The Real John F. Kennedy

JFKNU, July 5

“Searching for the Real John F. Kennedy (JFK, 1917–63),” Dialogue Given June 20, 2016, 10–11AM, Adshead, Uplands Village, Pleasant Hill, TN. 38578.

Betty: Our book review title is “Searching for the Real John F. Kennedy (JFK, 1917–63).” Why? Because JFK as U.S. President is wrapped in myth, legend, praised by admirers, put down by critics. Assassinated Nov. 22, 1963, age 46, frozen in time, yet continually re-examined as a key figure in history. What was the real JFK like?

Frank: To many people JFK was and is special: our youngest, most charismatic president. He established the Peace Corps (1961), proposed sending Americans to the moon and back, saved us from nuclear destruction. When? Oct. 16 to 28, 12 days in 1962. Why and how?

Betty: When USSR’s Khrushchev secretly built nuclear missile sites in Cuba able to pulverize the eastern United States, President JFK cautiously negotiated a way to have those missiles removed peacefully, saving the world from nuclear war. Ten months later he led a USA-USSR-Great Britain partial nuclear test ban treaty agreement, Aug. 5, 1963, a first step toward easing Cold War tensions.

Frank: When young U.S. President Kennedy was pushed by war hawks in the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff, and State Dept. toward a nuclear war, he said NO. Those war hawks, knowing JFK’s intention in his second term to “pulverize the CIA,” wipe them out — they had to get rid of JFK — permanently.

Betty: Little-known even now was a plan to assassinate JFK in Chicago, Nov. 2, 1963, but JFK, warned in time, canceled his Chicago trip.

Frank: Twenty days later in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, JFK was shockingly assassinated, and on each anniversary since he is fondly remembered. Betty saw JFK 56 years ago during his 1960 presidential campaign trip through Austin, Texas, where she worked for the American Friends Service Committee, and where Frank taught at the University of Texas.

Betty: Assassinated JFK instantly became a martyred legend, studied and re-studied to find what made him so memorable. Admirers’ answer in one word: HOPE. His soaring speeches, his charismatic personality, his uplifting vision spread hope for peace worldwide.

Frank: JFK’s assassination spread JFK myths and legends in thousands of JFK books, articles, and films. He is revered at over 1,200 worldwide JFK-named schools, institutes, streets, parks, squares, eternal flames, and other memorials.

Betty: We searched for the real JFK from his childhood through his school and college years to his last almost 21 years in U.S. government service: 4 years in the U.S. Navy (1941–45), plus 14 years in Congress: 6 years in the House of Representatives, 8 years in the Senate, 1953–60, plus U.S. President 1,037 days, just under 3 years.

Frank: Then, in Dallas, Texas, JFK shot dead, universal grief, little John John saluting his father’s casket.

Betty: What were JFK’s successes, failures, motives, sins, dreams? How do we explain this complex man?

Frank: JFK was shaped by his dictatorial father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., who pushed his 9 children to be first and best. Joe Sr., growing up in East Boston, Mass., fighting the then prevalent anti-Irish prejudice, skirted the law to become increasingly rich, powerful, and influential. Why? To rise, to become U.S. President himself. When that failed, his drive was to see his first-born son, Joe Jr., become president. When Joe Jr. died in World War 2, Joe Kennedy determined to win the presidency for second son JFK.

Betty: Sickly JFK, boy and man, five times given last Catholic rites for the dying, hid his pain behind good looks and charm. Little JFK admired, looked up to, yet competed with first-born Joe Jr., much favored, molded by Joe Sr. as future president.

Frank: Joe Jr., died Aug. 12, 1944, piloting a dynamite-loaded plane, which exploded targeting a Nazi buzz-bomb launch site in Nazi-occupied France. Then Joe Kennedy thrust the presidential quest onto sickly, carefree JFK.

