The 35th president of United States (1961-63) was at the age of 43, the youngest and the first Roman Catholic to be elected to the presidency. Rich, handsome, elegant and articulate, he aroused great admiration at home and abroad. His assassination in Dallas, Texas in November 1963 provoked outrage and widespread mourning. His term of office as president was too short.
Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917, a descendant of Irish Catholics who had immigrated to America in the 19th century. He had worldwide pre-eminence and gave the American people a sense of purpose to meet the challenges of a scientific age.
President Kennedy’s inaugural address set a tone of youthful idealism that raised the nation’s hopes. ” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, he exhorted. Kennedy’s wit and charm earned him considerable popularity at home and abroad, but he did not fare well with Congress. To strengthen civil rights, Kennedy sent to Congress a special message asking for legislation to desegregate public facilities and give justice department authority to bring school integration actions. Most of his proposals were ultimately enacted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He opposed racial discrimination and initiated a new era of East-West relations; but his foreign policy sowed the seeds of Vietnam war.
In the autumn of 1963, Kennedy began to plan his strategy for re-election. While riding in an open limousine through Dallas, Texas, he was shot in the head and neck by a sniper. He was rushed to Parkland Memorial hospital where efforts to revive him failed.