Posts tagged JFK
Posts tagged JFK
By Matt Viser
WASHINGTON — A 16-year-old Bobby Kennedy, with all four front teeth chipped from playing football, was planning to head home from Milton Academy for the weekend. Writing before the Kennedy family experienced a series of tragic deaths, there was a fatalistic side to his thoughts.
“I’m going home this weekend to see my brother Jack who is now going into PT boats,” Kennedy wrote to one of his friends, “so I’m getting out to see him because he might be killed any minute.”
The letter is part of two separate batches of newly revealed correspondence — one series written by Robert F. Kennedy, the other by John F. Kennedy — that are being made public for the first time and are set to be auctioned next month at the Omni Parker House in Boston. RR Auction said it has authenticated the letters using in-house experts and outside consultants.
The two collections reveal a family in the middle of World War II, just before two members were killed in airplane accidents, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. in 1944 and Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy in 1948
The letters from John F. Kennedy were sent to the family of Harold W. Marney, one of two crew members killed when the PT-109 boat that he commanded was destroyed by a Japanese ship. A 26-year-old Kennedy wrote condolences to a family whose son had died.
“This letter is to offer my deepest sympathy to you for the loss of your son,” he wrote shortly after the August 1943 accident. “I realize that there is nothing that I can say can make your sorrow less; particularly as I know him; and I know what a great loss he must be to you and your family.”
Marney had joined the boat a week earlier to serve as engineer, Kennedy wrote, and he did his job “with great cheerfulness — an invaluable quality out here.”
“I am truly sorry that I cannot offer you hope that he survived that night,” he wrote. “You do have the consolation of knowing that your son died in the service of his country.”
Several months later, Kennedy wrote another letter, in response to one he had received from the Marneys asking for more information about their son. The telegram they received from the Navy said little more than that their son “is missing following action in the performance of his duty.”
Kennedy again wrote his condolences, and said that all the information he had was included in the previous letter. After the Japanese destroyer hit their ship, they never saw Marney again.
After the crew reunited on a floating bow, Kennedy wrote, “we could find no trace of him, although every effort was made to find him.”
Kennedy’s heroism during the accident, in which two were killed but all the others managed to get to land and were eventually rescued, later helped lay the foundation for his rise as a national politician.
The Marney family also wrote Kennedy after his older brother, Joe, died in a plane crash. This time the roles were reversed as they offered condolences to him.
“Boys like Harold and my brother Joe can never be replaced,” Kennedy responded in a letter with a Hyannis Port letterhead and postmarked Sept. 1, 1944. “But there is some consolation in knowing that they were doing what they wanted to do — and were doing it well.”
The items being auctioned also include the telegram that the Marneys received informing them that their son was missing, as well as the Purple Heart he was awarded.
The 18 letters to be auctioned that Robert Kennedy wrote between 1941 and 1945 were to a close friend, Peter MacLellan, whom he befriended at the Portsmouth Priory School in Rhode Island. The batch also includes nine letters from Robert’s sister Jean, whom MacLellan dated at one point.
They show Bobby as an adolescent, discussing sports, school, and girls as he mourns that he seemed to lack the charming ways of his brother.
“I am now chasing women madly but it looks as if I lack the Kennedy charm as I have yet to find a girl who likes me but then I don’t quit easily so I’m still in there struggling,” Robert Kennedy wrote to MacLellan in a letter postmarked July 3, 1944. “How’s that love life of yours?”
Kennedy showed a jovial side and a fair amount of teenage braggadocio. He signed one letter, “from your mental & physical superior and your better in football, hockey and baseball, Robert Francis Kennedy.” In another he noted, “I’m still healthy, strong . . . and good looking as ever.”
But Kennedy also lacked some of the athletic prowess that his family was known for.
“Baseball has started and I decided to go out for it and of course got cut but I expected it so it doesn’t much matter,” he wrote in a letter postmarked March 13, 1943.
At another point, he refers to his younger brother, Teddy, and his football abilities.
“Football is going stinky due to the fact there’s a guy on 2nd team ahead of me who can play ball as well as Teddy my brother and the coach thinks he’s better than me. I guess no one appreciates my true qualities . . . The whole thing can go to Hell.”
Harvard students at the Institute of Politics work to celebrate the legacy of President John F. Kennedy every day at this great Public Service Project. See the Tumblr here.
In 2002, Max Kennedy, one of the sons of Kennedy’s brother Robert, traveled to the Solomons with the National Geographic expedition to meet the islanders whose courage he had heard about since childhood. In an emotional high point in the film, Kumana sobs as the younger Kennedy embraces him.
Max Kennedy presented Kumana and Gasa with gifts, including a letter from another brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who wrote that President Kennedy “never forgot you.”
"Both of them were extraordinarily charismatic men," Max Kennedy said this week about Kumana and Gasa, who died in 2005.
He described the day he spent with Kumana as full of laughter.
"He was very, very funny and had a great sense of irony, which I think President Kennedy also had," Max Kennedy said. "He was wearing a T-shirt that is very popular in the Solomon Islands. It read ‘I Rescued JFK.’"
