John F. Kerry was born on December 11, 1943 at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado outside Denver. His father, Richard Kerry, was an Army Air Corps test pilot during World War Two and his mother, Rosemary Kerry, also served during that war in the Red Cross in Paris.
Kerry’s family returned to their home state of Massachusetts shortly after his birth. Because his father was a Foreign Service Office the family moved often when John was young and so he attended several schools as a child. For example, he went to a Swiss boarding school at age 11 while his family lived in Berlin. As a boy, Kerry often spent time alone. For example, he biked through France or camped alone in Sherwood Forest.
In 1957, Kerry was sent to Massachusetts to attend Fessenden School in West Newton. The following year, he enrolled at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, and graduated from there in 1962. There he learned skills in public speaking and he became deeply interested in politics for the first time. In November of 1960 he gave his first political speech in favour of John F. Kennedy’s election to the White House.
In 1962, Kerry entered Yale University. There he majored in political science and graduated in 1966. In his sophomore year Kerry became president of the Political Unit. There he won a lot of debate contests against other college students form across the nation. In March 1965, he won the Ten Eyck prize as the best orator in junior class for a speech that was critical of U.S. foreign policy because of the Vietnam War.
From 1966-1970 John Kerry volunteered to serve in Vietnam. There he served on a Swift Boat in the river deltas, one of the most dangerous assignment of the war. During his time in Vietnam he earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. On March 1, 1970 he officially left active duty.
Anti-Vietnam War activism