Though he did not live long enough to write his memoirs, John Fitzgerald Kennedy left behind a legacy of wit and wisdom that still informs the lives and hopes of the American people today. Known for his courage and charisma, he embodied the youthful, optimistic spirit of the mid-20th century American. Yet, he could also be irreverent. When questioned as to how he became a hero in World War II, he replied it was "involuntary--they sank my boat.".