Interesting Facts About John F. Kennedy: He Won A Pulitzer Prize

John F. Kennedy’s progressive agenda during the 1960s inspired a new generation of optimism in America. More than 50 years after his tragic death cut his presidency short, John F. Kennedy remains one of history’s most intriguing figures—and, according to Gallup, America’s favorite president.
John F. Kennedy, also popularly known as JFK, was born on May 29, 1917, to a wealthy, politically connected family. He was the first president to be born in the 20th century. He was elected the thirty-fifth president in 1960 and took office on January 20, 1961, but sadly his life and legacy were cut short when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
Following are SEVEN interesting facts that are important to know when studying the life and presidency of John F. Kennedy.
1. In the months before the United States entered World War II, Kennedy attempted to enlist in the military, but his intestinal and back problems caused him to fail the physical examinations for both the Army’s and Navy’s officer candidate schools. Using his father’s connections, however, the future president was admitted to the Navy in October 1941. As a commanding officer of PT-109, he became a wartime hero after helping his crewmates survive the gunboat’s 1943 sinking.
2. Kennedy authored his first book, “Why England Slept,” at age 22, and in 1945 he spent a few months as a newspaper correspondent for William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers covering the United Nations conference in San Francisco and the aftermath of World War II in Europe. In 1957, a Pulitzer Prize in biography was awarded to Kennedy for “Profiles in Courage,” although there has since been controversy as to how much of the book was ghostwritten by his aide Theodore Sorensen.
3. Kennedy installed a secret taping system in the White House. Richard Nixon was not the first president to record his private White House conversations. In the summer of 1962, Kennedy secretly installed a taping system in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room that transmitted recordings to a reel-to-reel tape recorder in the White House basement. The president likely installed the system to aid him in writing his future memoir, and it captured many historical discussions between Kennedy and his staff, including discussions during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
4. He is the only president to have received a purple heart. Though recent presidential candidates John Kerry and John McCain both received Purple Hearts for their service during wartime, Kennedy is the only president to boast the honor. He received it after being wounded in action on August 22, 1943.
5. He was the last president to wear a top hat at his inauguration. For many years, going back to at least James Garfield’s inauguration in 1881, it was a tradition for incoming presidents to wear a top hat as part of the Inauguration Day garb. Though JFK wasn’t a fan of hats, he went along with the tradition—but was the last POTUS to do so.
6. Kennedy won a seat in the House of Representatives in 1947 where he served for three terms. He was elected to the US Senate in 1953. He was seen as someone who did not necessarily follow the Democratic Party line. Critics were upset with him for not standing up to Senator Joe McCarthy.
7. When Kennedy ran for the presidency in 1960, one of the campaign issues was his Catholicism. He openly discussed his religion and explained. As he said, “I am not the Catholic candidate for President, I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic.”

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