[Senate Document 106-7]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



                     JOHN  FITZGERALD  KENNEDY  Jr.

                               1960 -1999

                           Memorial Tributes

                                in  the

                     One  Hundred  Sixth  Congress

                        of  the  United  States




          Printed by authority of S. Res. 161, 106th Congress
                         Senate Document 106-7


                           WASHINGTON : 1999



                      Compiled under the direction

                                 of the

                      Joint Committee on Printing

                                   C O N T E N T S

             Proceedings in the Senate:
                Introduction of S. Res. 157........................
                Introduction of S. Res. 161........................
                Tributes by Senators:
                    Boxer, Barbara, of California..................
                    Byrd, Robert C., of West Virginia..............
                    Daschle, Tom, of South Dakota..................
                    Dodd, Christopher J., of Connecticut...........
                    Dorgan, Byron L., of North Dakota..............
                    Durbin, Richard J., of Illinois................
                    Feingold, Russell D., of Wisconsin.............
                    Hatch, Orrin G., of Utah.......................
                    Lautenberg, Frank, of New Jersey...............
                    Mack, Connie, of Florida.......................
                    Mikulski, Barbara A., of Maryland..............
                    Moynihan, Daniel Patrick, of New York..........
                    Reid, Harry, of Nevada.........................
                    Sarbanes, Paul S., of Maryland.................
                    Schumer, Charles E., of New York...............
                    Thompson, Fred, of Tennessee...................
                    Thurmond, Strom, of South Carolina.............
                    Warner, John W., of Virginia...................
                    Wellstone, Paul, of Minnesota..................
             Proceedings in the House of Representatives:
                Tributes by Representatives:
                    Engel, Eliot L., of New York...................
             Statements from the White House:
                President William J. Clinton.......................
                Vice President Albert Gore Jr......................
             Memorial Services
                Church of St. Thomas More..........................
                    Special Tribute by Senator Edward M. Kennedy...
                    Reading by Anne Freeman........................
                    Reading by Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg........
             Commentary and Tributes
                In His Own Words, Los Angeles Times................
                A Prince, But Also a Populist, Newsday.............
                Bessette Sisters: Friends, Colleagues Share 
                  Memories of Two Standouts, The New York Daily 
                Kennedy Genuine Article, The New York Daily News...
                The Beliefs That Survive a Death in the Family, The 
                  Boston Globe.....................................
                More Than Mere Glamour, The New York Times.........
                JFK Jr.: Charity's Dream Prize, The Washington Post
                Son of Privilege Fathered Many Good Works, USA 
                JFK Jr. Kept his Charitable Work Private, But 
                  Helped Thousands, The Boston Globe...............
                Post Reporter Recalls JFK Jr. Fondly, The New York 
                John F. Kennedy--The Man I Knew, The Man I'll Miss, 
                  The New York Post................................
                Rubles for John-John, The Washington Post..........
                America's Family, The Wall Street Journal..........
                He Quietly Laid Gifts of Aid Before Hundreds, The 
                  New York Daily News..............................
                The Kennedy Curse, and Other Myths, The New York 
                Words of Admiration and Remembrance, USA Today.....
                Grace Under the Glare, Time Magazine...............
                Brought Up to Be a Good Man, Time Magazine.........
                The Boy We Called John-John, Time Magazine.........
                Coming of Age in Public, The New Yorker Magazine...
                The Actor, The New Yorker Magazine.................
                TriBeCa Waits for Normalcy, The New Yorker Magazine
                A Legacy of Public Service, Time Magazine..........
                Answering the Call, Time Magazine..................
                Goodbye to Our Boy, Time Magazine..................
                ``That Discourtesy of Death,'' The Weekly Standard.
                Remembering John, People Magazine..................
                A Death in the American Family, Newsweek Memorial 
                A Tribute, Newsweek Memorial Issue.................
                Great Expectations, Vanity Fair....................
                Editor's Letter, George Magazine...................
                Statement of Paul G. Kirk Jr., Board Chairman of 
                  the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, John F. 
                  Kennedy Library Newsletter.......................

                           B I O G R A P H Y

    John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., Editor-in-Chief of George 
Magazine was born in Washington, D.C., November 25, 1960 to 
then President-Elect John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier 
Kennedy. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, 
Massachusetts, graduating in 1979. In 1983 he graduated from 
Brown University with a degree in History and took a position 
in the New York City Office of Business Development in 1984.

    John spoke movingly before the Democratic National 
Convention in Atlanta in 1988. Mindful of the social 
responsibilities his family had always undertaken, he started 
Reaching Up, a support and advanced training program for those 
working with people with mental retardation in 1989.

    Turning to law, John graduated from New York University Law 
School in 1989 and held a job as Prosecutor in the Manhattan 
District Attorney's Office from 1989 to 1993. He was a founding 
member of the Profile In Courage Award Committee of the John F. 
Kennedy Library Foundation and served on it from 1989 until his 
death in 1999. John married Carolyn Bessette in 1996, the same 
year he launched George Magazine.

    John Kennedy Jr. died with his wife Carolyn and sister-in-
law Lauren Bessette in his private plane when it crashed into 
the sea near Martha's Vineyard on July 16, 1999.

                           Memorial  Tributes




                      JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY Jr.

                       PROCEEDINGS IN THE SENATE

                                             Monday, July 19, 1999.


    The Senate met at 12:01 p.m. and was called to order by the 
President pro tempore [Mr. Thurmond].
    The Chaplain, 
Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, offered the following prayer:

    Gracious God, You have made this life but a small part of 
the whole of eternity. You have defeated the enemy of death and 
made it a transition in living. Our life here on earth is only 
an inch on the yardstick of forever. You are Lord of earth and 
of heaven. It is in this confidence that we join this prayer 
with the millions of prayers for the Kennedy and Bessette 
families. Grant them supernatural strength, comfort, and 
courage in their time of immense anguish over the plane 
accident involving John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn, and 
her sister, Lauren Bessette. O dear God, we speak of these 
three remarkable young leaders in the present tense for, 
regardless of the outcome of this tragic accident, they are 
alive with You.

    This morning our hearts go out in profound love and caring 
for our friend, Senator Ted Kennedy, and the entire Kennedy 
family. They have endured the excruciating pain of grief so 
often. And yet, through it all, they have shown us the 
resiliency of faith in You and the uplifting strength of an 
indefatigable commitment to public service. No American family 
has given more or served this Nation more faithfully. Now we 
praise You for the life of John F. Kennedy Jr.--for his 
winsome, winning way, for his commitment to service and, along 
with his wife Carolyn, for his affirmation of life.

