On August 12, 1944, JFK‘s oldest brother Joseph Kennedy Jr. was killed in action in World War II.

Joseph Patrick “Joe” Kennedy, Jr. (July 25, 1915 – August 12, 1944) was a junior officer in the United States Navy, a Naval Aviator, and a land-based bomber pilot during World War II. He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Elizabeth (née Fitzgerald) Kennedy.

Lt. John F. Kennedy and Ensign Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., circa May, 1942.

The elder brother of future U.S. President John F. Kennedy, he had been expected to become the family’s political standard-bearer, especially after his father’s political exile for supporting the appeasement policy of Neville Chamberlain in the advent of World War II. However, he was killed in action, and the task fell to his brother John. He was just 29 years of age.

In 1944, during World War II, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England. Here, then-Senator John F. Kennedy unveils a portrait of his late brother at Assumption College in 1958 as he dedicated the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Science Building at the college.

Tragically, JFK would meet an untimely end nearly two decades later, when he was assassinated in Dealey Plaza, Dallas.

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