Today in History, November 22, 1963:
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Thanksgiving must have been miserable in ’63.
This being the 55th anniversary of that terrible event, the coverage has been immense, so there isn’t much I could add about the event itself. And I would just as soon not mention the person who took JFK from us. So…a little history about JFK that not everyone may know.
To say that JFK came from a political family is an understatement. In the latter part of the nineteen century and early of the twentieth, both of his grandfathers were rivals in Massachusetts politics. John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald rose from a Boston shopkeeper’s son to be Mayor, a US Representative and political boss, and was none to happy when PJ Kennedy’s son Joseph began courting his daughter Rose. PJ served in the Mass House and Senate and was also a political mover and shaker.
Nonetheless, Honey Fitz loved the many resulting grandchildren, doting on his namesake, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
JFK’s father rose in politics as well, making note as an Irish Catholic appointed to Ambassador to England for FDR. Joe brought his children with him, and JFK watched the German bombing of England first hand. Joe was a controversial isolationist and did not have FDR’s trust.
During his senior year at Harvard JFK would write a thesis called “Why England Slept” about England’s pre-war actions. Joe would see this published, although it didn’t win a Pulitzer like the 1957 “Profiles in Courage” by JFK…which Joe also made sure was acclaimed.
JFK’s older brother Joe was being groomed for high political office, but was killed in WWII while piloting a B-24 Liberator on a dangerous mission over Europe. So the mantle fell to “Jack”, also a war hero for his exploits in the Pacific Theater.