    Now we ask You to continue to surround the families with 
Your everlasting arms and heal their aching hearts through Him 
who is the Resurrection and the Life. Amen.

                         RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT

                                             Monday, July 19, 1999.

        Senate Resolution 157--Relative to the Disappearance of

             John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette Kennedy,

                          and Lauren Bessette
    Mr. LOTT (for himself, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Abraham, Mr. Akaka, 
Mr. Allard, Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Bayh, Mr. Bennett, 
Mr. Biden, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Bond, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Breaux, Mr. 
Brownback, Mr. Bryan, Mr. Bunning, Mr. Burns, Mr. Byrd, Mr. 
Campbell, Mr. Chafee, Mr. Cleland, Mr. Cochran, Ms. Collins, 
Mr. Conrad, Mr. Coverdell, Mr. Craig, Mr. Crapo, Mr. DeWine, 
Mr. Dodd, Mr. Domenici, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Edwards, 
Mr. Enzi, Mr. Feingold, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. 
Frist, Mr. Gorton, Mr. Graham, Mr. Gramm, Mr. Grams, Mr. 
Grassley, Mr. Gregg, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Hatch, Mr. 
Helms, Mr. Hollings, Mr. Hutchinson, Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. 
Inhofe, Mr. Inouye, Mr. Jeffords, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. 
Kerrey, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Kohl, Mr. Kyl, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. 
Lautenberg, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Levin, Mr. Lieberman, Mrs. Lincoln, 
Mr. Lugar, Mr. Mack, Mr. McCain, Mr. McConnell, Ms. Mikulski, 
Mr. Moynihan, Mr. Murkowski, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Nickles, Mr. 
Reed, Mr. Reid, Mr. Robb, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. 
Roth, Mr. Santorum, Mr. Sarbanes, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Sessions, 
Mr. Shelby, Mr. Smith of Oregon, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Specter, Mr. 
Stevens, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Thurmond, Mr. 
Torricelli, Mr. Voinovich, Mr. Warner, Mr. Wellstone, and Mr. 
Wyden) submitted the following resolution; which was considered 
and agreed to:

                              S. Res. 157
        Whereas it is with profound sorrow and regret that the 
        Senate has learned that John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., 
        his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister 
        Lauren Bessette have been missing since the early 
        morning hours of Saturday, July 17, 1999;

        Whereas John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. is the son of the 
        late John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the 
        United States of America and Senator from 
        Massachusetts, and nephew of the late Senator Robert 
        Francis Kennedy of New York, and of Senator Edward 
        Moore Kennedy of Massachusetts, and a beloved member of 
        the Kennedy family, which has given countless years of 
        service to this country; and

        Whereas the heart of the Nation goes out to the Kennedy 
        and Bessette families as search efforts continue in the 
        waters off Martha's Vineyard: Now, therefore, be it

        Resolved, That the Senate, when it adjourns on Monday, 
        July 19, 1999, does so as a further mark of respect for 
        the grieving families, and directs the Secretary to 
        transmit a copy of this resolution to the Kennedy and 
        Bessette families.

                                           Thursday, July 22, 1999.

Senate Resolution 161--to Authorize the Printing of ``Memorial Tributes 
                    to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.''
    Mr. DASCHLE (for himself and Mr. Lott) submitted the 
following resolution, which was considered and agreed to:
                              S. Res. 161
        Whereas John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. was a notable and 
        influential public figure who was born into and lived 
        his life in the public sphere;

        Whereas John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. comported himself 
        with modesty and dignity, consistently displaying an 
        admirable grace under pressure and a genuine concern 
        for the well-being of other persons, in the grand 
        tradition of his family;

        Whereas John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. was a significant 
        figure who ably represented a family dedicated to 
        public service, and who personally won a place in the 
        hearts of the American people;

        Whereas the Nation mourns the tragic loss of John 
        Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette 
        Kennedy, and her sister Lauren Bessette; and

        Whereas on July 19, 1999, the Senate expressed its 
        condolences to the Kennedy and Bessette families: Now, 
        therefore, be it


             Section 1. Printing of the ``Memorial Tributes

                    to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.''
        (a) In General.--There shall be printed, as a Senate 
        Document, the book entitled ``Memorial Tributes to John 
        Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.'' prepared under the supervision 
        of the Secretary of the Senate.
        (b) Specifications.--The document described in 
        subsection (a) shall include illustrations and shall be 
        in such style, form, manner, and binding as is directed 
        by the Joint Committee on Printing after consultation 
        with the Secretary of the Senate.

                          TRIBUTES BY SENATORS

               The Honorable Barbara Boxer of California
    Mr. President, Californians have been deeply saddened and 
moved by a number of losses we have faced. One involves the 
death of the senior member of our California Democratic 
delegation, George Brown, who was a beloved Congressman on both 
sides of the aisle. As a matter of fact, one of the Republicans 
in the House said on his passing, if everyone was like George 
Brown, we would not need to go on retreats to find out how to 
get along better with one another.
    George Brown was that kind of person. George was a man of 
great compassion, of great reason. He was consistent. He never 
changed his views according to the polls. He was a mentor of 
mine when he ran for the Senate in 1970, which takes us back a 
long time. I very proudly worked on his campaign simply as a 
volunteer. He was an advocate for science and technology, and 
although he was 79 years old, he was an ageless person. He had 
so many young ideas, and he was so future oriented.
    Then, of course, the Nation faced the tragedy that befell 
the Kennedy family once again with the tragic loss of John F. 
Kennedy Jr., and his wife and her sister. The press was calling 
and asking for a comment. I said it truly is a tragedy beyond 
words. I think at times such as these all you can really do is 
pray that the family will be able to cope with a loss of such 
    I particularly want to spend a moment talking about my 
colleague, Ted Kennedy, because after all the tragedies with 
which the family has had to deal, Ted has become a real father 
figure to the entire next generation of Kennedys. I know how 
Senator Kennedy teaches those of us who have not been here as 
long as he, how he monitors us and guides us.
    I can just imagine the close bond he had with John Kennedy 
Jr., and what this has done to his heart. I know when he does 
come back, every one of us will give him our strength.
    When President Kennedy died, Robert Kennedy said the 

        When I think of President Kennedy, I think of what 
        Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet:
                When he shall die,
                take him and cut him out into stars
                and he shall make the face of heaven so fine
                that all the world will be in love with night
                and pay no worship to the garish sun.

