The Memory Attic just added an historic letter written by the great John F. Kennedy in 1939, a young man about to begin his epic journey to change the world. Reading
In 1939, John F. Kennedy was 22 years old. He had attended Harvard and traveled to Europe to research his thesis. Then came World War II, and JFK enrolled in the U.S. Navy. Young John was especially affected by this turn of events. He even had a special insight into the situation due to the position of his father, Joseph, who was the US Ambassador to Britain at that time. Along with his two siblings, young JFK watched a special meeting of the British Parliament and understood firsthand what it meant for a nation to enter into a war.
Military service was expected from every able-bodied man in the nation. John’s older brother Joe enlisted (though he consequently died in the course of the war in 1944). John was poised for a life of great adventure and hardship, both due to the family he was born into as well as the times.
When it came time for John to enroll, his bad back convinced the medics to turn him away. But JFK could not accept their dismissal. He did strengthening exercises and was allowed to enlist in 1941. In the course of action, JFK was given command of a Patrol Torpedo (PT) ship near the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Tragedy struck and the young commander helped his surviving crew swim to safety, and he received two medals after recovering in hospital.
While he was eventually given an honorary discharge, JFK’s military service was a strategic choice to help prepare him for an eventual run for president. The Kennedy family knew that Jack needed to be a military veteran to garner votes from that particular demographic. JFK succeeded in 1960, narrowly beating Richard Nixon to gain the presidency and becoming the first Catholic person to do so.