JFK -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

....the Camelot years

Kennedy family

JFK was born in Brookline (suburb of Boston) on May 29, 1917. His love affair with Cape Cod all started when his father Joseph Joseph P. Kennedy, rented a Marchant Avenue (Hyannisport) summer cottage in 1926.

A couple of years later, he purchased and enlarged it, as well as buying up some of the neighbouring homes and it became the family's famous summer retreat known today as the Kennedy compound.

At the end of the school year, the Kennedy children would go to their summer home in Hyannisport on Cape Cod where they enjoyed swimming, sailing, and playing touch football.

In fact, those "friendly" games of football with his brothers and cousins, would often turn into bloody, competitive matches. Somebody would always get hurt and often it was Jack, who had a bad back and suffered from medical issues throughout his life.

So much American history has taken place here but few outsiders have been granted entrance.

It was here that he contemplated and accepted his run for office, and it was here that he returned to time and again to help clear his mind and mull over important political decisions.

Kennedy compound

Most importantly, it was here that JFK began his quest to preserve Cape Cod and her rugged beauty, for generations to come.

He realized that this seemingly strong and wild stretch of land and shoreline, was actually quite delicate by nature. If he did not use his political clout, then Cape Cod would become a very different place indeed.

The Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) was officially created on August 7, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. It was his labor of love and forever tied him to this beautiful area.

JFK made Hyannisport the site of his summer White House. The sea and shores of Hyannisport inspired the President like no other place on earth.

Over the years, the Kennedy compound has also been a "rallying" place for the Kennedy clan.

The Kennedys have seen more than their fair share of bad luck and death. By nature, they are a resilient bunch who rely heavily on their faith to see them through life's trials and tribulations.

Whenever a tragedy in the family happened, it was Hyannisport that was their centering force.

JFK JR I remember in July 1999, JFK Jr. was heading to Martha's Vineyard with his wife and her sister. They were heading there for his sister Rory's wedding the next day.

John Jr. was flying his small private plane at nightfall (and with a broken leg) on a very foggy, hazy night. In the confusion, he became disoriented and piloted his plane into the sea, just offshore.

Most of the family was already on the Cape but the ones who weren't, arrived soon after. Once again, the Kennedy compound became a "rallying" place. Here is where they leaned on one another, keeping that stoic Kennedy demeanor that is now so famous.

We had just returned from the Cape about a week before, where we had visited Martha's Vineyard. There is a place I really love at the west end of the island called the Gay Head Cliffs. It used to be known as "Aquinnah" and has since, gone back to that name in recent years.

Well, there is this beautiful large rock that I loved to sit on when the tide went out. Very peaceful, very calm.

After that horrible plane crash, CNN was stationed on this beach, reporting on the tragedy that had happened just off-shore.

They were there because pieces of luggage and parts from the plane, were washing up onto the shore. Then I saw it--my rock. The rock I loved to sit on and watch the waves come in--only a week before. In that moment, I somehow felt that my rock was gone, as was John Jr.

Gay Head

If you visit Hyannis, be sure to check out the Kennedy Museum. The museum captures the years JFK spent at the family compound in Hyannisport—his time with family and friends, and with national and international political figures.

JFK statue The John F. Kennedy Museum is a multimedia exhibit designed to open a window on the days JFK spent on Cape Cod; days relaxing with family, days playing football with friends, days spent sailing on the ocean to which he was so constantly drawn.

The exhibit also features over 80 photographs spanning the years 1934 to 1963. In addition to photography, a video narrated by Walter Cronkite (who has a place on the Vineyard) depicts the President's experiences on the Cape.

The Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to have created this opportunity for visitors and residents alike to remember the John F. Kennedy era on Cape Cod.

The museum is located at 397 Main Street in Hyannis. Check them out on the web here.

Cape mourns death of Sen. Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy, age 77, died late last night at his Hyannisport home. He was the last surviving and youngest of Rose and Joseph's children.

Kennedy had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer on May 20, 2008, after he suffered a seizure at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport. Kennedy underwent brain surgery the next month, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Kennedy passed piles of bills during his 47-year-career in the Senate and did much to improve health care and wages for low income people. He was the driving force behind President Obama's Health Care Initiative.

A few years ago I was on Cape Cod and heard Ted Kennedy was giving a speech at the Cape Cod College so I went to the college and pretended I was a student so I could sit and listen to his speech in the auditorium.

He is a wonderful speaker and was truly inspiring.

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