    I think when we think of John Kennedy Jr., I will think of 
him sharing in those bright stars.
    To close, I have a poem that was written by someone who is 
in her thirties. I think the words will have meaning for those 
who look to John, Jr., for their future. This is what it is 
called: ``If Only We Could Have Said Goodbye.''

        Our special son
        the namesake he
        of honorable tradition
        to serve our great country

        Passed down through generations
        of dedicated, determined souls
        He understood our devotion
        and carried with him a nation's hope

        This honor never did he shun
        In public he graced us well
        With patience he regaled us
        with tales
        Of hiding behind
        the Oval's chair,
        Or that indelible salute

        We mourned together his father's fate
        While marveling his mother's grace
        These traits were passed on to Kennedy's own
        to John, indeed

        Could he be the return of Camelot?
        We wondered
        and inside we cheered this Kennedy's fate
        with the wish that he could fulfill in his time
        those hopes left so unmade

        Or perhaps
        just share with us,
        a bit of the mystery, a bit of your name
        If only we could have said goodbye

    Mr. President, it is a sad day across this land. Our 
prayers are with the Kennedy family and the Bessette family.
    I thank the majority leader for yielding me this time.

             The Honorable Robert C. Byrd of West Virgina
    Mr. President, the small, serious, tousled-hair lad seemed, 
even at the tender age of 3, to know just the right thing to 
do. With a straight back and a smart, entirely proper, military 
salute, John F. Kennedy Jr. expressed the grief of an entire 
Nation with a dignity far beyond his years. He was only 3, yet 
he gave the Nation a lasting, memorable, indelible image, an 
image that is remembered by millions and captured on videotape 
for generations to come.
    Now John F. Kennedy Jr. has, himself, been lost at an age 
far too young for easy acceptance by a country which had 
affectionately watched him grow to manhood. His untimely death 
feels as heavy and oppressive as the too hot, too dry summer in 
which he lived his final days.
    Words fail to express the special deprivation that the 
human spirit feels when the young, the beautiful, the handsome, 
the vital among us are suddenly taken from our midst before 
they have fulfilled their potential promise. Especially, in 
this case, the mind reels at the spectre of yet another 
Kennedy, taken too soon, yet another unbearable sorrow for this 
family which has had so much sorrow to bear. Yet this 
incredible American family will undoubtedly once again 
demonstrate to the Nation that they will endure, and that it is 
how one lives, and not how one dies, that ultimately matters.
    John Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn, and his sister-in-law 
Lauren Bessette have vanished in the summer night in the 
springtime of their years, and our hearts go out to the 
Bessette and the Kennedy families. I am particularly saddened 
for my good friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. He is a great Senator. 
He is a great figure on the American political stage. I know 
that his heart must be broken by this latest family tragedy, 
yet I am confident that his expansive spirit and his deep faith 
in God will see him safely to a harbor of peace and of comfort.
    My wife Erma and I offer our prayers and our deepest 
sympathies to him and to the families at this saddest of sad 
    Ted Kennedy, in July of 1996--3 years ago--presented to me 
a book titled ``American Poetry.''
    I have chosen a bit of poetry by Nathaniel Hawthorne from 
that book for the Record today. It seems to me that it is most 
appropriate for this occasion.
    The title of this poem is ``The Ocean.''

        The Ocean has its silent caves,
        Deep, quiet and alone;
        Though there be fury on the waves,
        Beneath them there is none.
        The awful spirits of the deep
        Hold their communion there;
        And there are those for whom we weep,
        The young, the bright, the fair.
        Calmly the wearied seamen rest
        Beneath their own blue sea.
        The ocean solitudes are blest,
        For there is purity.
        The earth has guilt, the earth has care,
        Unquiet are its graves;
        But peaceful sleep is ever there,
        Beneath the dark blue waves.

    Mr. President, I am going to honor the request by the 
distinguished majority leader, and I am going to yield the 
floor now. But I will ask unanimous consent that I may be 
recognized to make a second speech, to which I had alluded 
earlier, which will probably require no longer than 15 minutes 
at that time.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without 
objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. BYRD. I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.


            The Honorable Thomas A. Daschle of South Dakota
    Like so many of us, I listened all weekend long to the news 
reports, and held onto hope long past the point when it was 
reasonable to do so.
    I wanted so much for there to be a different ending--for 
John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren to 
somehow, miraculously, have survived. So like people all across 
our Nation, all across the world, I kept a vigil.
    Then, Sunday night, the Coast Guard announced that the 
rescue mission had become a recovery mission.
    Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy and 
Bessette families. We pray that God will comfort them and help 
them bear this grief that must seem unbearable now. We offer 
our sympathies, as well, to the many friends of John Kennedy, 
Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and Lauren Bessette. They, too, have 
suffered a great loss.
    I want my friend, Senator Edward Kennedy, John's uncle, to 
know, as I have told him personally, we are praying for him.
    Just last week, Senator Kennedy stood on this floor and 
spoke about people who had died too young, and the heartbroken 
families they had left behind. He urged us to pass real patient 
protections so other families would not have to experience that 
same pain.
    Today, once again, it is Senator Kennedy's family, along 
with the Bessette family, who are experiencing the pain of 
death that comes far too soon.
    More than a century ago, the great New England poet, Emily 
Dickinson, sent a letter to a friend who had lost someone very 
dear. ``When not inconvenient to your heart,'' she wrote, 
``please remember us, and let us help you carry [your grief], 
if you grow tired.''
    I know I speak for many of us when I say to Senator 
Kennedy: Please--if there is any way--let us help you carry 
your grief if you grow tired. You and your family have given 
our Nation so much. Let us--if we can--give something back to 
    All weekend, I watched the news. Over and over again, I saw 
that heartbreaking image of the little boy saluting his 
father's coffin. Then came the announcement that the little boy 
was gone, too. And just when I thought I finally understood the 
magnitude of the loss, I listened to the news again this 
morning, and I heard friends of John F. Kennedy Jr. say they 
felt certain he would have run for public office one day--
probably for a seat in the United States Senate.
    I don't know if that is true. I do know that John F. 
Kennedy Jr. believed deeply in public service. He believed what 
his father had said: ``To those whom much is given, much is 
required.'' If he had chosen to run for the Senate, I have no 
doubt he would have succeeded, and he would have been a great 
    I suspect we will regret for a long, long time what John 
Kennedy did not have time to give us. I hope we will also 
remember, and treasure, what he did have time to give us. Those 
moments of joy when he was a little boy playing in the Oval 
Office with his sister and father; his stunning example of 
courage when he said good-bye to his father.
    I hope we will remember:
    His kindness and surprising humility; his inventiveness, 
and his professional success; the good humor and amazing grace 
with which he accepted celebrity; the dignity with which he 
bore his sorrows; and the happiness he found in his life, 
particularly in his marriage.
    Some years ago, another young man died too young. Alex 
Coffin, the son of Reverend William Sloane Coffin, was driving 
in a terrible storm when his car plunged into Boston Harbor and 
he drowned. He was 24 years old. Ten days later, William Sloane 
Coffin spoke about Alex's death to his parishioners at 
Riverside Church in New York City. I want to read a short 
section of his sermon, because I think it bears repeating 
    The one thing no one should ever say about Alex's death--or 
the death of any young person--is that it is God's will. ``No 
one,'' Reverend Coffin said, ``knows enough to say that . . . 
God does not go around this world with his finger on triggers, 
his fist around knives, his hands on steering wheels. God is 
dead set against all unnatural deaths . . . My own consolation 
lies in knowing that . . . when the waves closed over the 
sinking car, God's heart was the first of all our hearts to 
    None of us knows why John Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette 
Kennedy, and Lauren Bessette were taken from us in the prime of 
their lives. We do not know why the Kennedy family has had to 
endure so much sorrow over so many years. Nor do we know why 
the Bessette family has to suffer such an incomprehensibly huge 
loss all at once. What we do know is that the hearts of the 
Kennedys and the Bessettes were not the only hearts that broke 
when the waves closed over that sinking plane last Friday 
night. We are all heartbroken by the deaths of three such 
remarkable young people.
    Not long ago, I came across a book of poems by another man 
who also lost a young son. The man's name is David Ray. His 
son's name was Sam. Sam died, at 19, also in a car accident. 
After Sam's death, his father wrote a whole series of poems to 
him, and about him. I'd like to read a very short one; it's 
called ``Another Trick of the Mind.''