Betty: President Kennedy faced big crises in his short presidency: First, the April 1961 failed Bay of Pigs, Cuba, invasion. The invasion, led by CIA-trained Cuban anti-Castro dissidents who had fled to Florida, was planned under Pres. Eisenhower. Military and CIA experts assured Kennedy the invasion would succeed.

Frank: When it failed, Pres. Kennedy, horrified, began to see his military-minded advisors as determined war hawks. He took full blame, privately realizing too late that his CIA and Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff had set him up. They deliberately told new Pres. Kennedy that the invaders would succeed; that Pres. Kennedy as Commander in Chief should order U.S. bomber support so that Cuba could be retaken. What these war hawk advisors did not tell JFK was: 1-we set the invasion up to fail; 2-so that Russia would retaliate; 3-so that the USA, now more powerful can obliterate Russian communism forever. Pres. JFK knew he faced a possible horrendous nuclear World War 3.

Betty: At home, the civil rights movement burst upon the national scene with sit-ins, Freedom Riders, protest marches, bloody clashes between black protesters and the police. JFK was slow to help oppressed blacks. Why?

Frank: Because JFK’s 1960 presidential win was the slimmest in U.S. history. He barely won, even with father Joe, Sr.’s buying votes for him in Chicago and West Va. JFK needed conservative Southern votes to win his intended 1964 reelection. His other first term problems besides Civil Right protesters were: 1-a rising jobless rate which had to be solved, and 2-awesome USA-USSR Cold War clashes. Those problems made him cautious about alienating southern white segregationists.

Betty: Two events led President JFK to aid protesting African Americans and won him black votes. First: Martin Luther King, Jr., jailed in a remote Georgia prison, was likely to be beaten to death. JFK phoned King’s wife Coretta to say that Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, JFK’s brother, had influenced Georgia authorities to free King.

Frank: Second event that prompted JFK to aid black Americans was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s galvanizing August 28, 1963, March on Washington “I have a Dream” speech which impressed a near tearful Pres. JFK.

Betty: JFK’s civil rights bill, introduced June 11, 1963, the strongest such bill in U.S. history, was blocked in Congress, awaiting burial by die-hard Southern conservatives. It was not passed until JFK’s successor, President Lyndon Johnson (1908–73), a masterful congressional manipulator, pushed it through Congress with other JFK-initiated legislative proposals. How did Pres. Johnson do it? By appealing to Congress and the public’s great sorrow for the assassinated JFK.

Frank: USA-USSR Cold War competition, a clash of ideologies, involved the drive to be first in space. Russia’s Sputnik went up first, but JFK proposed sending men to the moon and returning them safely.

Betty Another Cold War problem was how to stop USSR from communizing colonial people who were seeking independence from their European masters. Communism was making serious inroads in colonial countries whose leaders sought independence in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam.

Frank: JFK’s most crucial Cold War problems were: 1-the Russian-built Berlin Wall, August 13, 1961, to keep Communist-controlled East Germans from escaping into the free West. And, 2-before mentioned October 1962 Russian-built missile sites in Cuba capable of wiping out the eastern USA.

Betty: Interruption, Frank; a question: many will wonder how we amateurs have gathered information about John F. Kennedy?

Frank: Our last year’s book review titled “The Tumultuous 1960s…,” told of Pres. JFK’s challenges: minority protests for equal rights at home plus abroad USA-USSR Cold War crises in Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam.

Betty: Earlier we explored JFK in our 2009 review titled: “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” We learned much about JFK, knew that JFK’s prime shaper was his father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., knew that another negative key influence was JFK’s mother, Rose Kennedy (1890–1995, died age 105), who, having to live with open womanizer Joe, Sr., was often away from home, often neglecting bedridden JFK and the other children.

Frank: That sickly schoolboy JFK missed motherly care. At Choate School, Wallingford, CT, JFK reportedly said to his roommate: my mother is a nothing, recalling when from Choate School infirmary sick bed he had admonished his mother, about to depart on a trip, with something like: Fine mother you are, always leaving us when we need you.

