a modest ceremony in a small chapel at the residence of Cardinal O’Connell who officiated.
Fact 150: Rose Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s mother spoke several languages fluently and was an accomplished pianist. She played golf and enjoyed swimming on the beach near the family home on Cape Cod. She was a healthy person and often played golf on the Hyannis Port Country Club Golf course, playing nine holes even in the coldest weather. She suffered a stroke in 1984 which left her in a wheelchair. She died in her Hyannis Port home on January 22 1995 aged 104.
Fact 151: When John F. Kenney and his family left Brookline and moved to Riverdale New York in 1924, his father Joseph Kennedy was a multimillionaire. His money came from his dealings as a financier and investor in Wall Street.
Fact 152: In the late 1930’s Rose Kennedy’s husband was named US Ambassador to Britain and the family was invited to attend the coronation of Pius Xii in March 1939. They enjoyed a private audience with the new Pope.
Fact 153: In 1951 Rose Kennedy had the title of Papal Countess conferred on her by the Vatican in recognition of her many charitable works. She was only the sixth woman from the United States to have the title bestowed upon her by the Roman Catholic Church.
Fact 154: Following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, John F. Kennedy’s Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, created the Situation Room in May 1961 in the basement of the West Wing in the White House. It replaced President Truman’s bowling alley which Richard Nixon later rebuilt somewhere else in the White House.
Fact 155: Presidents’ Day is celebrated in America on the third Monday in February each year.
Fact 156: John F. Kennedy’s brother, Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22 1932. He was expelled from Harvard because he was caught cheating but was later reinstated. He joined the Army and served 2 years. He attended the University of Virginia Law School. He married Virginia Joan Bennet in 1958 and they had 3 children. Ted became Senator of Massachusetts in 1962. In 1969 he was involved in a car crash that killed his passenger Mary Jo Kopachne who was his campaign aid. He ran for president in 1980 but lost. He divorced in 1984 and went on to marry Victoria Reggie in 1992. Edward was the 4th longest continuously serving senator in America’s history. He was also the second most senior senate member. On August 25 2009 he died from brain cancer.
Fact 157: John F. Kennedy wore a size 10 D shoe size (as did President Gerald Ford), and was 6ft 1inch tall and weighed approximately 172lbs. James Madison was the shortest President at 5ft 4inch and also the lightest at 100lbs. President Abraham Lincoln had the largest feet and wore a size 14 shoe. President Rutherford B. Hayes had the smallest feet recorded and wore a size 7 shoe. President Kennedy liked smart shoes and owned more than 35 pairs.
Fact 158: John F. Kennedy was obsessed with his weight and always travelled with his own bathroom scales.
Fact 159: Since 1850 the shoe company Johnston & Murphy, founded by William Dudley, have created custom-made shoes for the Presidents of the United States. Originally based in Newark, New Jersey the company is now in Nashville Tennessee. President F. Kennedy’s shoes for his inauguration were also made by Johnston & Murphy, and were a brogue type black shoe with laces.
Fact 160: Jack F. Kennedy’s zodiac sign was Gemini – the sign of the twins.
Fact 161: When Jack F. Kennedy graduated from Choate in 1935 he didn’t finish 1st, he didn’t finish 2nd – there was a total of 112 students in the class and he finished in 64th place. He had been the yearbook business manager for the school and was voted ‘the student most likely to succeed’ – but he wasn’t the brightest student in the class.
Fact 162: The pink suit that Mrs Kennedy wore on the day her husband President Kennedy was shot and killed, had become blood stained from her husband’s blood while she sat next to him in the presidential limousine. That same pink suit, covered in blood, is stored in the American National Archives. According to a deed made by her sole surviving heir, her daughter Caroline, it will not be seen again until 2103, if then.
Fact 163: John F. Kennedy wrote his first book “Why England Slept” in 1939 and, when it was published in 1940 it became a bestseller. He had a real talent for using and saying the right words at the right time. In 1945 he spent a few months as a newspaper journalist for William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers covering the United Nations conference in San Francisco and the aftermath of World War II in Europe.
Fact 164: President Kennedy wanted an American to be the first man into space and in his first months as President he famously challenged the country to land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960’s. “…I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth…”.
Fact 165: John F. Kennedy supported racial integration and civil rights. During his first year in office, President Kennedy appointed many black people to office, including the appointment of Civil Rights Attorney Thurgood Marshall to the federal bench.
Fact 166: President Kennedy’s domestic program was called the ‘New Frontier’. It promised funding for areas such as education, economic aid to rural regions, medical care for the elderly, and help to stop the recession. He also promised an end to racial discrimination.
