John F. Kennedy would have celebrated his 100th birthday on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017. In tribute to JFK, the 35th President of the United States, and his centennial year, IrishCentral is looking back on the life and times of the charismatic and intriguing Irish-American leader; from his early years to his rise to the presidency, to his untimely assassination in November 1963 at just 46 years old.
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President John F. Kennedy, who died on this day (Nov 22) in 1963, captivated the American public and that continues today. Although he has been studied widely, here are a few lesser known and odd facts about this famous president that you might not have come across.
1. Kennedy gave all of his presidential salary, $100,000 a year, to charity.
2. He was the first president to dance with African American women at an inaugural ball.
Read more: How is John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday being celebrated in the US?
3. Kennedy survived four assassination attempts during his life. A retired postal worker attempted to kill him barely a month after his election by following him from Hyannis Port, MA to Georgetown in Washington, DC to Palm Beach, FL in a car loaded with dynamite. Other plots in Chicago and Tampa were discovered in the weeks before November 22, 1963.
4.He received the Last Rites four times in his life. He first received them in 1947 after becoming gravely ill in England and next received them in 1951 when he got a severe fever in Japan. Kennedy got them again in 1954 after back surgery and lastly on November 22, 1963.
5. Kennedy was obsessed with his weight and traveled with a bathroom scale.
7. He bought up to 1,200 high-grade Cuban cigars the day before he ordered a ban on Cuban imports.
8. During WWII his ship PT-109 was sunk and he scratched a message on a coconut husk as part of his efforts to get his crew rescued. He later used the coconut husk as a paperweight in the Oval Office.
9. Kennedy suffered from Addison's Disease, which was potentially fatal in the 1960s. He also suffered from colitis, prostatitis, and osteoporosis of the lower back, which was so severe he struggled to bend over.
10. The driver of his limousine on the day he was shot was Secret Service man and Irishman William Greer form County Tyrone, an Ulster Protestant. Greer was strongly criticized for slowing down rather than accelerating when the first bullet hit as the secret service manual advised.
Read more: What you should know about John F Kennedy