Betty: Another key factor shaping JFK was his lifelong poor health, hidden from the public for political reasons. Ailments complicated his political career, led him to seek quack treatments and to ease excruciating pain with sexual excesses.

Frank: Still another powerful shaping factor was JFK’s guilt feeling that his older brother Joe Jr. might have volunteered for his fatal secret mission to outdo JFK’s earlier much over publicized PT Boat 109 heroism. Joe Jr. and younger JFK always tried to best each other.

Betty: JFK’s last shaping factor came from within, ennobled him for all time. It was the heart and soul of the real JFK — what was it?

Frank: Betty, John Kennedy grew in understanding. He changed from a moderate anti-communist member of the U.S. House, then the U.S. Senate to a peace-seeking U.S. President. To save the world from nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban missile crisis and other Soviet encounters, JFK did the unexpected. He secretly went over the heads of his own diplomats, CIA, and Pentagon advisors. He sent secret messages by trusted intermediaries to and received replies from USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev.

Betty: He did it after seeing aerial photographs of Russian nuclear missile sites being built in Cuba, 90 miles from Florida.

Frank: He did it when his military advisors urged, insisted that as Commander in Chief he approve bombing the missile sites in Cuba. JFK, certain that the Russian would retaliate, decided firmly, NO. We must not destroy humanity and our planet with nuclear war.

Betty: JFK first thought of an embargo, stopping all Soviet ships to Cuba. But an embargo is an act of war. He chose instead a less aggressive, softer solution, a quarantine by USA warships to stop and search any USSR ship headed toward Cuba believed to be carrying missiles.

Frank: Luckily, the quarantine gave Khrushchev time to receive and ponder JFK’s sincerity about a solution fair to both sides: JFK to pledge in a public speech not to invade Cuba. Khrushchev to remove the Cuba missiles aimed at the USA. Later, quietly the U.S. would remove USA missiles in Turkey aimed at the USSR.

Betty: Tell me, Frank, did JFK’s resentful military, CIA, State Department hard-liners actually scheme to eliminate JFK?

Frank: Many historians believe so. JFK knew that undercover CIA agents were involved in cover-up killing of believed pro-Communist, independence-seeking leaders like Congo’s Pres. Patrice Lumumba and others. Knowing that highly placed U.S. agents had secretly killed before, JFK sensed that by opposing his war hawks he might be targeted. Many historians believe that it was JFK’s peacemaking efforts that led to his assassination.

Frank: Now, before we shift to key JFK biographical events, we mention the six best books we used: by author, title, date, significance.

Betty: 1. Robert F. Dallek, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963. NY: Little, Brown and Co., 2003, which critics cite as the best one volume book on JFK.

Frank: 2. James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unthinkable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008, whose author is Catholic peace disciple of peace-seeking monastic writer, Trappist monk Thomas Merton (1915–68), Gethsemani, Ky.

Betty: 3. Seymour M. Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1997, respected investigative journalist who uncovered JFK’s many sins.

Frank: 4. James W. Hilty, Robert Kennedy; Brother Protector. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997, how Bobby as U.S. Attorney General and JFK reinforced each other and worked well together.

Betty: 5. Gareth Jenkins, John F. Kennedy Handbook. NY: St. Martin’s Press, March 1, 2006, rich in JFK photos at practically every age.

Frank: 6. Larry J. Sabato, The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy. NY: Bloomsbury, 2013, especially good on how JFK’s 9 succeeding U.S. presidents of both parties quoted JFK to support their various different political approaches.

Frank: NOW to JFK’s biographical highlights by Date and Event.

Betty: (May 29, 1917): JFK born and lived first 10 years in Brookline section of Boston, Mass. Kennedys then made upward moves to more exclusive Bronxville, New York City, 3 years; moved again to Riverdale, N.Y. JFK attended the best nearby private schools.

Frank: Growing up during the 1930s Great Depression, JFK knew little about it, read about it later in college. With his father Joe often away in Hollywood making films and money, and his mother regularly in Europe or elsewhere, servants cared for the children, with Joe, Jr., at meal-time sitting at the head of the table.

