“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.” -President John F. Kennedy, September, 1962
Upon taking office on January 20, 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the youngest person ever elected President of the United States of America. His administration captured the hearts and minds of many in this nation, and to this day, that brief era is still referred to with reverence and respect… a modern day Camelot. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1917, John lived in the shadow of his older brother Joseph Jr. Their father, Joseph Sr., had visions of his eldest son enjoying a career in political office. John intended to pursue other roads in life. From an elite high school John then went to Harvard University, before volunteering to serve in the US Navy during World War II. He was injured in combat when a Japanese destroyer ran down and crushed the PT boat that John commanded. Despite his injuries sustained during that incident, John rescued 10 of the 12 crew members on board and shepherded the survivors to safety, for which he became a decorated war hero. After the war, he envisioned himself a teacher or a historian.
John was not seemingly destined for a life in politics. That path was for his older brother. However, Joseph’s death during a bomber mission over Europe in 1944 meant that John would now carry his family’s expectation of public service in higher office. Elected to the US House of Representatives in 1946 and then the US Senate in 1952, John’s trajectory was seemingly without limit. However, his first experience of political failure came in 1956, when he lost an election at the Democratic Convention to become the Democratic nominee for Vice President. He spent four years regrouping, serving in the Senate, and readying for a run at the highest office in the land. In 1960, after winning the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for President, and enduring a hard-fought campaign against Republican candidate Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy capped his historic rise by winning the election. His brief presidency saw the creation of the Peace Corps, his leadership during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the beginnings of the legal framework that would lead to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, strong prosecution against organized crime, and the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Serving less than three years in office, Kennedy’s term ended in tragedy with his assassination on November 22, 1963.
On a beautiful July 4th holiday, I set off for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Quincy, Massachusetts, to learn more about the life and service of our 35th President. Planned and built over the course of 16 years, the library and museum opened in 1979. Afterward, I would take another trip that was planned long before the visit to the museum, but would have a strong resonance with the story of President Kennedy, whose greatest joy was life on the sea.
Several weeks ago when I attended Sail Boston 2017, I happened by an advertisement for a trip aboard the schooner Thomas E. Lannon. The ship was in attendance at Sail Boston, and seeing it glide through the water under full sail, I was intrigued. Despite numerous boat trips in my life, I have never been on a ship that has moved only by the power of the wind. On Independence Day I met up with some friends in Gloucester, Massachusetts to take a trip on this unique ship. Given President Kennedy’s love of the sea, it seemed fitting to include my adventure aboard the Lannon with this post, recognizing that when we go back to the sea… we are going back from whence we came.
Before I close, I wanted to highlight one last cool item. My friend Steve from New Hampshire recently upgraded his ride, and I wanted to make quick mention of it. His trusty steed, a 2008 Honda Accord LX-P sedan, had rolled 160,000 trouble-free miles over the last nine years. It was finally time to upgrade, though, and I heartily approve of his choice of vehicle- a 2017 Honda Ridgeline Sport! It looks fantastic. I’ll be eagerly await a test-drive. (Ahem).
This was truly a wonderful Independence Day weekend. I am grateful to be lisving in a part of the nation so rich in history, culture, and new opportunities for adventure. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Quincy, Massachusetts, is open every day from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission prices are: Adults- $14, College Students with ID and Seniors 62+- $12, Veterans and youth ages 13-17- $10, and children 12 and under can enter for free. Two hour sails aboard the Thomas E. Lannon are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, and $27.50 for children 16 and under. You can also schedule the Lannon for private charters, corporate events, weddings, and other services. I hope you enjoyed this lengthy and in-depth exploration of two very cool locations in Massachusetts, and thanks for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead!