John Kennedy, Jr.


John Kennedy Salutes 1999

On behalf of JFK Lancer: Our deepest sympathy goes to the families of John, Carolyn and Lauren. These too young, tragic deaths remind us all how precious life is and how important it is to live completely each day. Thank God we know the Kennedy family has such strong faith to help them get through these times. I hope each of you find comfort in this somehow.

It is so unbelievable that we have lost John Jr. I know we dreamed he would have his own children to share all the things dear to him, the father-child experiences he missed in his own life. And for Caroline to have another loss of someone she loved so deeply, no one should have to bear so much pain.

John, selfishly we wished you to be with us much longer. I know you are now with your mother and - finally - your father. Rest in peace.


Debra Conway
JFK Lancer

 "Only those who dare greatly achieve greatly." Robert F. Kennedy


"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, our sweat, and in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came."

President John F. Kennedy,
Australian Ambassador's Dinner for the America's Cup Crews,
September 14, 1962, Newport, R.I.

Hear it on raRealAudio

Text of the eulogy delivered by
John F. Kennedy Jr.'s uncle, Sen. Edward
Kennedy, D-Mass:

Thank you, President and Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea, for being here today.
You've shown extraordinary kindness through the course of this week.

Once, when they asked John what he would do if he went into politics and was
elected president, he said, ``I guess the first thing is call up Uncle Teddy
and gloat.'' I loved that. It was so like his father.

From the first day of his life, John seemed to belong not only to our family,
but to the American family.

The whole world knew his name before he did.

A famous photograph showed John racing across the lawn as his father landed
in the White House helicopter and swept up John in his arms. When my brother
saw that photo, he exclaimed, ``Every mother in the United States is saying,
'Isn't it wonderful to see that love between a son and his father, the way
that John races to be with his father.' Little do they know, that son would
have raced right by his father to get to that helicopter.''

But John was so much more than those long ago images emblazoned in our minds.
He was a boy who grew into a man with a zest for life and a love of
adventure. He was a pied piper who brought us all along. He was blessed with
a father and mother who never thought anything mattered more than their

When they left the White House, Jackie's soft and gentle voice and
unbreakable strength of spirit guided him surely and securely to the future.
He had a legacy, and he learned to treasure it. He was part of a legend, and
he learned to live with it. Above all, Jackie gave him a place to be himself,
to grow up, to laugh and cry, to dream and strive on his own.

John learned that lesson well. He had amazing grace. He accepted who he was,
but he cared more about what he could and should become. He saw things that
could be lost in the glare of the spotlight. And he could laugh at the
absurdity of too much pomp and circumstance.

He loved to travel across the city by subway, bicycle and roller blade. He
lived as if he were unrecognizable, although he was known by everyone he
encountered. He always introduced himself, rather than take anything for
granted. He drove his own car and flew his own plane, which is how he wanted
it. He was the king of his domain.

He thought politics should be an integral part of our popular culture, and
that popular culture should be an integral part of politics. He transformed
that belief into the creation of ``George.'' John shaped and honed a fresh,
often irreverent journal. His new political magazine attracted a new
generation, many of whom had never read about politics before.

John also brought to ``George'' a wit that was quick and sure. The premier
issue of ``George'' caused a stir with a cover photograph of Cindy Crawford
dressed as George Washington with a bare belly button. The ``Reliable
Source'' in The Washington Post printed a mock cover of ``George'' showing
not Cindy Crawford, but me dressed as George Washington, with my belly button
exposed. I suggested to John that perhaps I should have been the model for
the first cover of his magazine. Without missing a beat, John told me that he
stood by his original editorial decision.