Betty: (Sept. 1931–35): JFK attended 9th through 12th grades at Choate School, famous then and since for educating many prominent Americans. Older brother Joe Jr., already at Choate, was outstanding in academics and sports.

Frank: JFK was a mediocre student, but a rapid reader of history and political biographies. He was mischievous, led rowdy friends who exploded a firecracker that broke a toilet seat. The headmaster in chapel held up the broken toilet seat and denounced the perpetrators.

Betty: To save JFK from expulsion, Joe Sr. visited Headmaster George St. John (1859–1947), who told Joe Sr.: Young JFK’s chief gift is making friends, adding: “When he flashes his smile, he could charm a bird off a tree,” an early insight into JFK’s winsome personality and later rare charisma.

Frank: JFK’s later speeches contained striking insights from Choate Headmaster George St. John’s powerful chapel messages. Example: Headmaster St. John: “Ask not what Choate can do for you, ask what you can do for Choate,” used by JFK in his Presidential Inaugural as: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for [your country.”

Betty: (1934): JFK, often ill at Choate, was sent to Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., diagnosed with colitis, another lifelong problem.

Frank: (1935): JFK, a 1935 Choate graduate, age 18, ranked 64th in a class of 112. Later that year JFK took his first trip abroad with his parents. He intended studying at London School of Economics as Joe, Jr. had done. But illness forced JFK’s return home.

Betty: (Fall 1936–1940): JFK attended Harvard College, ages 19–23, from which his father and Joe Jr. had graduated. Joe Sr., then U.S. ambassador to England (1938 to 40), during Harvard holidays and other breaks, sent Joe, Jr. and JFK as investigating aides to U.S. Embassies in Europe, where they learned much about Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Stalin’s USSR, Franco’s Spain.

Frank: Having gathered much inside information about pre-World War 2 Europe, JFK wrote his Harvard senior thesis on “Appeasement at Munich,” about why Britain was unprepared for World War 2. Joe Sr. paid New York Times journalist Arthur Krock to rewrite the thesis, published as Why England Slept. Through Krock’s influence it became a New York Times best seller.

Betty: (1941–42): Joe Jr. enlisted early as a Navy flyer. The Army twice rejected JFK because of his health. Father Joe, Sr. maneuvered JFK into U.S. Naval officer training through high Navy officials bypassing a physical exam.

Frank: (1942–44): When JFK’s PT Boat 109 was cut in half by a speeding Japanese destroyer on a dark night in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific, JFK saved the lives of his 11 crew members. He suffered a lower back injury, which plagued him the rest of his life. Joe Sr. had major U.S. magazine publish articles about JFK’s heroism. Older brother Joe Jr.’s death, some months later, Aug. 12, 1944, on a secret Navy mission piloting a dynamite-filled plane haunted JFK, who feared that his own over publicized PT Boat 109 heroism had prompted his brother to risk the hazardous mission on which he died.

Betty: (1945–46): JFK, discharged from the Navy (March 1, 1945), was hired as a journalist by his father’s friend William Randolph Hearst to cover the United Nations’ birth in San Francisco and then to cover politics in Britain.

Frank: (June 17, 1946): JFK, age 29, thin, gaunt, still suffering from his war wounds and his bad back, won his first election (with father Joe’s maneuvering) to the U.S. House of Representatives, assembled a competent staff, met constituents’ needs, and prepared for his upward political climb.

Betty: (Fall 1947): JFK, age 30, ill in London, was for the first time accurately diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a hormonal disorder that causes fatigue, weakens the immune system, usually leads to early death. Joe arranged that all JFK’s medical records in various physicians’ offices be kept under assumed names. JFK’s Addison’s disease, kept from public notice, plagued JFK the rest of his life.

