Life and Times of JFK

Life and Times of JFK

News Staff

Nov. 22, 2013, marked the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Learn more about the 35th president of the United States, the charismatic JFK.

John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. He was the youngest person elected president.

In 1960, Kennedy captured the Democratic presidential nomination and went on to defeat Richard Nixon in a close election. Before becoming the nation’s 35th president, Kennedy served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

At age 43, Kennedy was sworn in as president, becoming the youngest elected president and the first Catholic president. He delivered his inaugural speech on Jan. 20, 1961, calling Americans for more active citizenship. “Ask not what your country can do for you,” he said. “Ask what you can do for your country.”

In 1961, President Kennedy created the Peace Corps by executive order, an organization that is now responsible for sending thousands of American volunteers around the world to help the needy. In this file photo, Kennedy gives a personal farewell message to 80 Peace Corps volunteers in the White House Rose Garden on Aug. 28, 1961, before their departure the following day for assignments in Africa.

President John F. Kennedy, right, confers with his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, at the White House on Oct. 1, 1962, during the buildup of military tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that became Cuban missile crisis later that month.

President Kennedy speaks before a crowd of 35,000 people on the nation’s space effort at Rice University in Houston, on Sept. 12, 1962. Kennedy discussed the necessity for the U.S. to become an international leader in space exploration: “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

President Kennedy reports to the nation on the status of the Cuban crisis from Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2, 1962. He told radio and television listeners that Soviet missile bases “are being destroyed” and that U.S. air surveillance would continue until effective international inspection is arranged. U.S. government conclusions about the missile bases, he said, are based on aerial photographs made Nov. 1, 1962.

Sen. John Kennedy, D-Mass., then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, gestures as he addresses the American Society of Newspaper Editors convent in Washington, D.C., April 21, 1960.

President Kennedy speaks at the dedication of Greer’s Ferry Dam near Heber Springs, Ark., in this Oct. 3, 1963 file photo, one of his last public appearances before being assisinated on Nov. 22, that year in Dallas.

Kennedy gives a speech on June 23, 1963, upon his arrival in Cologne, West Germany. Three days later, President Kennedy delivered one of his most famous speeches, saying, “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner).

Kennedy stands as he speaks at the ceremony setting up a West German peace corps while West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer sits behind him with folded arms. U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, standing, hands folded, and German Foreign Minister Gerhard Schroder, next to Rusk, listen as the president told a group in the presidential palace in Bonn, June 24, 1963, that he hoped its members would be joined by people from dozens of other free countries.

Kennedy pauses during a speech to crowd in City Lake of Bonn, Germany, as the West German chancellor applauds on June 23, 1963, the first day of his 10-day European tour.

Kennedy with mayor of West Berlin Willy Brandt on June 27, 1963, in Berlin, Germany. During his visit, Kennedy spoke to an enormous crowd at Schoneberger Rathaus in the Rudolph Wilde Platz on June 26. Kennedy’s stirring words on freedom excited the crowd: “All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.'”

Kennedy is greeted on his arrival in a steadily falling rain at Charleston, W. Va., June 20, 1963. The president spoke at Statehood Day ceremonies at the West Virginia capitol, honoring the state’s 100th anniversary of admission to the union.

A view of the flower-bedecked grave of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery, as mourners pass by, Arlington, Va., Nov. 27, 1963.

Kennedy’s flag-draped casket lies in state in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Nov. 23, 1963.

Kennedy leads daughter Caroline by the hand as he descends the White House portico steps, followed by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy with John Jr., Nov. 13, 1963. The occasion was a Black Watch regiment exhibition on the White House South Lawn.

Kennedy starts out on a quickie auto tour of the missile base at Cape Canaveral, Fla., Nov. 16, 1963. Accompanying him are James E. Webb, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, center, and Maj. Gen. Leighton I. Davis, commander of the Air Force Missile Test Center, right.

Kennedy poses in his White House office with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Shoup, left, and Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Adm. George Anderson, Oct. 29, 1962. The chiefs met with the president to review the present situation in Cuba and operation of the U.S. naval blockade.

Kennedy signs the proclamation to establish a naval arms blockade around Cuba. He signed the order at his desk in the White House at 5 p.m. EDT, on Oct. 23, 1962.

Kennedy reports to the nation on the status of the Cuban crisis from Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2, 1962. He told radio and television listeners that Soviet missile bases “are being destroyed” and that U.S. air surveillance would continue until effective international inspection is arranged. U.S. government conclusions about the missile bases, he said, are based on aerial photographs made Nov. 1.

Kennedy opens a Washington news conference on Sept. 13, 1962, with a lengthy statement on the Cuban situation. The president declared the United States will be “alert and fully capable” to deal with any offensive threat from Soviet-backed Cuba against the United States or any country in this hemisphere.

Kennedy looks into the sky as a flight of planes from the air craft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise maneuvers in demonstration off the Carolina coast on April 14, 1962.

President John Kennedy walked to the barrier, holding back crowd after his arrival at Detroitís Metropolitan airport Oct. 5, 1962 and received this enthusiastic reception when everyone tried to shake his hand. Gov. John B. Swainson is at right. (AP Photo)

President John F. Kennedy speaks at a formal dinner in the White House in Washington May 11, 1962 in honor of visiting French minister of culture Andre Malraux Seated at right is famed Aviator Charles A. Lindbergh. Looking up at President Kennedy is Mrs. Herve Alphand, wife of the French ambassador to the U.S.A.

A photo taken on May 4, 1961 in Washington shows US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy (R) and his Tunisian counterpart Habib Bourguiba during his first visit in United States.

Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy standing behind microphones with her husband, President John Kennedy, by her side addresses Venezuelans at La Morita, southwest of Caracas on Dec. 16, 1961, where her speech in Spanish drew the biggest cheers of the Kennedy’s first day in South America. Mrs. Kennedy spoke to the crowd after President Kennedy’s speech.

President-elect John F. Kennedy wore a broad smile as he appeared before newsmen after his election. The Massachusetts Senator spoke to newsmen at the National Guard Armory in Hyannis Nov. 9, 1960.

John F. Kennedy held first formal news conference two days after he narrowly defeated Richard Nixon to become the 35th president of the United States.

FILE – This Jan. 20, 1961 file photo shows President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy as they attend one of five inaugural balls in Washington. Kenneth Battelle, the hairdresser who gave both Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe their calling-card hairdos in the 1950s and ’60s, died at his home in Wappinger’s Falls, N.Y. on Sunday, May 12, 2013. He was 86. Battelle made a splash in the worlds of fashion, celebrity and socialites with his style of movement and shine, instead of the stiffer looks that had been popular with the previous generation. (AP Photo, file)

BERLIN, GERMANY – JUNE 27: American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy with mayor of West Berlin Willy Brandt on June 27, 1963 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)