Few families in history have achieved the fame and renown as the Kennedys of the United States. A family of great wealth, power and prestige they attained unparalleled social and political success, but this was offset by a series of tragedies that gave birth to the myth of the “Kennedy Curse”,
The patriarch of he family, Joe Kennedy, was born in 1888 and through a combination of hard work and astute business dealings built up a position of considerable wealth. Joe and his wife Rose had nine children, including John, Robert and Edward, all of whom were destined for high office in the United States.
John joined the Navy during the Second World War and became a decorated war hero as captain of the naval vessel PT 109. His older brother Joe, was killed in action as a pilot over the English Channel in 1944 and his older sister Kathleen was also killed in a plane crash in 1947.
John and Robert become increasingly active in Democrat politics during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and began stellar careers that would see John become the 35th President of the United States in 1961, with Robert reaching the position of the Attorney General the same year. Edward Kennedy joined the US Senate in 1962.
Then unbelievably both John and Robert were shot dead by assassins, John in 1963 and Robert in 1968, leaving their families, country and the Western world reeling in the aftermath of the tragedies. These events were compounded by the scandal that embroiled younger brother Edward in 1969, when the car he was driving fell off a bridge at Chappaquiddick, trapping the young woman inside – who drowned.
To add even further to myth of the Kennedy Curse, John F. Kennedy Junior, the only surviving son of President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline, was killed in an aircraft crash in 1999.
One of the most significant dynasties of the 20th century the Kennedy clan continues to influence America today. Joseph P. Kennedy III – grandson of Robert – and Edward Kennedy Jr. – son of Edward Snr, are both active in the current US political scene.
Image: The Kennedy Family ( L-R: Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy, Jean Kennedy (on father’s lap) Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Patricia Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. (behind), Rosemary Kennedy) at Hyannis Port, 04 September 1931 – greatness and tragedy would accompany them across the next fifty years, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.