Frank: (1948–1952): JFK re-elected to the House of Representatives a second term then third term. In 1952 JFK, grandson of low class “shanty Irish,” ran for the U.S. Senate against Boston’s highest upper class Brahman Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge II (1901–85). Lodge later laughingly said: I was beaten by those damned Kennedy ladies (JFK’s mother, sisters, Democratic women activists), by their ‘Vote for Kennedy’ teas and coffees held all over Massachusetts.

Betty: (Sept. 12, 1953): U.S. Senator JFK, age 36, intent on becoming president, needing a wife, married beautiful Jacqueline Bouvier (1929–94), at age 24, 12 years younger, the elder daughter of a Wall Street stockbroker. Jackie attended Vassar, spent her junior year at French universities, and received her degree from George Washington University, majoring in French Literature.

Frank: Jackie became a Washington Times-Herald photographer, met JFK at a 1952 dinner party. Like Rose Kennedy with Joe, Jackie (whose parents had divorced) was hurt by but quietly tolerated JFK’s womanizing.

Betty: Jackie became a greatly admired First Lady. After JFK’s assassination, she modeled his unforgettable funeral after that of Pres. Lincoln. Later she asked author Theodore White (1915–86) to write for Life magazine an article emphasizing that JFK loved listening to recordings of the musical “Camelot,” particularly its last line: “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot,” creating the myth of JFK as a modern knight of Camelot fighting off evil enemies.

Frank: (Dec 2, 1954): The U.S. Senate voted to censure Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908–57), whose false charges of government leaders being communists ruined many careers. JFK was the only Democratic senator not voting against McCarthy, ostensibly because he was ill in hospital on voting day. He could have voted by note, phone, or proxy. JFK’s not voting against McCarthy displeased leading Democrat Eleanor Roosevelt and other liberals to oppose Kennedy’s 1960 Democratic presidential nomination.

Betty: (Dec 2, 1954, Cont’d.): Explanation: JFK probably deliberately missed McCarthy censure vote because 1-Joe was a strong McCarthy supporter, 2-McCarthy dated JFK’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 3-JFK’s younger brother Bobby worked as lawyer for McCarthy’s communist investigation sub-committee. Was JFK’s not voting a moral lapse or family loyalty?

Frank: (1954–1956): U.S. Senator JFK, then ages 37–39, aided by his speechwriter Theodore Sorensen (1928–2010), wrote his book, Profiles in Courage, about earlier heroic U.S. senators who stood steadfast for their principles against majority opinion. Joe urged New York Times friend Arthur Krock, leading Pulitzer prize board member, to persuade other board members to award the 1957 Pulitzer prize to Profiles in Courage, making Kennedy the only president to receive the Pulitzer prize.

Betty: (Aug. 16, 1956): At the Democratic National Convention, JFK gained national attention when he introduced its nominee, Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson (1900–65), who then asked the convention to choose his vice presidential running mate. JFK, in the running, lost to Tennessee’s Estes Kefauver, yet JFK’s prominence at that 1956 Democratic convention boosted his candidacy for the 1960 presidential run.

Frank: (1957): JFK’s brother Bobby became chief prosecutor for the U.S. Senate Rackets Committee investigating criminal use of labor union retirement funds. Bobby’s relentless pursuit of 1-Jimmy Hoffa (1913–75), teamsters’ union head, and 2-mafia criminal heads, made mafia leaders hate the Kennedys enough to become suspects in both JFK’s and Bobby’s assassinations.

Betty: (Nov. 27, 1957): JFK’s daughter Caroline Bouvier Kennedy born. She remains (2016) U.S. Ambassador to Japan. On Nov 25, 1960, Jackie gave birth to John F. Kennedy, Jr., who while piloting a private plane died in a 1999 crash.

Frank: (July 13, 1960): JFK won the hard-fought Democratic Convention battle to become presidential nominee. On father Joe’s advice, JFK chose Texan Lyndon Johnson, JFK’s fiercest competitor as presidential nominee, as his vice presidential running mate to help win Southern conservative votes.