        Out of a book, a little trick--
        Instead of the picture and much longing
        for that lost face,
        place yourself within the frame.
        You are back together again, if only
        in the past, or in the dream,
        or this gilded picture in mind.
        But it is no longer a dream, or a picture
        of loss. And then you go on,
        down the road you have to go, together.

    In our memories, we all have a scrapbook full of images of 
John Kennedy Jr. Perhaps in the days ahead, when the sadness 
creeps up on us, we can imagine--just for a moment--that John 
and Carolyn and Lauren are still with us. And we can go down 
the road we have to go, together. And maybe when we play that 
trick on ourselves, and our sadness lifts for that moment, we 
can remember how fortunate we were to have had them with us as 
long as we did.

    Mr. President, last week was one of unimaginable shock and 
sorrow for the families of John Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette 
Kennedy, and Lauren Bessette. We prayed as we first heard the 
news that their plane had disappeared. We hoped against hope as 
the Coast Guard, the Navy and the National Transportation 
Safety Board conducted their ``search and rescue'' mission, and 
we anguished when they shifted to ``search and recovery,'' Now, 
as John, Carolyn, and Lauren are laid to rest in the ocean that 
claimed their lives, we grieve.
    Much has been said these past weeks--in this Chamber, 
across the country, and around the world--about these three 
exceptional young people. We have heard again and again how 
John, Carolyn, and Lauren loved life. We have heard so many 
stories of their compassion and grace, their generosity and 
their considerable talents. We've heard, most heartbreakingly, 
about their potential. They had, each of them, the capacity for 
greatness. That is part of what makes their loss so profound.
    The great poet William Wordsworth wrote:

        What though the radiance which was once so bright
        Be now for ever taken from my sight
        Though nothing can bring back the hour
        Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
        We will grieve not, rather find
        Strength in what remains behind.

    Nothing can bring back the splendor of their lives, or 
their potential. We are left now with only our memories of John 
Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren. With that 
in mind, Senator Lott and I are introducing a resolution to 
authorize the printing of ``Memorial Tributes to John 
Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.'' These are our own tributes and 
condolences offered on this floor, this week, by Members of the 
United States Senate. I ask the Senate to pass a resolution so 
that we may share our tributes with the families of John 
Kennedy, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and Lauren Bessette. I can 
only hope the Kennedy, Bessette, and Freeman families are able 
to find some small strength in the memories of their loved 
ones, and in the words and sympathy of those who grieve with 


            The Honorable Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut
    Mr. President, I want to address the Senate for a few 
moments about a topic I know has consumed the attention of each 
and every one of us in this Chamber, indeed all Americans, over 
the past several days, and that is the tragic deaths of John 
Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette.
    Permit me, if you will, to engage in a little regional 
chauvinism, for there are few things in life so pleasant as a 
New England summer day. It is glorious to behold. The warm 
sweet air, the cold waters of its rivers and lakes and ocean 
seem to command a celebration of the very simple pleasures of 
    On this past Saturday, though, the inherent joy of a New 
England summer season dissolved throughout America with the 
news that these three young people were lost off the New 
England coast. Lost on a day that seemed meant for gladness, 
not grief. Lost in waters that should have welcomed pleasure, 
not disaster. For one family, the Kennedy family, a moment of a 
family's supreme joy--a wedding--was snatched greedily by the 
hand of a very cruel fate, indeed.
    Most of us spent the better part of this past weekend 
hoping against hope that John and Carolyn and Lauren could be 
found safe and alive. By Sunday night we were resigned to the 
awful truth. Two American families have endured unspeakable 
    One of those families, which is represented by the Bessette 
and Freeman families, we know very little about. They are 
constituents of mine and my colleague, Senator Lieberman. We 
know very little about them other than the fact of their tragic 
loss. We can only imagine the joy and love and, yes, the easy 
and brilliant summer days, that they shared with these two 
remarkable and talented young women.
    The other family we know a great deal about--about its 
moments of triumph and tragedy--and through it all their 
consistent service to our Nation and to humanity.
    It happens that the patriarch, if you will, today of that 
family is our colleague and one of my dearest friends in this 
body, Ted Kennedy. We can only wonder at the immense burden of 
the grief he carries for his relatives over this loss and over 
all the other senseless, excruciating losses endured by the 
Kennedy family over the years. Those of us who have come to 
know him can only admire his courage and perseverance in the 
face of adversity which would wither the will of other men.
    I know I speak for all of us here, and that I echo the 
sentiments expressed here on the floor this morning and last 
evening by other colleagues, in saying that we send our deepest 
sympathies to him, to his family, and to the family of Carolyn 
and Lauren Bessette.
    Mr. President, I yield the floor.