Fact 167: President Kennedy asked Congress to create the Peace Corps. It’s first director was his brother in law Sargent Shriver. Americans could volunteer to help different countries develop in various areas such as construction, farming, health care, education, and many others. It had 5,000 members by March 1963, which had grown to 10,000 the year after. Since then the Peace Corps now has over 200,000 members representing over 100 countries around the world.
Fact 168: The Kennedy family were very wealthy and John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign was a family affair, almost totally funded by his father, with his brother Robert acting as his campaign manager.
Fact 169: When Robert F. Kennedy announced he was standing as the democratic presidential nomination, some questioned his age and experience and many Americans had concerns about him being a Roman Catholic. Kennedy’s passion for words and his sincerity played a huge part in allaying the worries and concerns of these people when he insisted that he would always separate church and state.
Fact 170: Robert F. Kennedy’s Roman Catholic religion helped him win a dedicated following among many Catholic voters.
Fact 171: President Kennedy was informed of the Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. On October 25 1962 two superpowers reached an agreement to ban the testing of nuclear bombs in air, space and water – but not underground. Kennedy went on television to tell Americans about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (limited) which was signed in August 1963.
Fact 172: The driver of President Kennedy’s limousine on the day he was shot was Secret Service Agent William Greer from County Tyrone, Ireland. He had joined the Navy, and later the Secret Service, and had worked as a driver for Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. Greer was criticized for slowing down rather than accelerating when the first bullet hit as the secret service manual advised.
Fact 173: John F. Kennedy’s sister Rose Marie Kennedy born on 13 September 1918, and was the eldest daughter of the family. She had a low IQ and suffered from severe learning disabilities. When she grew older she had violent tantrums, and so her father decided she needed to have a frontal lobotomy at the age of 23. That, unfortunately, left her unable to speak or walk and diminished her capacity. Her parents feared that their daughter’s mental state would reflect badly on the family’s image of perfection, and she was placed in an institution in Jefferson Wisconsin. She died on January 7 2005 at age 86 – of natural causes. It later came out that all she had needed was psychological therapy. The procedure left her completely disabled and she was kept hidden away from the public eye. Her story didn’t become public knowledge until over forty years later.
Fact 174: The U.S. Secret Service traditionally uses code names for all U.S. Presidents and their families. Each presidential family is given a letter which their code name begins with – the Kennedy’s family’s letter was L. John F. Kennedy’s secret service code name was ‘Lancer’, his wife’s was ‘Lace, their son John Jr’s was ‘Lark’ and their daughter Caroline’s was ‘Lyric’.
Fact 175: POTUS stands for – President Of The United States.
Fact 176: On November 24 1963, just 2 days after President Kennedy was assassinated, nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was the man accused of killing President Kennedy. The shooting was aired live on television, as Oswald was being transferred from the Police Headquarters to the county jail.
Fact 177: President Kennedy was pronounced dead at Dallas Parkland Hospital. He had been shot while travelling in an open top limousine, part of the presidential motorcade, as it passed the Texas School Book Depository Building in Dallas at approximately 12.30pm CST.
Fact 178: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was travelling in the motorcade three cars behind Kennedy, was sworn in as the 36th U.S. President at 2.39pm, taking the oath of office aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field Airport. His wife, Lady Bird Johnson and Mrs Kennedy were at his side. It was noticeable that Mrs Kennedy was still dressed in the pink suit she had worn during the drive and the blood of her husband could clearly be seen on it. She had washed the blood off her face which she later regretted doing.
Fact 179: Johnson, on November 29 1963, in order to investigate the death of President Kennedy, established the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. The Commission was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren who had been appointed to the Supreme Court in 1953. The Warren Commission, as it became known, was presented to Johnson on September 24 1964, almost a year after the assassination had taken place. The 888 page report concluded that the bullets (3 shots were fired) that killed Kennedy, and injured John Connally, were fired by Oswald from a rifle pointed out of a sixth floor window in the Texas School Book Depository Building in Dealey Plaza, Dallas. The Warren Report was made public 3 days later and it proved very controversial, as it was felt it did not answer all the questions surrounding the assassination.
Fact 180: Lee Harvey Oswald was a former U.S. Marine who defected to the Soviet Union. There has always been conspiracy theories and accusations of a cover up about the assassination, and of Oswald being used as a scapegoat because he ‘fit’ the picture. But the Warren Commission, and the house elect Committee on Assassinations, decided that Oswald was solely responsible and that he acted alone. Unfortunately he could not be brought to trial because he was killed by Jack Ruby, which itself was a move some feel was also part of the cover up. No-one knows to this day the actual reason why Oswald killed the President.
Fact 181: John F. Kennedy’s favourite colour was blue. He had more blue ties than any other color, and he liked all different shades of blue.
Fact 182: Some of his favourite foods included lamb chops, steak, baked chicken, and mashed potato. He also liked different seafoods and baked beans. He had quite a small appetite and often he had to be reminded that it was time to eat as he lost track of meal times.
