As Americans celebrate this Memorial Day, they also will remember the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy who was born 100 years ago this Monday.
While the 35th president left a mixed legacy following his assassination in Dallas in 1963, Kennedy remains nearly as popular today as he did during his time in office, and he arguably created the idea of a president’s “brand” that has become commonplace in American politics.
“President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy worked hard to construct a positive image of themselves, what I call the Kennedy brand,” Michael Hogan, author of ‘The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Biography.’ “And because history is as much about forgetting as remembering, they made every effort to filter out information at odds with that image.”
In commemoration of JFK’s 100th birthday, Fox News has compiled a rundown on the life of the 35th president:
- Born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts to Joseph “Joe” Kennedy and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald Kennedy
- In 1940, Kennedy graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts in government
- From 1941 to 1945, Kennedy commanded three patrol torpedo boats in South Pacific during World War II, including the PT-109 which was sunk by a Japanese destroyer
- In 1946, Kennedy was elected to Congress for Massachusetts' 11th congressional district and served three terms
- Elected to the U.S. Senate to represent Massachusetts in 1952
- Kennedy marries Jacqueline Bouvier, a writer with the Washington Times-Herald, in 1953
- Receives the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for his book “Profiles in Courage”
- Elected President of the United States in 1960, becoming the youngest person elected to the country’s highest office, and the first Roman Catholic president.
- He is credited with overseeing the creation and launch of the Peace Corps
- Sent 3,000 U.S. troops to support the desegregation of the University of Mississippi after riots there left two dead and many others injured
- Approved the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 intending to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro
- In 1962, Kennedy oversaw the Cuban Missile Crisis — seen as one of the most crucial periods of the U.S.’s Cold War with the Soviet Union
- Signed a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union in July 1963
- Asked Congress to approve more than $22 billion for Project Apollo with the goal of landing an American on the moon by the end of the 1960s
- Escalated involvement in the conflict in Vietnam and approved the overthrow of Vietnam's President Ngô Đình Diệm. By the time of the war's end in 1975, more than 58,000 U.S. troops were killed in the conflict
- Assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963