             The Honorable Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota
    Madam President, the Senator from Alaska has offered, on 
behalf of Senator Daschle and Senator Lott, a resolution 
dealing with the issue of the apparent tragedy that has 
befallen John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and 
Lauren Bessette.
    I want to make a comment about that because I know that, 
along with most Americans, this weekend when we heard the news 
of the disappearance of John F. Kennedy Jr., along with his 
wife and sister-in-law, most of us were quite shocked and 
deeply saddened by the news.
    This was a young man whose life had such bright promise. He 
was born the son of a young, new President of the United 
States. That President's life was cut short by assassination 
just 3 years into his term.
    I and countless thousands of other young Americans were 
inspired by John F. Kennedy, by his energy, and by the passion 
and ideals of his administration. The experience of being in 
high school and college and watching the emergence of this new, 
energetic, young President on the scene in this country was 
something that inspired many young Americans toward public 
service. That includes my early interest in public service.
    When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I think most of us 
who were called to public service, or at least were called to 
an interest in public service back in that period, believed 
there was kind of an unfinished nature to the legacy of his 
administration and his Presidency. I think many thought over 
the years that this young man, John F. Kennedy Jr., was in some 
way destined to complete that legacy of public service.
    Now another tragedy has visited this family which has 
already given so much to this country, and has taken from us 
this wonderful, unique young man. I want to join with all of my 
colleagues in extending our sympathies to our colleague, 
Senator Kennedy, to the entire Kennedy family, and to the 
Bessette family. This is a very difficult time for all of them. 
I know all Members of the Senate probably already have 
individually sent those messages to that family.
    I have said on other occasions in the Senate, that there is 
a lot of public debate that goes on that people see between 
Members of the Senate and they tend to think there is a lack of 
personal relationships in the Senate. Nothing could be further 
from the truth. When something happens to the family of a 
Member of the Senate, others here whose life's work brings us 
all together, care deeply.
    When I lost a daughter a few years ago, I recall Senator 
Hatch sending me a white Bible and coming to visit with me. 
Senator Byrd sent me one of the most beautiful pieces of prose 
I have ever received, and so many other Senators expressed 
their sympathies. That is the way it is in the Senate. I know 
Senator Kennedy and his family are going through a very 
difficult time, and our entire country reaches out to them now 
to express our deepest and most profound regrets and 


              The Honorable Richard J. Durbin of Illinois
    Mr. President, I want to say a word about the tragedy which 
has befallen the Kennedy family and the Bessette family, as we 
learn about the terrible circumstances involving the plane 
crash last Friday. When my wife came into Springfield, 
Illinois, Saturday morning and said that she had just heard on 
the radio that John Kennedy's plane was missing, our reaction 
was the same: Could this be another tragedy for this family?
    The Kennedy family means so much to America, so much to the 
Democratic party, and so much to many of us personally. As a 
young student just starting at Georgetown University in 1963, I 
arrived weeks before the assassination of President John 
Kennedy. I stood on Pennsylvania Avenue and watched the funeral 
cortege leave the White House for this Capitol Building, where 
President John Kennedy's body was held in reverence for 
visitation by the American people.
    Then I can recall, as a college student, sitting in this 
gallery and looking down on this floor to watch as Senator Ted 
Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy talked about the war in 
Vietnam, and in the gallery across the way were Ethel Kennedy 
and other members of the Kennedy family. Little did I dream 
that the day would come when I would serve with Senator Ted 
Kennedy and come to know him personally. Each of us who serves 
with him understands what an extraordinary person he is. He, in 
my mind, is the best legislator on the floor of the Senate. He 
is so well versed, so well prepared, and so hard-working, that 
he is an inspiration to all of us.
    We are reminded from time to time, as we were this weekend, 
that his obligations go beyond the Senate and certainly to a 
large family who looks to him for guidance and leadership in 
times of trial. This week, Ted Kennedy is bringing together the 
Kennedy family in mourning over the death of John Kennedy Jr., 
his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren. Our 
hearts go out to him and the entire family and to the Bessette 
family as well.
    Those of us who remember that 1963 assassination 
graphically can recall exactly where we were at the moment that 
we heard President John Kennedy was shot. As we watched all the 
scenes unfold afterward, one of the most poignant was that of 
little John Kennedy saluting his father as the casket passed in 
front of the church. I guess we had always hoped that because 
Caroline and John Kennedy Jr. had endured this tragedy so early 
in life that God would find a special place for them and they 
would lead normal, happy, and secure lives. They certainly set 
out to do it and did it well, both of them. Then again, a 
tragedy such as this will occur and remind us again of our 
vulnerability and fragility as human beings.
    Our hearts and prayers go out to both families, and 
certainly to Senator Kennedy in his leadership role in the 
Kennedy family. We will be remembering them as this week passes 
and as we address our concern and sympathy on the floor of the 


             The Honorable Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin
    Mr. President, it is with deep sadness that I come to the 
floor today to speak of the tragedy that struck the Kennedy 
family last Friday night. I offer my condolences to the Kennedy 
family, and in particular to my friend and colleague, Senator 
Kennedy of Massachusetts, who has lost a beloved nephew.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy and Bessette 
families as they struggle to cope with the loss of John F. 
Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister 
Lauren Bessette. While we as a Nation mourn the loss of a young 
man who had so much yet to offer the world, these families must 
suffer the private pain of the loss of their beloved brother or 
sisters, their children, their cousins, their friends.
    The late John F. Kennedy was a genuine inspiration to me 
and so many of my generation. I am grateful for the hope and 
the direction that President Kennedy gave so many of us when we 
were young, and I know that in his own way John F. Kennedy Jr., 
carried on his father's work to inspire young people to public 
service, or to otherwise serve the public good, throughout his 
    There can perhaps be no comparison to the contributions the 
Kennedy family has made to our country, or the sacrifices the 
family has endured, and sadly continues to endure with the 
death of John F. Kennedy Jr. Like his father and his uncle 
Bobby, John F. Kennedy Jr.'s life was cut tragically short, but 
like them he lived his life to the fullest, with the vigor and 
dedication that marks the Kennedy legacy.
    Recently I had the honor of receiving the Profile in 
Courage Award from the late President Kennedy's family, and had 
the pleasure of meeting and spending time with John F. Kennedy 
Jr. I was impressed by his kindness, his dignity, and the keen 
grasp of both politics and policy which he so often displayed 
as editor of George magazine. John reflected all the best hopes 
we have for our country, as did his father before him.
    In a speech I gave at that time, I chose one of the many 
beautiful memorials I have heard about President Kennedy to 
express my own feelings. The following passage from Romeo and 
Juliet was previously used by Robert F. Kennedy himself at the 
1964 Democratic convention to memorialize his brother:

        and, when he shall die,
        take him and cut him out in little stars,
        And he will make the face of heaven so fine
        That all the world will be in love with night
        And pay no worship to the garish sun.