Betty: (Sept. 12, 1960): Fearing defeat from strong anti-Catholic bias, JFK faced the religious issue boldly by saying to a Houston, Texas, Protestant ministerial group (Sept. 12, 1960): I do not speak for my Catholic church. My Catholic church does not speak for me. As U.S. president, my guide will be the U.S. Constitution, not my church. JFK received a standing ovation, largely ending anti-Catholic bias.

Frank: (1960): First ever TV presidential debates. Republican Richard Nixon, better known than JFK (Nixon was Pres. Eisenhower’s Vice President), with no makeup, was bested by photogenic, handsome, articulate JFK, who convinced the TV audience he was competent and ready to be president. Radio listeners preferred Nixon’s content. JFK won the larger TV audience. Nixon did not challenge JFK’s extremely narrow election win despite talk that father Joe bought JFK votes in Chicago and West Virginia.

Betty: (Jan. 20, 1961): JFK Inauguration: freezing sunny winter’s day, JFK sworn in, then as U.S. President said famously: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Frank: Besides JFK’s soaring words: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country,” JFK also said these less remembered lines: “My fellow citizens of the world…ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” JFK, as he was driven past the reviewing stand, stood, locked eyes with father Joe in the audience, tipped his top hat, tears welled, a moment to remember.

Betty: (March 1, 1961): JFK by Executive Order 10924 created the Peace Corps.

Frank: (March 13, 1961): JFK announced a USA and Latin American “Alliance for Progress.”

Betty: (April 16–19, 1961): Joint Chiefs of Staff military and CIA advisors urged JFK to approve the earlier planned, under Pres. Eisenhower, Bay of Pigs, Cuba, invasion aimed at overthrowing Castro.

Frank: (Same, April 16–19, 1961): JFK, though uneasy, accepted CIA advisers’ assurance that Florida-based U.S. Army-trained anti-Castro Cubans would invade Cuba and install a government friendly to the US. JFK was shocked when an alerted superior Castro defense force killed over 200 and imprisoned 1,197 invaders (later freed with large U.S. ransom which JFK insisted be used only for needy Cuban children’s medicines).

Betty: (Same, April 16–19, 1961): JFK took full responsibility for the failed invasion but increasingly feared the military. This failed Cuban invasion plus other later JFK peace-seeking moves, many believe, triggered angers leading to the assassinations of both JFK and Bobby.

Frank: (May 25, 1961): JFK announced plans to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade and return him to earth.

Betty: (May 31-June 3, 1961): JFK and Jackie in Paris, talks with Pres. Charles De Gaulle, who told JFK what to expect in his planned talks with Khrushchev. Jackie charmed the French with her beauty and mastery of the French language.

Frank: (June 3–4, 1961): JFK-Nikita Khrushchev talks in Vienna, Austria, went badly for JFK. Khrushchev was belligerent, as JFK later privately told brother Bobby: “Khrushchev thought me young, inexperienced, naïve, weak; he wiped the floor with me.”

Betty: (August 13, 1961): Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall to stop East Germans from fleeing to the free West. The Wall was a direct challenge to the three Allies (U.S., France, Britain) controlling the other Berlin sectors.

Frank: (Dec. 19, 1961): Joe suffered a stroke, partially paralyzed, wheelchair bound, unable to speak except for a guttural drawn-out “Nooo.”

Betty: (March 1962): JFK forced the steel industry to eliminate a price increase, which would have hurt the economy.

Frank: (Oct. 16–28, 1962): U.S. photos of Soviet nuclear missile sites in Cuba led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK’s naval quarantine of Cuba, and JFK’s secret contacts with Khrushchev avoided nuclear war. Bobby Kennedy shared these secret negotiations with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin (1919–2010) in Washington, DC, to assure that the secret messages reached Khrushchev.