(Source: Los Angeles Times)
In Solomon Islands, way out in the ocean, far off the coast of northwest Australia, a 93-year-old man died on August 6.
His name was Eroni Kumana and he is the man who, in 1943, rescued a young U.S. Naval Lieutenant who was stranded out in the sea.
That navy man was former President John F. Kennedy.
He and his crew had been on patrol when their boat was broken in half by a Japanese destroyer.
Kennedy and 10 other survivors had to swim three miles to a coral reef.
Kumana just happened to be out in a canoe on that day, more than 70 years ago. He gave the Americans food and Kennedy sent him away with a “help” message etched on a coconut. Kumana helped save all the men.
And on his oval office desk, JFK used that same coconut as a paperweight.
John F. Kennedy
Young John Fitzgerald Kennedy
If America had an aristocracy, the most titled bloodline would certainly be the Kennedys. In the past half century, one Kennedy after another has occupied nearly every political position America has to offer, including the roles of congressman, senator, ambassador, mayor, SEC chairman, state representative, city councilman, and, of course, President.
The sustaining force behind the Kennedys reign is hardly a secret. Thanks to Joseph P. Kennedy, who made a fortune from insider trading only to later chair the SEC, the family is fabulously rich. But exactly how much is America’s first family worth? Forbespegs the extended family’s fortune at $1 billion.
Protected by a labyrinth of trusts, as well as tax strategies that would make Joseph P. Kennedy proud, the Kennedy fortune now spans approximately 30 family members, and includes the surnames Shriver, Lawford and the Smith. At nearly $175 million as of 2013, Caroline Kennedy is the richest descendant by far, but more modestly endowed relatives, such as Robert Shriver, who is running for Los Angeles County Supervisor, still possess assets in the tens of millions, according to public financial disclosures required of government officials.
The bulk of the family’s wealth is held in dozens of trusts, which range in value from tens of thousands to as much as $25 million. Nearly all are managed by Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, a family office located in New York City with assets dating back to 1927, according to Christopher Kennedy, a member of the Kennedy family who sits on the office’s board.
Unlike the office’s heyday under JFK’s confidant Stephen Smith, when “there was actually stock picking going on inside the office walls,” the task of investing the family trusts today is handled by outside organizations, Kennedy said. While the family has a final say in where the assets are allocated, day-to-day oversight has been tasked to an advisory board of six experts, including Andy Golden, who manages Princeton University’s endowment.
Joseph P. Kennedy’s choice to place his fortune in trusts is possibly the single most critical reason why the family wealth is still around today. The most obvious benefit was to protect the fortune from the prying fingers of ne’er-do-well heirs, said Laurence Leamer, who wrote three Kennedy biographies. Trusts often prevent beneficiaries from tapping more than 10 percent of principal, said Rick Kruse, principal at Kruse and Crawford, which offers estate management advice.
The trusts also protect the family assets from another set of prying fingers: Uncle Sam’s. By holding assets in so called “dynasty trusts,” which are passed from heir to heir for decades, if not longer, the Kennedy family fortune is largely insulated from the estate tax, Kruse said. Handled correctly, a dynasty trust could potentially maintain an un-taxable fortune indefinitely. The oldest Kennedy trust on record dates back to 1936.
Like politics, tax savvy seems to run in the Kennedy family. The most recent example is the 1998 sale of the family’s most valuable asset: the iconic Merchandise Mart, a towering retail space on the Chicago River that was once thought to be the largest building in the world. Thanks to a carefully crafted deal with Vornado Realty VNO +0.13%, the Kennedy family deferred – or possibly avoided completely – capital gains tax on nearly half the value of the sale.
The Kennedys did this using an obscure investment tool called an “operating partnership unit.” Similar to equity, partnership units offered the Kennedys an ownership stake in Vornado Realty, generating a robust stream of dividends. Of the $303 million the family pocketed from the sale, $116 million came in the form of this investment instrument, according to SEC filings.
This alone isn’t a bad deal, being that the Kennedy’s have collected as much as $170 million in dividends since 1998, according to Forbes. The secret sauce, however, is that accepting partnership units in lieu of cash defers capital gains tax, as well as taxes on historical depreciation, for as long as the units are not cashed out, said Tony McEahern, head of wealth planning for Wells Fargo WFC -0.11 % Private Bank. In fact, if the partnership units were placed into trusts, capital gains taxes could potentially be deferred forever.
Christopher Kennedy declined to comment on how the sale’s proceeds were handled. However, public documents reveal that Caroline Kennedy, Robert Shriver, and Maria Shriver each collect income from assets dubbed Vornado Realty Trust and Vornado Realty Inc., which are valued at up to $7.5 million.
“We are a very public family with a very private investment philosophy,” Kennedy said.
A few days before I was born, NBC News interviewed my father, then-Senator John F. Kennedy. Reflecting the typical mindset of 1950s America, the interviewer asked my father, “If you were to have a son, would you encourage a political career for him?” Exhibiting the visionary spirit that would soon inspire the world in so many ways, my father answered, “Yes, and I hope if I had a daughter I might encourage her to play some part. I don’t think this should be confined to men only.”
