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On a frigid winters day January 20 1961 John Fitzgerald Kennedy took the oath of office as the 35th President of the United States At age 43 he was the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic ever elected He had won by one of the smallest margins of victory only 115000 popular votes This is the speech he delivered announcing the dawn of a new era as young Americans born in the 20th century first assumed leadership of the Nation Of Irish descent he was born in Brookline Massachusetts on May 29 1917 Graduating from Harvard in 1940 he entered the Navy In 1943 when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer Kennedy despite grave injuries led the survivors through perilous waters to safety Back from the war he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area advancing in 1953 to the Senate He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12 1953 In 1955 while recuperating from a back operation he wrote Profiles in Courage which won the Pulitzer Prize in history In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic nomination for Vice President and four years later was a first-ballot nominee for President Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate Richard M Nixon Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President On November 22 1963 when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassins bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas Texas Kennedy was the youngest man elected President he was the youngest to die Deeply rooted in tradition the presidential inauguration marks a new beginning for both the United States and its brand new president Beginning with General George Washingtons 1789 inauguration in New York City many presidents have added their own unique traditions that will continue into 2001 The oath of office is the main focus
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