When he was 12 years old, John F. Kennedy asked for a raise.
The year was 1929, and Kennedy was a new member of Troop 2 in Bronxville, N.Y. Now that he had reached Scout age, Kennedy reasoned, it was time for his allowance to match his new Boy Scout-level maturity.
With that in mind, he penned this letter to his father:
My recent allowance is 40 cents. This I used for aeroplanes and other playthings of childhood, but now I am a Scout and I put away my childish things. Before I would spend 20 cents of my 40 cents allowance, and in five minutes I would have empty pockets and nothing to gain and 20 cents to lose.
When I am a Scout I have to buy canteens, haversacks, blankets, searchlights, a poncho — things that will last for years and I can always use while I can’t use chocolate marshmallow sundae ice cream, and so I put in my plea for a raise of 30 cents for me to buy Scout things and pay my own way around …
Kennedy dreamed differently throughout his life, and this letter proves that his uniqueness started as a Scout. In fact, he was the first president to have been a Boy Scout. And like all presidents from William Howard Taft to Barack Obama, he served as Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America.
And so on the 50th anniversary of his death, let’s look back on the life of the man who led our nation and was a strong advocate for Scouting. Find Scouting-related photos, the condolence telegram the BSA sent Jacqueline Kennedy and much more after the jump. Continue reading