John Fitzgerald Kennedy, my loving husband, was a legendary man who was also an amazing president. He had battles all throughout this life and he was taken too soon from me. And not just me, but Caroline and John-John, too. That day is not a day I ever want to live again. November 22, 1963, was a day that will always be burned into my head. That day not only changed our country, but it also changed the way I lived my life. Everything he did for our country through his life changed America. We had our struggles, and our marriage was never perfect, but at the end of the day we always came back together. No matter what was going on.
John had a rough life growing up. He was always immensely ill… constantly in and out of the hospitals, always going to doctors. They never could find out what was wrong with him. His illnesses followed him all throughout his life and even into his last days. He never had just one thing wrong with him. Doctors could never find the sources to his long-lasting illnesses. Even while President he had, “high fevers, stomach troubles, colon and prostate issues, abscesses, adrenal problems, and high cholesterol.”(pg 19). These constant issues impeded his childhood because he was constantly in and out of hospitals. Growing up, he was always moving around and always going to the top and most prestigious schools possible. His father wanted John, from a young age, to be involved in the political and business world, just like him. And so John did.
John went to multiple primary schools, due to his family constantly moving around. While in school, he performed mediocrely. John was not an A plus student, he was not the valedictorian. He was not the best student out there. He was truly average. He was voted the most likely to succeed, and that is exactly what he did. For his college years, he went to Harvard. John performed well in college. His interest in politics and involvement was growing every day. He decided he wanted to be a senator, so he set his goals and worked to achieve them. Even though not being the best student he still became a senator. Even being ranked very low in high school, he still became the 35th president of the United States.
When John was 24, he decided to go into the military. We were on the midst of World War 2, Pearl Harbor had not been attacked yet when he joined. His desire was to go into the Army, but unfortunately John was rejected to lower back problems and illnesses that has stayed with him since he was a child. So, he went to the Navy, while in the Navy, he worked his way up to lieutenant, and became a Navy Hero. Even earning a Purple Heart for injuries he received during the time he served. He also received the Marine Corps Medal for being a war hero. He always served our country until the day he died. He was loyal, patriotic, and a perfect representation of an American. John’s heart was set on saving America, and bringing a new youthful generation into our World.
John and I met when he was just a congressman, little knowing what would become of him in the future. We were married on September 12, 1953. It wasn’t until 7 years later he became President. Our relationship made him into the man he was. We tried to live a life out of the presses eye. Our marriage had tremendous struggles and yet it had major triumphs. John was a man with a life worth living, and he meant everything to me and our kids. John lived mostly a truthful life, despite the multiple affairs he would have with women. We had an incredibly rough time having kids, which overall made John a stronger, more dedicated, and persevering man. Which benefited him during his senate term and his short-lived presidency.
John was a democratic senator for the great state of Massachusetts. His dad always wanted him to be deeply involved politically just like he was. The whole Kennedy family had deep roots in the political world. He was in the senate alongside Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy. Nixon would go on to be Johns opponent in the presidential race of 1960. Johns time in the senate was productive and helped him to develop key knowledge he would use during his presidency. While in the senate, he became aware that he would want to be the President of the United States of America, and so that is exactly what he did. John started the presidential race quite slow. Many Americans believed that he was too young and was not qualified. But, “Kennedy won over large crowds of supporters with his eloquence and charisma.” (pg 30) He was loved by one and all which is truly what made his assassination so horrific. It changed so many things in America, and all over the world.
The day that many Americans have permanently imprinted in their brains, was the day John Fitzgerald Kennedy was horrifically assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on the 22nd of November in 1963. We had gone to Dallas to ease tensions between democrats in Dallas. We were riding in the motorcade, through streets full of people excited to see the President. The President is supposed to be the most protected, and the hardest person to come into close contact with. The secret service is supposed to eliminate all supposable threats, but they could not have foreseen this. John was shot twice by Lee Harvey Oswald. He was shot once in the head, and then again in the back. People were shocked and were not sure what had happened. After I saw him slumped over and there was blood everywhere, I go to reach for part of his skull that had been separated from when he was shot.
When the realization that he had been shot had sunk in, we rushed to Parkland Hospital. The doctors tried to save him, but overall it turned unsuccessful and he passed away at 12:30. Lee was found and arrested that day, but was shot by Jack Ruby just two days later. Jack Ruby was convicted, but filed for an appeal. Then he died of cancer before his appeals trial could begin. We held his mass just three short days later, and it had a massive turn-out. People from all over the world came to his funeral, and we buried him in Arlington National Cemetery. Over the next few years, “…it was estimated that 16 million people visited his grave to pay their respects.” (pg 58). If anything that number should suggest how loved and cared for he was by the American people.
John left a lasting impression on America. He left a legacy of a young and upcoming generation, with a will to drive America to what it should be. His death led to Lyndon B. Johnson being able to pass Civil Rights Legislation that forever changed America. He is thought of to this day to be one of the best presidents to ever live. John was able to push us forward, by his inspiring and heartfelt speeches. It was hard to move on from John, for everything around me was tempered with his remembrance. We had two kids together, who needed someone to care for them, and for someone to love them the way John once did. But I had to pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue with my life and living it to the best of my abilities. We moved out of the White House, a mere two weeks after John was assassinated. After his death I reached out to Robert Kennedy, his brother, and became friends. He was a tremendous support system, not only for me but also for my kids. And then again I was hurt by the Kennedy curse. Robert was assassinated in June of 1968 while on a presidential campaign trail.
Thereafter, in October of 1968 I remarried. I was now married to Aristotle Onassis, and I left everything behind. Everything was changing. We moved due to the fear of being targeted. My whole family had been targeted. Then Aristotle died in 1975. 7 years later I was a widow again. I decided to go back to work as a publisher and an editor. And from then on out I was going to focus on myself and my kids.
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