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Joseph Kennedy, Jr.

Aviator / Political Relative

Born: 28 July 1915
Died: 12 August 1944 (wartime plane explosion)
Birthplace: Hull, Massachusetts
Best known as: The older brother of president John Kennedy
Joseph Kennedy, Jr. was the eldest son of Joseph Kennedy, Sr. and the older brother of future president John F. Kennedy. Like his brother John, he attended Choate and Harvard College; many people assumed that Joe Jr. would go on to become the family politician. He left Harvard Law School to join the Navy and served as a bomber pilot in World War II. He died when his plane, loaded with explosives for an attack on German V-2 rocket site, exploded shortly after takeoff. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross and the Air Medal for heroism. The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, which supports people with mental disabilities, was founded in his honor by the Kennedy family in 1946.
Extra credit: His sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver became head of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation in 1957; she created the first Special Olympics in 1968... Many sources list his birthplace as Boston, Massachusetts. However, his brother Edward points out in his 2009 book, True Compass, that Joe Jr. "arrived at a summer house in Hull... in 1915." Hull is a small town on the water about 10 miles southeast of Boston.

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