    These words both pained and consoled us as we remembered 
John F. Kennedy then, and they do the same today as we mourn 
the loss of his son, John F. Kennedy Jr.
    Mr. President, again I offer my condolences to all those 
who have been affected by this tragedy. I yield the floor.


                  The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch of Utah
    Mr. President, I rise to express my heartfelt sympathy to 
our colleague, Senator Ted Kennedy, and the whole Kennedy 
family on the death of his nephew, John F. Kennedy Jr.
    John Kennedy Jr. was much admired by all Americans. The son 
of Camelot, he was aware of his own celebrity but did not 
flaunt it.
    His entry into politics--the Kennedy family business--would 
have been well paved for him, but he chose to go his own way. 
He succeeded in the extremely competitive publishing world. 
When failures in this industry outnumber successes, he created 
and built George into a popular and often insightful magazine. 
By all accounts JFK Jr. was a hands-on editor, had a fair hand, 
and had an eye for what would be interesting and fresh for 
American readers.
    His marriage to Carolyn Bessette took America's number one 
bachelor off the market. But, it also gave his life new 
    We here in the Senate would be remiss if we did not also 
express our deepest sympathy to the Bessette family who lost 
two daughters in this terrible accident. As a father, this is a 
loss I cannot begin to imagine.
    It seems that no family should have to endure the level of 
tragedy that has befallen the Kennedys. I will say to the 
Senator from Massachusetts: America mourns with you and the 
Senate mourns with you, your family, and the Bessette family as 
    Elaine and I want to express publicly what we have said 
privately, which is that you and your family and the Bessette 
family are in our thoughts and prayers. May God hold you in the 
palm of his hand.


              The Honorable Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey
    Mr. President, I want to take a few minutes to talk about 
the events that have weighed so heavily on all of us. Whether 
one knows Senator Kennedy well or casually through contact in 
the Senate, one cannot but have respect and admiration for the 
contribution the Kennedy family has made to our public well-
being for so many years. That is why I am sure others share the 
same feeling of grief as I do, and others who know the Kennedy 
family well, at the loss of John F. Kennedy Jr.
    When the news came--and I was on my way to Martha's 
Vineyard--that the young Mr. Kennedy's airplane was missing, we 
all, I am sure, had the same reaction--let's pray that it is 
not true, that there is some information that will come out 
that will prove to be worry-unfounded. Unfortunately, our worst 
fears were realized. This day, apparently, the discovery has 
been made that confirms the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., 38 
years of age.
    One of the remarkable things we saw in this young man was 
the way he treated his position in life, coming from a famous 
family, with all of the celebrity status one could imagine, 
from a family that has seen tragedy after tragedy after 
    I had an opportunity, a year ago Christmas week, to sit 
with Michael Kennedy and his young sons on the morning of the 
day he perished on the ski slopes below. We actually skied 
together for a while in the morning. I visited with his brother 
that night to see if I could be of any help to the family in 
managing the affairs they had to put in order. It was very sad.
    When John F. Kennedy Jr.'s life was just really beginning 
to flourish, it is hard to understand what it was that took 
this young man so full of life. The imagery of John F. Kennedy 
Jr., was the same imagery that we had, in a way, of John F. 
Kennedy Sr., President of the United States--attractive, 
intelligent, concerned about the well-being of our country, 
trying always to lift the opportunity and the spirits of those 
who in America depended so much on government and individual 
leadership. John F. Kennedy Jr., evoked the same imagery--of 
this attractive young man, of this bright, intelligent, caring 
person, eschewing the spotlight whenever he could, trying to 
become part of the society in which we all live.
    His early death will prevent what all of us believe was so 
much talent and so much future. Any of us who have worked with 
Ted Kennedy--and I have now for 16 years--only gains respect 
the longer we know Senator Kennedy. His accomplishments are 
legendary, but his commitment to people--rich, poor, those who 
have needed help--is without reservation. We have seen an 
energized Senator Kennedy over at his desk, stating the causes 
and cases he is concerned about. And to see them, the whole 
Kennedy family, put into this grief can only be imagined by 
those who have their family intact without the trail of 
misfortune that has followed the Kennedy family.
    So I just came in, for the Record, to make some comments to 
register my feelings, as I know so many others have, of grief 
for the families of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, and his 
sister-in-law, the Kennedys and the Bessettes.
    We hope his life will inspire us to give whatever we can by 
way of service to our country, to recognize the advantages we 
have as citizens of the United States, not to be discouraged by 
this untimely tragedy but, rather, to be motivated to try to do 
    Mr. President, I hope we will reserve appropriate time, 
collectively, to acknowledge our share of feelings for the 
Kennedy family and the grief they are going through.
    I yield the floor.


                  The Honorable Connie Mack of Florida
    Mr. President, I rise to speak for just a moment to express 
my profound sympathy and condolences to our colleague and 
friend, Senator Ted Kennedy, and the members of the Kennedy 
family, and to the Bessette family, as well.
    Although I know the pain of losing a loved one, I have 
little conception of the pain which Senator Kennedy and his 
family are feeling with the multiple losses of family members 
at such early stages in their lives, and under such tragic 
    My heart is heavy with grief for the family, and my 
thoughts and prayers are with them. I can only pray that they 
realize and are comforted in some small manner by the love, 
affection, and support of the Members of this body, as well as 
people all across this Nation, for whom the Kennedy family is a 
symbol of courage, achievement, and service to mankind.