Betty: (June 10, 1963): Five months before his assassination, Pres. JFK gave his masterful peace speech at American University Commencement, paraphrased: The peace we seek is not won by weapons of war but by making “life on earth worth living…[and enablng] men and nations to grow…to hope, …to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all [the world] — not merely peace in our time but peace [for] all time.”

Frank: June 26, 1963, Kennedy, after visiting the Berlin Wall, spoke in a nearby square to 120,000, attacked the communist system, and famously shouted “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Six weeks later, Aug 5, 1963: JFK led U.S.A.-Soviet Union-Britain to a limited nuclear test-ban treaty agreement.

Betty: (Nov. 2, 1963): Plan to assassinate JFK in Chicago was aborted. Told of the plan, JFK canceled his Chicago trip.

Frank: (Nov. 22, 1963): JFK, with Jackie, went to Texas to heal a liberal-conservative split among Texas Democrats whose votes JFK needed for his second term election. Knowing that other Democratic leaders visiting Texas had been roughly treated, JFK told Jackie: “We’re headed for nut country.”

Betty: (Nov. 22, 1963, Cont’d.): Despite some heckling signs, JFK was well received in San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas: In Dallas, open limousine, cheering crowds, Democratic Gov. Connally’s wife Nellie, sitting in the front seat looked back, said: “Mr. President, you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you.”

Frank: (Nov. 22, 1963, Cont’d.): Open Limousine slowed at Dealey Plaza, past Texas Book Depository, Crack! Bullet into back of JFK’s neck, exited his Adam’s apple. Crack! Crack! Third bullet, likely from front, tore off right side back part of skull and brains. JFK, sped to Parkland Hospital, pronounced dead. Vice Pres. Lyndon Johnson took the Oath of Office, Lady Bird on one side, and widow Jackie in blood and brain stained pink suit on the other. The world mourned.

Betty: Time now, Frank, for our conclusion.

Frank: The real JFK did more in his under three years’ presidency than many presidents did in their 4 years or 8 years. We list 6 of his major achievements:

Betty: 1-He averted a catastrophic nuclear conflict in the Oct. 1962, Cuba missile crisis.

Frank: 2-After calling civil rights a moral crisis (June 11, 1963), JFK sent Congress the strongest ever Civil Rights Act which, after JFK’s death, Pres. Lyndon Johnson won Congressional passage of, plus JFK’s drafted for his “Great Society”: Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor, clean air, water; wildlife and wilderness protection.

Betty: 3-JFK’s June 10, 1963, American University “Peace Speech” prepared the way for the limited USA, USSR, Britain nuclear test ban, a milestone toward easing the Cold War.

Frank; 4-His Sept. 12, 1960, Houston Texas, address to Protestant ministers on separation of church and state helped perpetuate the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and answered forever that a Catholic can be president.

Betty: 5-His January 20, 1961, Inaugural “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” ranks with Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” speech in extending hope and courage in troubled times, as the two most remembered 20th century inaugural addresses.

Frank: 6, our last, omitting other accomplishments: JFK’s Peace Corps, March 1, 1961, a lasting legacy, promising a happier future when adopted world wide to uplift the world’s needy, poor, sick, troubled, marginal people everywhere.

Betty: Frank, your 3 best short John Fitzgerald Kennedy quotes?

Frank: 1-“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.” 2-“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” 3-“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch — we are going back from whence we came.”

Betty: Frank, end with what Kennedy’s closest advisor, speechwriter Theodore Sorenson, said on hearing of JFK’s death.

Frank: “How could you leave us, how could you die? We are sheep without a shepherd

when the snow shuts out the sky.” End.

Sources: Google.Com and Other Sources:

*JFK’s 3 best quotes:


*Assassination, JFK: Best Sources:

-Chicago, aborted attempt to assassinate JFK, Nov. 2, 1963:

-Assassination articles in:


-Assassination conspiracy (good on JFK-Khrushchev contacts):

*JFK’s May 25, 1961, proposal to send U.S. astronauts to the moon and return them: and: and:

And: Katie Nodjimbadem, “Next Stop Mars,” Smithsonian, Vol. 47, No. 2 (May, 2016), pp. 72–73, plus, same issue, pp. 76–85.

