“The Kennedy tragedies, colloquially called the Kennedy Curse, is a term sometimes used to describe a series of tragedies involving members of the Kennedy family. Some have called the continual misfortune of the Kennedy family a curse. The existence of such a curse has been disputed by others who have claimed that many of the tragedies have been caused by preventable reckless choices like driving drunk or flying an airplane in unsafe conditions, or by specifically choosing relatively dangerous careers such as military service or politics. They contend that if such events were to be subtracted from the Kennedy family record, then what remains would resemble a more ordinary table of events likely to occur in such a large family, such as cancer or pregnancy miscarriage. Some further contend that the notion of a curse is superstitious and is created and fostered by the media.
Believers in the curse generally cite the following core events as evidence of the family’s misfortunes:
1941 – Rosemary Kennedy was believed to be mentally retarded. However, some sources have claimed she was suffering from mental illness, such as depression. Because of her increasingly violent and severe mood swings, her father, Joe, Sr., arranged in secret for her to undergo a lobotomy. The surgery impaired her cognitive abilities even more, and as a result, she remained institutionalized until her death in 2005.
August 12, 1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. is killed in action in a mid-air aircraft explosion over eastern England while flying a hazardous mission during World War II.
May 13, 1948 – Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington died in a plane crash in France.
August 23, 1956 – Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy gives birth to their stillborn daughter, Arabella. (Although the daughter was unnamed and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to her parents with a marker reading ‘Daughter’, later reports indicated that the Kennedys had intended to name her Arabella.)
August 9, 1963 – Patrick Bouvier Kennedy died two days after his birth.
November 22, 1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas.
June 19, 1964 – U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy is involved in a plane crash in which one of his aides and the pilot were killed. He was pulled from the wreckage by fellow senator Birch E. Bayh II and spent weeks in a hospital recovering from a broken back, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.
June 6, 1968 – U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles immediately following his victory in the California Democratic presidential primary.
July 18, 1969 – In the Chappaquiddick incident, a car driven by Ted Kennedy accidentally goes off a bridge in Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. In his July 25 televised statement, Kennedy stated that on the night of the incident he wondered ‘whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys.’
August 13, 1973 – Joseph P. Kennedy II is the driver in a car accident that leaves his passenger, Pam Kelley, permanently paralyzed.
November 17, 1973 – Edward M. Kennedy, Jr. loses a portion of his right leg due to bone cancer.
April 25, 1984 – David Anthony Kennedy died from a Demerol and cocaine overdose in a Palm Beach, Florida hotel room.
December 31, 1997 – Michael LeMoyne Kennedy died in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado.
July 16, 1999 – John F. Kennedy, Jr. died when the Piper Saratoga light aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard due to pilot error.”
Pictured: “The Kennedy family at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts (September 4, 1931). Seated left to right: Robert, John, Eunice, Jean (on lap of) Joe, Sr., Rose(behind) Patricia, Kathleen, Joe, Jr. (behind) Rosemary. Ted was not born yet. The dog in foreground is ‘Buddy’.”
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