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JFK. Recollections of a Political Observer

by Charlie Collie 11/20/13

The famous line in his Inauguration Speech, “Ask not…” was paraphrased and borrowed from the Choate School which he attended in Connecticut.

John F. Kennedy, born May 29, 1917 at 83 Beals Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.
Born into a political family, elected to Congress at the young age of 29, he served three terms in the House of Representatives, and two terms in the Senate before becoming the 35th President of the United States.  In the 1960 election, the votes from Illinois and Texas were questionable. If Richard Nixon won in those states, he would have defeated JFK by two votes in the Electoral College.  JFK and Nixon were actually good friends after work hours. In Nixon’s 1957 Congressional race in California, JFK donated $1000 to Nixon’s campaign to help defeat Helen Gahagan Douglas.

The famous line in his Inauguration Speech, “Ask not…” was paraphrased and borrowed from the Choate School which he attended in Connecticut.  Most of JFK’s inspiring speeches were written by aide Theodore “Ted” Sorenson, and then carefully edited by the President. This was also true during the campaign, and what a speech maker he was. JFK could speak 350 words per minute which made him the fastest random word speaker in the world even to this day. He reportedly could also read 1200 words per minute.

Other little known facts about Massachusetts son, John F. Kennedy:

Once was a roommate of actor Robert Stack in Hollywood.

Donated his entire salary as President, $100,000 at the time plus his expenses, $50,000, to charity.

Youngest candidate to be elected President of the United States at age 43.
Both President Lincoln and President Kennedy were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson, Andrew Johnson was born in 1808; Lyndon Johnson was born in 1908.
Only U.S. President to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for his book, Profiles in Courage.
If it had become known how ill he was, he may not have become President of the United States. (POTUS).

The White Hybrid Tea Rose is named after John F. Kennedy.

JFK had Addison’s disease which is a failure to produce particular hormones and leads to weight loss.  While at Harvard, JFK was ordered by his doctor to eat more pasta and drink more milk to gain weight.

According to author Robert Dallek, JFK almost died twice before becoming President,
As a PT Boat commander during World War II when his boat was hit by a Japanese Destroyer and after he developed an infection in his back following back surgery.

Only U.S. President to be awarded a Purple Heart.

Installed a taping system in the White House to help him write his memoirs.

In May of 1961, during the Space Race with the Soviet Union, declared that the United States would land a man on the moon by 1970. Moon landing achieved July 20, 1969.
To the consternation of Jackie Kennedy, JFK’s high school best friend Lem Billings, practically lived in the White House with the Kennedys.

The Berlin Wall.

JFK speech at the Berlin wall on June 26, 1963:


In 1961, the Soviet Union built a wall between East and West Berlin to divide the city and prevent anyone from escaping to freedom in the west. JFK gave a famous speech at the Berlin Wall which was torn down in 1989. The famous line from the speech, “Ich bin ein Berliner, translates in the Berlin city limits to: “I am a Jelly Donut.” The entire line JFK spoke that day was: “All free men, where ever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore as a free man, I take pride in the words, 'Ich bin ein Berliner.'”

The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962.

After the Soviet Union secretly had missle installations built on the island of Cuba, JFK ordered an embargo of all goods made in Cuba. This created a stand-off between the the United State Navy and the Russian Navy in late October 1962. Defcon 2, “Imminent War” was declared by the United States military.

JFK solved the Cuban Missile Crisis by back-channel communications with Russian leaders, one of the participants in the negotiations was a network reporter. After the crisis ended, it was revealed that the Soviet Union submarines off of Cuba were carrying nuclear torpedoes and were prepared to use them.

Dallas, November, 1963.

President Kennedy’s visit to Dallas in November of 1963 was partly to help solve a political squabble between two Texas politicians. He was warned not to make the trip.

Two of the four shots fired at President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 were within ½ second of each other, too close to be fired by one man.
“All truth passes through three stages, First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; And, Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” -- Arthur Schopenhauer 1788-1860.


Posted in Politics, Comments.

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Comments (2)

Charlie, Very interesting article. I particularly liked that "truth passes though three stages." It is self evident that this article makes a difference in your life. Best regards, Dr. James
- Dr. James A. Eidelman | 12/19/13 9:08 AM
Charlie Very interesting article. I did not know some of the facts, which made it more enjoyable to read about a President I admired. Thank you
- mary patch | 11/21/13 8:15 AM
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