John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963), often referred to as John F. Kennedy, JFK or "Jack Kennedy", was the 35th President of the United States. He served from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. A member of the prominent Kennedy political family, he is considered an icon of American liberalism. During World War II, he served as a naval lieutenant in the Pacific theatre and was cited for exceptional bravery for the rescue of his men. At the age of 43, Kennedy was the youngest person to be elected president and the second-youngest person to become president, behind Theodore Roosevelt, who was 42 when he assumed the presidency upon the assasination of McKinley. Kennedy was also the only Roman Catholic elected president and the first 20th century-born American president.
Major events during his presidency included the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, early events of the Vietnam War, and the American Civil Rights Movement. In rankings of U.S. presidents, historians usually grade Kennedy above average, but among the general public he is often regarded as among the greatest presidents.
Kennedy is also the first and only Roman Catholic ever to become President, the last President to die while still in office, the last Democrat from the North to be elected, and the last to be elected while serving in the U.S. Senate.
Kennedy died the youngest of any U.S. president, at 46 years and 177 days, when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963. His assassination is considered one of the most defining moments in U.S. history because of its traumatic impact on the entire nation, its impact on the political history of the ensuing decades, because of Kennedy's elevation as an icon for a new generation of Americans and American aspirations, and, of course, for the mystery and allegations of conspiracy that surround it.