May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963
“All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
John F. Kennedy was born into a rich, politically connected Boston family of Irish Catholics. He and his eight siblings enjoyed a privileged childhood of elite private schools, sailboats, servants, and summer homes. During his childhood and youth, “Jack” Kennedy suffered frequent serious illnesses. Nevertheless, he strove to make his own way, writing a best-selling book while still in college at Harvard and volunteering for hazardous combat duty in the Pacific during World War II. Kennedy’s wartime service made him a hero. After a short stint as a journalist, Kennedy entered politics, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 and the U.S. Senate from 1953 to 1961.
Kennedy was the youngest person elected U.S. President and the first Roman Catholic to serve in that office. For many observers, his presidency came to represent the ascendance of youthful idealism in the aftermath of World War II. The promise of his energetic and telegenic leader was not to be fulfilled, as he was assassinated near the end of his third year in office For many Americans, the public murder of President Kennedy remains one of the most traumatic events in memory – countless American can remember exactly where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot. His shocking death stood at the forefront of a period of political and social instability in the country and the world.
“I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.”
“I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy; Dear Jack, don’t but a single vote more than necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”
“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
These pictures are needlepoint portraits from my “Persons of Interest” series. The title is a play on the phrase because the subjects of these portraits are people who have drawn the negative attention of governments and others who felt threatened by them, as well as being of particular interest to me because of how much they inspire me to be a better person and to dedicate myself to help other people. Portraits are approximate three feet square with 130,000 stitches and require 160 hours to complete.