             The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland
    Mr. President, I rise with great sadness today to pay 
tribute to the lives of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn, 
and her sister Lauren Bessette. My thoughts and prayers are 
with these families, for at this very moment, as we know, they 
are at sea to bring these wonderful, outstanding young 
Americans to a final rest.
    We in the Senate, of course, feel very close to this 
tragedy because of our affection for our own colleague, Senator 
Ted Kennedy. We in Maryland feel very close to this family 
because we are the home to Eunice and Sarge Shriver, to Mark 
Shriver, who has taken his place in the House of Delegates, and 
our own Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who lost a brother 
just a few months ago. As the eldest of the Kennedy cousins, 
she has endured much. She is living a life of service that 
certainly would make her father as proud as those of us in 
    The entire Kennedy family has suffered so much. They have 
also given so much. It is a family of war heroes, Senators, 
Congressmen, and a President of the United States. They are 
also defenders of the poor, environmentalists, educators, and 
artists. They fight to give every American an opportunity to 
build better lives for themselves and to build stronger 
    Many of us in this Senate were inspired to lives of public 
service because of John F. Kennedy. As a young social worker, I 
thought he was talking to me when he called our generation to 
service. When he said, ``Ask not what your country can do for 
you--but what you can do for your country,'' I believed it. I 
wanted to do something. That is why I committed myself even 
more forcefully to my own career in social work.
    He practiced passionate, active idealism that was different 
from anything we had seen before in politics. That is why we 
hoped his son would continue that legacy. In many ways he had 
already begun to do that.
    John Kennedy Jr., could have lived the life of the idle 
rich, but he did not. He worked several years as a District 
Attorney in New York, and recently he created a magazine to 
bring young people into politics who were indifferent to it. He 
endured intense press interest with grace and good humor. It 
seemed as if he understood his family was a part of the lives 
of all Americans.
    While we all know the Kennedys, we cannot forget the 
Bessette family. They are suffering unimaginable pain with the 
death of two of their daughters. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy also 
lived in the spotlight. She, too, handled the attention with 
grace and charm. She had the same passion for life as her 
husband. Her sister Lauren was also making her own career in 
investment banking.
    Wherever we turn, the Kennedys have touched America. We 
have been there for their hopes, their dreams, and their good 
days. We want our dear friend, Senator Kennedy, the entire 
Kennedy family, and the Bessettes to know they are not alone 
today. We mourn with them, and we thank them for their 
contributions to America and for their own call to duty and to 
public service.
    God bless them and God bless America that we have in our 
midst a great legacy.
    I thank the Chair.


           The Honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York
    Mr. President, it happens I was in the White House, in what 
was then Ralph Dungan's southwest office just down the hall 
from the Oval Office--where they were cleaning the carpet, the 
President's furniture having been moved to the outside corridor 
with his rocking chair atop the clutter--when word came from 
Dallas that the President was dead. A few moments later Hubert 
H. Humphrey burst in, embraced Dungan and let out: ``My God, 
what have they done to us.'' By ``they'' of course he meant the 
political right wing in Texas. Later we learned that the Dallas 
police had arrested a man associated with Fair Play for Cuba. 
What indeed had been done to us, what were we doing to 
    That evening a group of us who lived on Macomb Street, out 
Connecticut Avenue, drifted over to Mary McGrory's. We sat 
about, saying little. At length Mary, with the feeling only she 
can put into words, announced: ``We'll never laugh again.'' 
``Heavens, Mary,'' I replied, ``we'll laugh again. It's just 
that we will never be young again.''
    In this morning's Washington Post, her column ``A Death in 
the Family'' describes in poignant detail the history from then 
to now, now being of course the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. 
There was so much on our minds in those slow-paced days of 
mourning so many years ago. Now his son is gone, along with his 
wife Carolyn and his sister-in-law Lauren Bessette.
    I ask unanimous consent that her reflections be reprinted 
in the Record in full following my statement.
    There being no objection, the article ordered to be printed 
in the Record, as follows:

               [From The Washington Post, July 22, 1999]

                         A Death in the Family

                           (By Mary McGrory)
    To understand the round-the-clock coverage of John 
Kennedy's death, the unending talk about it, and the makeshift 
memorials, it helps to remember what the country felt about his 
parents. His father, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, handsome and 
dashing, came out of Boston insisting on being our first 
Catholic president--and was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.
    His beautiful mother, Jacqueline Bouvier, once dismissed as 
a social butterfly, stepped forward and held the country 
together. She arranged a funeral that was majestic and moved 
through it like a queen. She saw to every detail from the 
kilted Irish pipers to the eternal flame.
    When it was over, she summoned the most famous political 
scribe of his time, Theodore H. White, and put a name on her 
husband's time in office, Camelot. The country has been 
emotionally involved with the Kennedy's ever since. They are 
numerous, good looking and always up to something. They have 
provided a pageant of smiles, tears and scandals.
    When John Kennedy's single-engine plane, with him at the 
controls, fell off the radar at the Martha's Vineyard airport, 
the Nation once again went to its post by the television to 
keep vigil with the Kennedys.
    In the five days that followed, the dread and dismay were 
laced with indignation. This was not supposed to happen. This 
was entirely gratuitous. The crown prince had been exempt from 
``the curse of the Kennedys''--a phrase coined by Uncle Teddy 
during the Chappaquiddick crisis. Had not Jackie Kennedy 
sequestered her children from the turbulence at the Kennedy 
compound in Hyannis Port, as Bobby Kennedy's fatherless sons 
wrestled with various demons? She took John and Caroline over 
the water to Martha's Vineyard.
    John had not followed in his father's footsteps. He was his 
mother's son. She brought him up not to be a Kennedy, but to be 
himself. He shared her detachment about politics. When asked a 
while back how, in the light of his father's posthumously 
revealed promiscuity, Jack Kennedy would have tolerated today's 
fierce press scrutiny, John Kennedy said coolly he thought his 
father might have chosen to go into another line of work.
    John Kennedy died like his father violently and too soon. 
His blond wife, Carolyn Bessette, and his sister-in-law Lauren 
Bessette died with him. At 38, he left more unfulfilled promise 
than performance. He was strikingly handsome and unexpectedly 
nice for one of his looks and station. He was courteous to all, 
even the paparazzi who dogged him from the age of 3 when he 
broke the Nation's heart by saluting his father's coffin.
    The tabs called him ``The Hunk'' and People magazine said 
he was ``the sexiest man alive.'' If the grief seems 
disproportionate to his life, it is easily explained. He was 
measured by who he was, not what he did.
    His mother vetoed his first choice of a career, the 
theater. He went into the law, but not for long. He founded a 
magazine he called ``George.'' It was to be a glossy, trendy 
monthly that treated politics as entertainment. He courted 
publicity for ``George'' by sometimes doing odd things: He 
posed nude for an illustration to accompany a critique of his 
Kennedy cousins' behavior. More recently, he visited Mike 
Tyson, the convicted rapist, in prison; he invited pornographer 
Larry Flynt to the White House correspondents' dinner. Like his 
mother, he never explained his actions. He was a free spirit. 
His father, despite his private excesses, was decorous in his 
public life, having a politician's perpetual concern about what 
the neighbors will think. Jack Kennedy was witty, sometimes in 
the mordant Irish way; his son was whimsical. Politics does not 
allow for whimsy.
    John's love life was of aching, international interest. He 
courted a string of gorgeous girls and then married one. He 
married willowy Carolyn Bessette at a secret wedding on an 
island off Georgia. He was terribly proud of his coup against 
the press. He released one picture. It was of him kissing his 
bride's hand. It was drop-dead romantic.
    The country spent the last weekend soaking up every detail, 
watching hour after hour of Jack's funeral, Bobby's funeral, 
touch football, prayers at Arlington. The context was pure, 
incredible Kennedy. The clan had gathered at Hyannis Port to 
celebrate the wedding of Rory Kennedy. A huge tent had been set 
up on Ethel's lawn. It was the one mercy of the grim weekend. 
The Kennedys, who derive such solace from each other, were 
together. The wedding was postponed. The family mourned.
    Washington talked of nothing else. Arguments broke out over 
``the curse of the Kennedys''--was it really the rashness of 
its members? ``Where was God in all this?'' one man demanded to 
know at a subdued Saturday party.
    All agreed on one point: It was a shame.

