John F. Kennedy is considered a hero because of his handling of foreign policy issues and his commitment to the civil rights movement. He is widely applauded for dealing with the Cuban missile crisis and was instrumental in starting the space race that eventually put a man on the moon.
There are several reasons why John F. Kennedy was considered a hero, as he accomplished a tremendous amount in a short period of time. In regards to the civil rights movement, Kennedy attempted to pass significant pieces of legislation through Congress but failed due to strong opposition from Southern Democrats. It was not until Kennedy's assassination in November 1963 that his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was able to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, composed of most of Kennedy's legislation that had previously been rejected by Congress.
Kennedy is more widely recognized because of his foreign policy accomplishments. His handling of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 is lauded by historians as perhaps his greatest achievement, as he calmly helped avoid a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, according to The Atlantic. Kennedy also played a crucial role in significantly increasing the funding for NASA in the 1960s, as he recognized that gaining supremacy in spaceflight over the Soviet Union would help preserve the national security of the United States.