Fact 183: President Kennedy’s assassination was on Elm Street, Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. In the limousine at the time he was killed were the president, his wife Jacqueline, and Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife Nellie.
Fact 184: Jackie Kennedy refused to take the blood stained suit she had worn on the day of the assassination of her husband off. She said her only regret was that she had washed the blood off her face before Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in.
Fact 185: Mrs Kennedy had always been convinced that Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in the plot to assassinate her husband as she believed he coveted the role for himself.
Fact 186: Jackie Kennedy and her children remained in the white house for two weeks after the assassination. Following the funeral Mrs Kennedy and the two children moved to Washington and withdrew as much as possible from public life.
Fact 187: On the day that John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier got married, September 12 1953, she wore a wedding dress that had been made by an African-American fashion designer Ann Lowe, who never received credit for it during her lifetime.
Fact 188: President Kennedy’s funeral was on November 25 1963. Approximately one million people lined the route of the funeral procession from The Capital back to the White House, then onto St Matthews Cathedral, Before ending in Arlington National Cemetery. Millions more watched the funeral on television.
Fact 189: John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier were married at St Mary’s Church Newport, Rhode Island.
Fact 190: Jacqueline spent her last years quietly in the company of her family. She died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, at her home in New York city in 1994, at the age of 64.
Fact 191: The funeral of President John F. Kennedy was the largest gathering of foreign dignitaries of any funeral in the United States.
Fact 192: John F. Kennedy liked to wear single breasted jackets with flapped jacket pockets. They often had four buttons on each cuff and many of his jackets and suits were provided by Brook Brothers. He wore dark blue or grey suits mainly, sometimes with a pinstripe. He didn’t like pleats or turn ups on his trousers.
Fact 193: One of John F. Kennedy’s favourite hobbies was sailing and he won, in the Star class, the 1936 Nantucket Sound Star Championship.
Fact 194: John F. Kennedy was the last American President to wear a top hat on his inauguration day. He didn’t like wearing hats but wanted to maintain the tradition that James Garfield had started in 1881 on his inauguration day.
Fact 195: Caroline Bouvier Kennedy born on November 27 1957 in New York City, is an American author, attorney and diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017. She is the only surviving child of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. On January 18 2017, just before Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, she resigned her post as Ambassador to Japan.
Fact 196: When the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy left for Dallas in November 1963, plans had already begun for the Kennedy family Christmas. President John F. Kennedy had found his wife “the perfect gift” – a fur coverlet. He had also learned French and intended to surprise her with it on Christmas Day. The President and First Lady had already chosen the presidential Christmas Cards and signed a small amount, about 30 of them, as they intended to finish the job on their return from Dallas.
Fact 197: James F. Kennedy was the first American President who was a Boy Scout.
Fact 198: The Bay of Pigs invasion that John F. Kennedy authorised, took place on the south western coast of Cuba in April 1961. It was a complete failure because Fidel Castro, a Cuban revolutionist who had trained as a lawyer, knew about the invasion beforehand and was prepared for it. Cuban exiles, trained in America, opposed Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution and more than a thousand of them stormed the Bay of Pigs beaches intending to start an uprising that would overthrow the Fidel Castro Government. But they were outnumbered by Castro’s troops and defeated. The Bay of Pigs fiasco was an embarrassment for President Kennedy.
Fact 199: John F. Kennedy was an incredibly fast reader dubbed a ‘speed reader’. He could read 4 times faster than the average reader at a speed of over 1,000 words per minute. Try it yourself to find out whether you are a ‘speed reader’.
Fact 200: President John F. Kennedy put together a team of young White House and National Security Council advisors when he came into office. He called these “the best and the brightest”. These included his National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, who was the Dean of Harvard University, the job of Secretary of Defense he gave to Robert S. McNamara the President of the Ford Motor Company, Dean Rusk was Secretary of State, and Allen W. Dulles continued his role as the Director of the CIA. His brother Robert Kennedy was his Attorney General, and Walt Rostow, Ted Sorensen, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. were his trusted aides.
Fact 201: Thousands of documents relating to the investigation into John F. Kennedy’s assassination were made public in 2017. On April 26 2018 further documents were released but, as it was felt that some of these documents may breach national security, some were withheld by President Donald Trump. This increased the beliefs of many that a conspiracy and cover up had occurred surrounding his death. Many revelations have come to light from these documents and you can read them online – they make fascinating reading.
President Kennedy’s death and its aftermath caused enormous sadness and grief among Americans and the rest of the world. Many people still remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington for the President’s funeral and millions throughout the world watched it on television. There has always been talk of conspiracy theories about his assassination, even his wife Jacqueline Kennedy believed his assassination had been planned.
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