The Kennedy family is an American family of Irish descent who are prominent in American politics, government, and business. The first Kennedys to reside in America were Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy, who sailed from Ireland to America in 1849. Their son, P.J., went into politics and business. P.J. and his wife, Mary Hickey, were the parents of businessman/politician Joe, Sr. The four sons of Joe, Sr. and philanthropist/socialite Rose Fitzgerald were: Joe, Jr., John, Robert, and Ted. John served as president, while Robert and Ted both became prominent senators. The Kennedys' political involvement has revolved around the Democratic Party. Harvard University educations have been common among them, and they have contributed heavily to that university's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The wealth and glamour of the family members, as well as their extensive and continuing involvement in public service, has elevated them to iconic status over the past half-century, with the Kennedys sometimes referred to as "America's Royal Family".
Joe, Sr. originally pinned his hopes on eldest son, Joe, Jr., to enter politics and be elected president. After Joe, Jr. was killed during World War II, however, those hopes later fell on his second son, John, to become president. Soon after John was elected in 1960, he, Robert, and Ted all held prominent positions in the federal government. They received intense publicity, often emphasizing their relative youth, allure, education, and future in politics. Between 1947 and 2011, there were 64 years with a Kennedy in elective office in Washington. This spans more than a quarter of the nation's existence.
The Grant of Arms granting this Arms to all descendants of Patrick Kennedy was presented to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Sr. from the Chief Herald of Ireland on 17 March 1961, St. Patrick's Day.
17 March 1961
Between two olive branches a cubit sinister arm in armour erect, the hand holding a sheaf of four arrows, points upwards, all proper
Sable three helmets in profile Or within a bordure per saltaire Gules and Ermine
The 3 helmets on black alludes to the Arms of the O'Kennedys of Ormonde, and the red and Ermine allude the Arms of the FitzGeralds of Desmond. The olive branches and arrows symbolise America, because the olive branches and the arrows that appear in the Arms also appear in the talons of the American Eagle in the Great Seal of the United States of America.