John brought this same playful wit to other aspects of his life. He
campaigned for me during my 1994 election and always caused a stir when he
arrived in Massachusetts. Before one of his trips to Boston, John told the
campaign he was bringing along a companion, but would need only one hotel

Interested, but discreet, a senior campaign worker picked John up at the
airport and prepared to handle any media barrage that might accompany John's
arrival with his mystery companion. John landed with the companion all right
- an enormous German shepherd dog named Sam he had just rescued from the

He loved to talk about the expression on the campaign worker's face and the
reaction of the clerk at the Charles Hotel when John and Sam checked in.

I think now not only of these wonderful adventures, but of the kind of person
John was. He was the son who quietly gave extraordinary time and ideas to the
Institute of Politics at Harvard that bears his father's name. He brought to
the institute his distinctive insight that politics could have a broader
appeal, that it was not just about elections, but about the larger forces
that shape our whole society.

John was also the son who was once protected by his mother. He went on to
become her pride - and then her protector in her final days. He was the
Kennedy who loved us all, but who especially cherished his sister Caroline,
celebrated her brilliance, and took strength and joy from their lifelong
mutual admiration society.

And for a thousand days, he was a husband who adored the wife who became his
perfect soul mate. John's father taught us all to reach for the moon and the
stars. John did that in all he did - and he found his shining star when he
married Carolyn Bessette.

How often our family will think of the two of them, cuddling affectionately
on a boat, surrounded by family - aunts, uncles, Caroline and Ed and their
children, Rose, Tatania, and Jack, Kennedy cousins, Radizwill cousins,
Shriver cousins, Smith cousins, Lawford cousins - as we sailed Nantucket

Then we would come home, and before dinner, on the lawn where his father had
played, John would lead a spirited game of touch football. And his beautiful
young wife, the new pride of the Kennedys, would cheer for John's team and
delight her nieces and nephews with her somersaults.

We loved Carolyn. She and her sister Lauren were young extraordinary women of
high accomplishment - and their own limitless possibilities. We mourn their
loss and honor their lives. The Bessette and Freeman families will always be
part of ours.

John was a serious man who brightened our lives with his smile and his grace.
He was a son of privilege who founded a program called Reaching Up to train
better caregivers for the mentally disabled.

He joined Wall Street executives on the Robin Hood Foundation to help the
city's impoverished children. And he did it all so quietly, without ever
calling attention to himself.

John was one of Jackie's two miracles. He was still becoming the person he
would be, and doing it by the beat of his own drummer. He had only just
begun. There was in him a great promise of things to come.

The Irish Ambassador recited a poem to John's father and mother soon after
John was born. I can hear it again now, at this different and difficult

``We wish to the new child,

A heart that can be beguiled,

By a flower,

That the wind lifts,

As it passes.

If the storms break for him,

May the trees shake for him,

Their blossoms down.

In the night that he is troubled,

May a friend wake for him,

So that his time be doubled,

And at the end of all loving and love

May the Man above,

Give him a crown.''

We thank the millions who have rained blossoms down on John's memory. He and
his bride have gone to be with his mother and father, where there will never
be an end to love. He was lost on that troubled night, but we will always
wake for him, so that his time, which was not doubled, but cut in half, will
live forever in our memory, and in our beguiled and broken hearts.

We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would
live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But like his
father, he had every gift but length of years.

We who have loved him from the day he was born, and watched the remarkable
man he became, now bid him farewell.

God bless you, John and Carolyn. We love you and we always will.


A normal man who lived a decidedly un-normal life. Private like his mother and sister but used the press creatively for promotion of causes he believed in. A late bloomer, just coming into his own since his mother's passing and his marriage to Carolyn.

He was confusing to this generation. The prince of Camelot to the older ones. We look for heroes, he preferred to take a while to find his focus. He preferred other ways of public service for now. But who knows what his future might have held?





the salute1963

Now we have a few more photos to add to our memory album. Good bye John John.

Rest In Peace.

Caroline and John1998

He could laugh at himself. He had the "Kennedy style" and grace.
The promise of more to come. Who can imagine if he desired to live up to our expectations?

We'll never know but we can still dream...

John and Carolyn1999

A Tragic Loss

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