In Japan, “womenomics” is the talk of the nation. Much of the discourse has focused on the needs and potential contributions of working mothers, but Father’s Day weekend is an appropriate time to celebrate fathers and remind ourselves that work-life balance isn’t just a women’s issue.
In his book Fatherneed, Yale University child psychologist Kyle Pruett notes that children whose fathers are deeply involved in their lives do better in school. Toddlers with involved fathers are better prepared to handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling than children whose fathers are less involved. And young men need dads who are present as they embark on their own life’s journey.
In other words, society benefits in tangible ways when fathers have the time to invest in the lives of their children.
And society benefits in other ways, too. When men are more involved at home, women are able to go back to school, or start a business. If a woman knows that her husband can help take care of their sick child, or fix dinner for the kids, she can seek out career opportunities. If Japanese women participate more actively in the economy, GDP will rise, benefitting everyone in Japan, including the employers of the men who may need to take time off once in a while to take care of their children.
When my father was interviewed back in 1957, he was already thinking about the society of the future built on equality and opportunity for all citizens: men and women, black and white. Many of the men who have had a major positive influence on the role of women have had daughters, and I don’t think it was an accident. When a man asks, “How would I want a boss to treat my daughter?” or “How would I want a co-worker to behave toward my mother?” or “Won’t my grandchildren be better off if their father is able to spend more time with them?” we all win.
Happy Father’s Day. Enjoy your day.
(Source: The Huffington Post)
LIFE With JFK: Classic Portraits of a Political Superstar, 1947-1963
Not many public figures from the middle part of the 20th century are as closely identified with LIFE magazine as John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In fact, from his days as a decorated war hero in the late 1940s, through his years as a senator, into the White House and up until the very moment of his assassination, LIFE photographers spent an enormous amount of time (and film) on the ambitious Democrat from Massachusetts.
That he married a woman as magnetic and stylish as the former Jacqueline Bouvier only further guaranteed that the two young cultural and political icons would never be absent from the weekly’s pages for long.
Here, LIFE.com features a series of photographs — many of which are classics, several of which never ran in LIFE — made during the decade and a half when John Kennedy was on his way to becoming, for a time, the most powerful person on earth.
Memorial Day 1962, John F. Kennedy took Caroline along to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington. Pointing to a mansion overlooking the site, Caroline asked her father the name of the person who lived in it.
"His name is Robert E. Lee," said Kennedy. "He was a famous Confederate general in the Civil War."
"It’s beautiful," said Caroline, referring to the mansion.
"It is," agreed JFK. "And so is this cemetery. It’s very tranquil, almost restful… You know, Buttons, I think I could linger here forever."
Though no baby boomer will want to face this, in just under three years it is going to be the centennial of President John F. Kennedy. And the country should begin now to prepare for an appropriate celebration, something in proportion to previous grand presidential centennials where observances have lasted at least a year; where Congress, the White House, federal departments, universities, presidential libraries and other educational institutions focus on what the man meant to this nation and to the world.
There is a magnificent tradition in this nation of observing such anniversary moments. Most recently, the country did a first-rate job in 2009 of celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial. And who knew that an African-American senator, also from Illinois, would get inaugurated as the commemorations began?
In the 1980s, there were widespread observances for the centennials of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. These included what was then the second-largest celebration in the Smithsonian’s history, with FDR exhibits in 12 of its museums. A joint meeting of Congress featured the speeches of FDR; another one featured Harry Truman’s former aides.
These observances emphasized two of the great successes of 20th century America, FDR’s standing up to the Axis Powers and Truman’s standing up to the Soviet Empire. Couldn’t we use a reminder of JFK’s successes dealing with nuclear weapons?
As it did for other centennials, Congress now should pass legislation forming a national commission with representatives from both parties, the private sector and academia that could begin to organize official activities. Special one-time appropriations should be made available for the Kennedy Library in Boston, much as Congress did in the mid-1970s by giving Stanford’s Hoover Institution $7 million for Herbert Hoover’s centennial (about $31 million today), and perhaps also for space exploration, the Peace Corps and Washington’s Kennedy Center, JFK’s living cultural memorial.
Think for a moment about how many schools in this nation are named after JFK. Wouldn’t it be great for all of them to use this unique occasion to teach their students the history of that time? Of course, this kind of celebration would include media coverage, encompassing the oldest film footage to online social networks.
All of this would allow the next president to use JFK’s memory to inspire and capture the imagination of today’s young people, as JFK did in his time. People need to be reminded that great world-changing accomplishments begin with individuals — an idea that is particularly important today as more and more citizens grow disenchanted with politics.
Numerous polls show the continuing relevance of John Kennedy. He remains part of our collective memory.
The recent observances of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination showed there is no shortage of interest in his tragic death. It is time to focus on his life.
Peter Kovler chairs the Center for National Policy and the Kovler Foundations and led the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Centennial Committee in 1982 that was a key factor in the creation of the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. Robert Dallek is a historian specializing in the presidency whose many books include, “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963.”