The Presidency: Turning the Corner

For President Kennedy, in Florida on what was to have been a relaxed holiday, the year ended bleakly. His father lay weak and ill in St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach, his side paralyzed and his voice still. Joseph Kennedy's stroke was further complicated by sudden pneumonia; he had to be wheeled to an operating room for a tracheotomy that drained off bronchial secretions and eased his breathing. The pneumonia subsided following the operation. Emerging from his two-a-day visits to his father's bedside, the President looked weary and worried.

The President also suffered a disappointment relating to his own...

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