10 Things You Didn't Know About John Kerry
Compiled by the U.S. News library staff
1. Although John Forbes Kerry considers Boston his home, he was born in Aurora, Colo., on Dec. 11, 1943. His father was a diplomat, and his mother, an heiress to the Forbes fortune, was a Girl Scout leader.
2. Kerry attended boarding school in Switzerland while his father was a foreign service officer stationed in West Berlin--at a time when the city was still in ruins after World War II.
3. Two years ahead of George W. Bush at Yale University, Kerry and the future president were both members of the secret Skull and Bones society. A skilled orator, Kerry was the president of the debate club called the Yale Political Union, and he was also selected to give the senior class speech.
4. Kerry speaks French. When he was a college student, he taught his parakeet some French words. He more recently bought a yellow canary as a gift for his wife, Teresa.
5. During his tour in Vietnam, Kerry commanded a 50-foot-long patrol boat called a "swift boat" that searched the narrow canals of the Mekong River Delta for enemy soldiers. He was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star for combat valor, and three Purple Hearts.
6. After graduating from Boston College's law school in 1976, he worked as a prosecutor. In 1982, he was elected the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. He won his Senate seat in 1984.
7. He married Julia Thorne, the twin sister of a Yale friend, and had two daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra. His divorce from Thorne became final in 1988. He married Teresa Heinz, the multimillionaire widow of Sen. John Heinz, in 1995.
8. In 2003, he wore his "lucky" leather jacket from his time in Vietnam to the hospital for his prostate cancer surgery. The surgery went well.
9. Kerry, who has been interested in powerboats and sailing since his childhood, also enjoys windsurfing and kite-surfing. He graced the cover of American Windsurfer magazine in 1998.
10. Had he been elected, Kerry would have been the first president in history with Jewish grandparents.
U.S.News & World Report
Christian Science Monitor