Monday, May 29, is the birthday of John F. Kennedy, who was born 100 years ago in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the 35th president of the United States and the first Catholic to hold the office.
Because he died so young, because he was assassinated, because a nation felt deprived of a promising leader, a mystique about his presidency emerged. Since then, much of the Kennedy aura — likened to the legendary Camelot — has faded.
Historians have reassessed his time in office and taken a more critical view of his handling of crises such as the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, his decisions to build up the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam, and the role he really played in the civil rights movement.
Over time, information has emerged about how his fragile health affected his term as president, undercutting his image as a vigorous and youthful leader. Even so, his soaring oratory at his inauguration that invigorated a nation, and the inspirational speech in West Berlin that embraced a dispirited people live on and are among the greatest spoken words of American leaders.
To mark JFK’s centennial, 247 Wall St. compiled 100 facts about the president continues to infuse American politics with the legacy of his public service nearly 54 years after his death.