*JFK Biographical Coverage:


*Parkers’ “Tumultuous 1960” paper:

*Parkers’ “Kennedys of Massachusetts” paper: and at:

*JFK’s father Joe, Sr.’s absolutism shown in daughter Rosemary Kennedy’s failed lobotomy surgery:

*Joseph F. Kennedy, Jr. (1915–44), JFK’s older brother; his life, World War 2 death and honors. (Joe, Sr. made sure U.S. Naval authority awarded Joe, Jr. a posthumous Naval Cross and named a destroyer USS Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr., on which third-born son, Robert F. Kennedy (Bobby, 1925–68) in 1946 briefly served as seaman:

*Robert Francis (Bobby) Kennedy (1925–68), JFK’s younger brother:


*JFK’s maternal grandfather, his mother’s father called “Honey Fitz:”

*Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, Pro-Hitler views: And:

JFK at Choate, exclusive private secondary school:

*JFK: General information and at Choate School:

Choate and Rosemary Hall (History, famous alumni, including JFK):



*JFK’s Addison Disease, other ailments:

*JFK first campaign for U.S. Senate against Mass. Incumbent Boston Brahmin Henry Cabot Lodge II: “Boston, dear Boston, the land of the bean and the cod, Where the Cabots speak only to the Lodges, and the Lodges speak only to God”

*JFK abstaining from U.S. Senate vote censuring Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy for false charges as communists in U.S. government:

*JFK’s intimate speech writer, editor, close intimate: Theodore Sorenson,

*JFK’s involvement in Bay of Pigs, Cuba invasion to overthrow Castro (April 1961);

*USSR nuclear missile sites in Cuba capable of pulverizing Eastern USA including Washington, DC. (Oct. 16–28, 1962):

*JFK’s Jan. 20,1961, Inaugural Address:

*JFK’s March 1961 creationg of the Peace Corps and its influence:

*JFK’s early years at Choate private secondary school:

*JFK’s Timelines:

*JFK best quotes from his best speeches:

*JFK’s belief that CIA war hawks involved in death of Congo Pres. Patrice Lumumba:

*JFK and the CIA:

*JFK illness treatment by quack physician: Dr. “Feel Good” Max Jacobson: and:

*JFK, how he entered U.S. Navy Officer Training bypassing physical exam:


*JFK sicknesses, ailments:

JFK, shocking portrayal of questionable tactics used to help JFK win the White House:

*JFK, List of books by and about JFK:

*JFK: articles on JFK and a timeline:

*JFK’s lifelong intimate friend Lem Billings from Choate School:

*Master of the U.S. House of Representatives Tip O’Neill on how unpromising new young U.S. House member JFK seemed to ever becoming U.S. President:

*Joe Kennedy, Sr.’s and JFK’s love liaisons with movie star Marlene Dietrich and Marlene’s daughter Marie:

*JFK with little son John F. Kennedy, Jr. photo peering through the trap door of the Resolute desk. This desk was made from wood taken from the ship HMS Resolute and was given to President Rutherford Hayes by Queen Victoria of England in 1880, see:

*JFK, Vanity Faire magazine insightful articles on JFK and family:

*JFK and wife Jackie: mutual sadness on death of prematurely born son to be named Patrick brought them closer together in last months before JfK’s assassination, each knowing of the other’s infidelities:

*JFK, boyhood, seen in Choate school sick bed by Kennedy family lady friend surrounded by books reading about Winston Churchill (1874–1965) who also had a dictatorial father and whom Pres. JFK later made an honorary U.S. Citizen.

*JFK, key articles about:

*JFK photo and article in Saturday Evening Post:

*Jackie Kennedy connecting JFK with Camelot legend:

End. Email any URL’s that you cannot open so we can correct.

*For Franklin and Betty J. Parker other writings, click on:,+1921-&qt=results_page



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