John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. (November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999), often referred to as John F. Kennedy, Jr., JFK Jr., John Jr. or John-John was an American lawyer, journalist, socialite, and publisher. He was the son of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and the younger brother of Caroline Kennedy.

* 1 Early life
* 2 Education
* 3 Career
* 4 Death
* 5 See also
* 6 External links

[edit] Early life

Born less than a month after his father was elected to the presidency, John F. Kennedy, Jr. was in the public spotlight from infancy. He had lived for most of the first three years of his life in the White House and under the eye of the media who adored his antics. The nickname "John-John" came from a reporter mishearing his father calling him ("John" spoken twice in quick succession), and the name stuck. His father was assassinated on November 22, 1963, three days before Kennedy Jr.’s third birthday, and the son’s salute of his father’s flag-draped casket during the funeral procession on his third birthday became a heartbreaking and iconic image of the 1960s.

John Jr. grew up primarily on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Even as a boy, he was often photographed and still referred to publicly as "John-John" although Kennedy family members themselves did not use the nickname [1]. After his father’s death, his mother was married to Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis from 1968 until Onassis’s death in 1975, when John was 14 years old. By most accounts, his stepfather did not play a particularly significant role in young John’s life. However, his real paternal figure from the ages of 3 to 8 was his uncle, Bobby Kennedy, who took Jackie, John, and Caroline under his wing following JFK’s death. This led to some jealousies and tensions between them and his own children, who felt neglected, and between Jackie and Ethel Kennedy, because Bobby also had the same affection for Jackie that her husband had.

[edit] Education

Although John F. Kennedy, Jr. attended Collegiate School in New York City for the first through tenth grades, he graduated high school from Phillips Academy. Subsequently, Kennedy matriculated at Brown University, graduating in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in history. At Brown, Kennedy was a member of Phi Psi, an inactive chapter of the national Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. In 1989, he earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from New York University School of Law. He failed the New York Bar exam twice before passing on the third try.

[edit] Career

He spoke at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a New York City assistant district attorney from 1989 to 1993. In 1995, he founded George, a glossy politics-as-lifestyle monthly which sometimes took editorial aim even at members of his own family. The magazine ceased publication shortly after Kennedy’s death.

Through the 1980s until his death, Kennedy was an often-seen and much-photographed personality in Manhattan. He married Carolyn Bessette on September 21, 1996 on Cumberland Island in Georgia. He dated Madonna and Daryl Hannah prior to his marriage.

[edit] Death

On July 16, 1999, Kennedy was killed along with his wife and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, when the aircraft he was piloting, N9253N, a Piper Saratoga II HP, crashed on a hazy night into the Atlantic Ocean en route from Essex County Airport in West Caldwell, New Jersey, to Martha’s Vineyard, where the Kennedy family has a vacation house. Kennedy and his wife were traveling to the wedding of cousin Rory Kennedy, which was then postponed. Lauren was to have been dropped off at Martha’s Vineyard.

Kennedy was a relatively inexperienced pilot, with 310 hours of flight experience, including 55 hours of night flying and 36 hours in the high-performance Piper Saratoga. He had completed about half of an instrument training course but was not rated for flying in low visibility conditions. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation found no evidence of mechanical malfunction and determined that the probable cause was "the pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation. Factors in the accident were haze, and the dark night." The report noted that spatial disorientation as a result of continued VFR flight into adverse weather conditions is a regular cause of fatal airplane accidents. According to literature found in most FAA approved flight training books, a pilot’s inability to see the horizon leads to spatial disorientation. The inner ear may give the pilot the impression that the plane is turning when it isn’t. It takes many hours of instrument training for a pilot to be able to fly in IFR conditions, conditions that most likely existed when Kennedy was flying on his route to Martha’s Vineyard. Over the water at night there are few lights and the lights that existed were most likely obscured by the haze.

Kyle Bailey, a pilot believed to have been the last person to see Kennedy alive at Essex County Airport, subsequently stated that he had cancelled his own intended journey to Martha’s Vineyard because the weather on the route was "a little too hazy." It also emerged that while Kennedy had made the journey from Essex County Airport to the Vineyard several times before, he had never made it without an instructor aboard or at night — factors which can make a flight challenging, especially for a relatively inexperienced, non-instrument-rated pilot. Kennedy’s flight instructor (CFI) stated that he offered to fly with Kennedy on the fatal journey but Kennedy replied that, "I want to do it alone." The instructor also stated that he was uncomfortable with Kennedy making a flight alone in a high-performance airplane at night, over open water and into haze, but did not insist that Kennedy remain on the ground.

During the memorial service on July 23, Kennedy’s uncle, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, said that, "We dared to think…that this John Kennedy would live to comb grey hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But, like his father, he had every gift but length of years." [2] And of his nephew’s marriage, he invoked what had been said of his brother’s Presidency: both lasted 1,000 days. U.S. President Bill Clinton attended the service, and ordered that the flag at the White House be lowered to half-staff in honor of John F. Kennedy, Jr.

At President Clinton’s orders, warships of the U.S. Navy earlier assisted in the search for the downed plane, which was somewhat unusual. With the permission of Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Kennedy, his wife and sister-in-law were buried at sea off the Massachusetts coast after a ceremony aboard the destroyer USS Briscoe.

A large undisclosed payment was made to the Bessette family from the Kennedy family [3]. It was reported that this payment was made to avoid a possible high-profile lawsuit, since the accident was caused by human error.

Just as his father’s death is mired in conspiracy theory controversy, the story of John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s death has also drawn the attention of conspiracy theorists.

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