New details are emerging about JFK’s death — here’s his life story

source
REUTERS/Robert Knudsen/The White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

John F. Kennedy was only president for 1,036 days – but his legacy has lived on for generations.

Born into one of America’s wealthiest families, educated at the finest schools, and branded a war hero and philanthropist, JFK is consistently ranked as one of America’s most popular presidents.

New reports suggest Kennedy’s chronic back problems may have aided his assassin 54 years ago today.

Here’s a look at the incredible life of JFK.


John F. Kennedy was born to a wealthy Irish Catholic family on May 29, 1917. He was the second oldest of nine Kennedy children.

source
Getty/ Keystone / Stringer

Source: Biography.com


Despite his father’s constant encouragement, JFK wasn’t much of a student and preferred to play football or flirt with girls.

Source: Biography.com


Kennedy, in spite of his lack of effort, was extremely smart. He excelled at Harvard when he applied himself. His senior thesis was so well done it was published as a book in 1940 and sold more than 80,000 copies.

Source: Biography.com


“Jack” was plagued by lifelong health problems and received last rites three times before he became president. In fact, JFK was so sickly he failed the physical examination to enter the Army and was only admitted thanks to his father’s contacts.

Source: The Atlantic


While serving on the PT-109, JFK’s boat was attacked by the Japanese. Despite a severe back injury, Kennedy dragged another sailor to safety and led all other survivors to a nearby island.

source
National Archives

Source: Biography.com


He was awarded the Navy and Marine corps Medal for “extremely heroic conduct” and a Purple Heart for his valor and injuries.

source
Photo Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Source: Biography.com


Joseph Kennedy Jr, JFK’s brother who hoped to one day become president, wasn’t so lucky. After he was killed in the war, JFK decided to abandon his job at Hearst newspapers and follow in his older brothers footsteps.

Source: Biography.com


He hired his little brother, Robert, as his campaign manager, and successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, Congress and eventually the Senate.

source
Getty/ Three Lions

Source: Biography.com


Kennedy never took his congressional or later his presidential salary. He instead donated his salaries to charity and lived off the trusts his father set up for him.

source
Keystone/Getty Images

Source: Biography.com


Jacqueline Bouvier was working as the “Inquiring Camera Girl” for the Washington Times-Herald newspaper when she met JFK.

source
Getty

Source: JFKLibrary.org


At a dinner party JFK reportedly “leaned across the asparagus and asked her for a date.” The couple were married soon thereafter in Newport, Rhode Island.

source
Keystone/Getty Images

Source: Biography.com, JFKLibrary.com


Early on in their marriage, while recovering from a surgery, Jackie encouraged her new husband to write a book about US senators who had risked their careers for their beliefs. JFK won a Pulitzer Prize for the biography entitled “Profiles in Courage” in 1957.

source
National Archives

Source: JFKLibrary.com


The next few years were extremely eventful for JFK. His children, Caroline and John Jr., were born and in January 1960 Kennedy announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

source
John F Kennedy Library

Source: JFKLibrary.org


Kennedy won over the hearts of the American people in televised national debates. After defeating his opponent, Richard Nixon, he become the first Catholic president, the first president born in the 20th century and second youngest American president ever.

Source: Biography.com


During his brief tenure as president, JFK managed to leave a lasting impression on American policy. Kennedy walked the US back from the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, eased Cold War tensions, propelled the civil-rights bill he hoped would end racial segregation forward, and started the Peace Corps organization.

source
National Archive

Source: The Atlantic


The Kennedy family quickly became a national treasure. Photos of John Jr. hiding under his father’s desk in the Oval…

source
Stringer/ Getty

Source: Harpers Bazaar


… Caroline astride her pony “Macaroni”…

source
JFK Presidential Library and Museum

Source: Presidential Pet Museum


… and the always elegant Jackie, captivated America.

source
Kennedy Library Archives/ Getty

Source: The New York Times


On November 22, 1963, JFK and Jackie were traveling in a motorcade in downtown Dallas when the president was shot in the neck and head. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

source
Public Domain / wikimedia

Source: History.com


Why is America still so fascinated by the Kennedy years? For one, historians have speculated that America would be a very different place today had Kennedy survived.

Source: Salon


The romanticized memory of a handsome young president’s “interrupted promise” and the glamorous life he left behind has captivated Americans for years.

source
Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Source: ABC News


Additionally, the obscure facts surrounding JFK’s assassination have ignited fascinating conspiracy theories that include CIA coverups, mafia hit jobs and a covert Soviet attack.

source
John F Kennedy Presidential library

Source: Business Insider


New reports suggest the tightly laced back brace Kennedy wore for his chronic back pain may have prevented the president from recoiling from his assassin’s lethal shots in Dallas 54 years ago.

Source: CNN