May 25, 1961. With only four months in office, President John F. Kennedy proposed before Congress “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.” Although his life was tragically cut short, Kennedy was able to commit to his proposal over the next 30 months as President as he laid down the tracks for a lunar landing by America.
John F Kennedy, a President who still holds the record of having a the highest average approval rating of 70.1 percent brought out an emotional response from every American, and whether that be of love or not, one can’t deny that he was a man with many accomplishments who created an incredible legacy for himself.
In an improvised speech to over 10,000 University of Michigan students, President Kennedy spoke, “How many of you, who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world?” His words moved the students to petition and 1,000 students were willing to serve abroad. This query from the president, along with the student’s reactions inspired the idea of the Peace Corps. Within two weeks Kennedy proposed “a peace corps of talented men and women” at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and received more than 25, 000 letters of support. This program swiftly became a reality.
In 1944 then Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, received both a Purple Heart for wounds received in battle and the Navy’s highest honor for heroism – the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Among other awards he also received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for Profiles in Courage, his volume of short biographies eight US Senators who showed great acts of bravery and integrity.
Looking back on Kennedy’s remarkable life we wonder which achievements and memories would make it into a Life Chest? It would be a surreal thing to look through a President’s Life Chest, filled with personal mementos and historical documents, truly incredible pieces of history preserved and passed down for generations.
We were absolutely honored to give President George Bush Sr. a Life Chest on his 90th birthday when he jumped from a plane at 6,300 feet, tandem with Mike Elliot, the Founder of The All Veteran Group. Take a look at our blog post from that day.