John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.
After Kennedy's military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during World War II in the South Pacific, his aspirations turned political, with the encouragement and grooming of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Kennedy represented the state of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat, and in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated then Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election, one of the closest in American history. To date, he is the only practicing Roman Catholic to be president. He was the second-youngest President (after Theodore Roosevelt), and the youngest elected to the office, at the age of 43. Kennedy is also the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Events during his administration include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African American Civil Rights Movement and early events of the Vietnam War.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime but was murdered two days later by Jack Ruby before he could be put on trial. The Warren Commission and the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald was the assassin, with the HSCA allowing for the probability of conspiracy. The event proved to be an important moment in U.S. history because of its impact on the nation and the ensuing political repercussions. Today, Kennedy continues to rank highly in public opinion ratings of former U.S. presidents.
Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.
October 26, 1963
For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal.
Speech at The American University, Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963
If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.
Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.
Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.
The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.
The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'
The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
John F. Kennedy
There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.
We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others.
When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we'd been saying they were.
The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.
Amherst College, Oct 26, 1963 - Source JFK Library, Boston, Mass.
...probably the greatest concentration of talent and genius in this house except for perhaps those times when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.
Describing a dinner for Nobel Prize winners, 1962
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
In a speech at the White House, 1962
And so, my fellow americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Inaugural address, January 20, 1961