I am writing this post from the past. It’s the year 1962 and John F. Kennedy is still alive and making merry with Marilyn Monroe. America is completed bowled over by this boyishly handsome young President and his pretty, petite, and stylish wife Jacqueline Kennedy. They love the couple – ( the men secretly admire John F. Kennedy’s exploits while the women sympathize with the First Lady?) In other words, everything appears to be in order, and exactly as this caricaturist would like it to be – happy, romantic, mushy, and adulterous!
Here’s the caricature of this tragedy-stricken, handsome child of destiny. Presenting John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy the 35th President of the United States.
Tradition demands that I share JFK’s short and cute biography here. So here I go.
John F. Kennedy – A Quick Biographical Sketch
JFK or John F. Kennedy or “Jack” Kennedy was born in a politically active family on May 29, 1917. John suffered from various health issues from a very early age. The effect of his health on his attitude was compounded by his elder brother Joe’s achievements overshadowing his own. All this (and possibly more) made John something of a rebel when he was at school. After school he spent a mysterious month at the London School of Economics, later returning to study at Princeton University. (Note that the well-to-do, rich and connected Americans of those times, preferred to educate their kids abroad! There’s some glamor to this education abroad thing – isn’t there?) Anyway, JFK was a good student and he ended up at Harvard, where he completed his thesis as the age of 23, published it as a book, which quickly became a best seller.
After completing his education, JFK wanted to join the Army but couldn’t because he had some serious issues with his lower-back. Instead, he ended up joining the US Navy. (Wikipedia says that the “influence” (also called push or jugaad) of a senior Military guy was used to get him in the Navy – but then the ends are always more important than the means – and I am sure that Nixon’s election intelligence team must’ve gone into the nitty-grity of this whole affair and everything must’ve been found in order…so, I’ll not dig deeper into it. John married Jacqueline in 1952. The next few years were fraught with back problems and he had to undergo a few surgeries to have them corrected. It was in 1957 that he received the Pulitzer prize for a collection of biographies that he wrote and published about those US senators who risked their careers for their personal believes.
Anyway, one thing led to another, and JFK’s bravery made him save quite a few lives despite his back problems. Lives saved leads to medals earned (at least in the US they do.) (When I open my third eye (the one that belongs to the caricaturist in me) I see the entire Kennedy family moving in the living room to make room for his medals.) All this and more, including his brother’s untimely death, steered him towards the president-ship, and he became the 35th President of the US in 1961.
JFK finds an ally in Television:
In 1960 he stood for the Presidential elections again Richard Nixon, the Republican candidate (who later became the 37th President of the US). Theirs was the first presidential debate to have every been televised and, it is said that had it not been televised, history would’ve been different. People who hadn’t yet bought the idiot-box were happily listening to the debate on radio, and they favored Nixon, but those who watched the tv telecast of the debates found Kennedy a lot more charming and confident. (Who says looks don’t matter?)
Read more about the post-election politics here.
The Assassination of John F. Kennedy:
JFK’s assassination is possibly the most widely remembered event of his presidency. Three years into his term JFK was on a political trip to Texas, when a man called Lee Harvey Oswald shot him in the neck and the back. Oswald was killed by Ruby two days after the assassination. The crime remains unsolved to date.
John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe:
It is said the JFK was quite keen on the Hollywood Glamor Queen, the inimitable skirt-swirling, drug-doing Marilyn Monroe. However, his close friends, confidantes, and others at the White House chose to stay quiet about his affairs (possibly to spare the pain such knowledge would cause his wife and to avoid the damage that it could do to his image in public…and of course, they didn’t want to scare away the future Presidents – notably Bill Clinton.)
John F. Kennedy Quotes:
- Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names
- The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
- We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
- For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.Find more JFK quotes at Brainy Quotes.
At his inaugural address on 20th January, 1961, Kennedy challenged the people of the United States with the statement: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.” Guess it’s time for everyone around the world to be asking the same question…isn’t it?
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Thanks for commenting, Nancy. I was hoping that you’ll tell us about your experience on that day. I read about the assassination, and I’ve watched a couple of movies on the subject. In fact, one of the movies was a time-travel movie, in which a man travels into the past to stop the assassination. Unfortunately he fails – because events that have a strong impact on the course of history cannot be changed.
Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I still remember how the whole world felt the shock – It was unbelievable – and I remember thinking that the video must be some sort of prank – something created using a 3d software. It was impossible for the rest of the world to believe that this could happen in the US. I guess this anniversary is going to be a special one – especially with the man responsible for it having been brought to justice.
Thanks again for sharing your feelings and thoughts.
i love your political cartoons. It’s important to show capture great leaders and visionaries of the past, and one can only imagine how things might be in modern day america, had the assassination of JFK not have taken place.
Like 9/11, if you were alive and old enough to remember anything about the past, you remember where you were when JFK was shot. I was a junior in an all girls Catholic high school and we were in the chapel for a retreat. They announced that the President had been shot and everyone cried openly, tears streaming down their cheeks. He was the first and only Catholic to become President of the United States. And the only President to be assassinated in our lifetime.
There were conspiracy theories that spread like wildfire after the assassination ….the Warren Commission investigated it all and decided that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only one to take part in the crime. Documents that were to be made public years later have never been released and there are still many who believe that the public has not been told the truth of what happened that fateful day. The fact that Jack Ruby shot Oswald as he was transferred a few days after the crime cast suspicion that there was something to cover up. We, the citizens of this country, will likely never know the real truth.
We will never forget the assassination of President Kennedy…nor the other assassinations that followed it of Robert F Kennedy and Martin Luther King…….but in a few days we will again remember the tragedy of 9/11…….10 years after the country watched in shock and horror as our own passenger airplanes were used as weapons of mass-destruction. We will again mourn all of those that were lost that day. This country has been changed forever.
Great job, Shafali, on a wonderful likeness of a beloved leader…..may he rest in peace.