    Mr. President, of the half-dozen great journalists who 
wrote of the Kennedy era, as we think of that Presidency, none 
was closer to those involved, where they had come from, who 
they were, who they wished to be than Martin F. Nolan of The 
Boston Globe. He has done so once again, in a moving reflection 
of the deaths of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and her sister, 
entitled ``Life Goes On, But It'll Never Be the Same.''
    I ask unanimous consent that his reflections be printed in 
the Congressional Record.
    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                        [From The Boston Globe]

               Life Goes On, But It'll Never Be the Same

                          (By Martin F. Nolan)
    When Sander Vanocur, the former NBC correspondent, first 
heard the news, he recalled what John O'Hara, the Irish-
American novelist, said on a hot July day in 1937. ``They tell 
me that George Gershwin is suddenly dead at 38. That's what 
they tell me, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want 
    The composer and songwriter died of a brain tumor, a 
celebrity death which, like many, caused shock, disbelief, and 
grief among thousands, even millions, who had never met him.
    The death of John F. Kennedy Jr. is different because of 
Americans' attitude about history. However imperfectly, they 
knew that the young man who perished with his wife and sister-
in-law while approaching Martha's Vineyard was ``a part of 
    The prayers, the sadness, the flowers in TriBeCa [an area 
of Manhattan called the Triangle Below Canal Street] all flow 
to a clan whose rise to glory began on the margins of American 
society, an underdog dynasty. John F. Kennedy Jr. was born 17 
days after his father became the first Roman Catholic president 
amid the fears of millions that the White House would be an 
outpost of the Vatican. Friday, as his life is celebrated at a 
Mass at St. Thomas More Church in New York City, anti-
Catholicism has almost vanished in America.
    The Kennedy saga covers most of the century. John F. 
``Honey Fitz'' Fitzgerald was elected to the US House of 
Representatives in 1894. One of his grandsons, John, became 
president; two more, Edward and Robert, became senators; and 
two of his great-grandsons, Joseph and Patrick, also have 
served in the House. A half-dozen Frelinghuysens from New 
Jersey have served in Congress, but only four from another 
Dutch dynasty, the Roosevelts. The grandchildren of Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt have known little political fame.
    The future has always been Kennedy country and the greatest 
Kennedy success could lie among its women. Caroline Kennedy 
Schlossberg has been a key decision maker on many matters, 
including her father's library. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the 
lieutenant governor of Maryland, may possess as much charm and 
savvy as her father, Robert, her uncles and cousins, and even 
her grandfather.
    The much-photographed Kennedys have been reviled and 
revered. In a society anxious about ``family values,'' theirs 
has been on exuberant display for four decades, along with 
those of the Bouviers, Shakels, Bennetts, Smiths, Lawfords, and 
Shrivers. (A large family means many in-laws.)
    In a nation of small families, size matters. When Edward 
Kennedy barely escaped death in the crash of a small plane in 
1964, his brother Robert visited him and remarked in that 
ruefully wry Kennedyesque way, ``I guess the reason my mother 
and father had so many children was that some of them would 
    Edward Kennedy, the ninth of nine, is, at 67, the sole 
surviving son, the patriarch, and an all-too-accomplished 
eulogist. The Kennedys' famous fatalism was once expressed by 
President Kennedy's citation of a French fisherman's prayer: 
``Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.'' 
Thursday's burial was private and at sea off Cape Cod, that 
slip of land of which Henry David Thoreau said in 1865: ``A man 
may stand there and put all America behind him.''
    The America John F. Kennedy Jr. leaves behind is one in 
which the median age is younger than his at his death. The vast 
majority of his fellow citizens have no contemporary memory of 
his father's violent death in 1963 nor that of his uncle in 
1968. The grief of the Kennedys has been vivid in the Nation's 
tribal memory as only a photograph or a video image, but no 
less vivid for being so.
    Stanley Tretick, who died last week at 77, was a 
photographer for Look magazine. One of his most famous pictures 
was of the President Kennedy's young son climbing through a 
desk in the Oval Office. ``The Kennedys are great, but you have 
to do things their way,'' Tretick once said.
    The Kennedys stage-managed their own public image in the 
days before 24-hour cable channels and the vast hordes of 
paparazzi that their fame and glamour enticed. The Hyannis Port 
family compound this week has been a logo for media fascination 
with one family's grief.
    The old Latin liturgy once included an Augustinian 
admonition, ``Vita mutatur non tollitur''--``Life is changed 
not taken away.'' That belief sustains those of faith, in 
addition, there's always the Irish wake tradition of stories 
and memories, happy and sad.
    Arthur N. Schlessinger Jr. wrote in ``A Thousand Days'' of 
how a young assistant secretary of labor, Daniel Patrick 
Moynihan, reacted to President Kennedy's death. ``I don't think 
there's any point in being Irish if you don't know that the 
world is going to break your heart eventually. I guess that we 
thought we had a little more time,'' Moynihan said. ``Mary 
McGrory said to me that we'll never laugh again. And I said, 
`Heavens, Mary. We'll laugh again. It's just that we'll never 
be young again.' ''
    Across America and the world, many people feel a lot less 
young than they did a week ago.


                   The Honorable Harry Reid of Nevada
    Mr. President, for several days, we have waited anxiously 
for evidence of news I did not want to believe. I did not want 
to believe that tragedy could come again to the Kennedy family. 
I did not want to believe that the Bessette family could lose 
two beautiful daughters in one tragic accident. But as of 
yesterday afternoon, I was confronted with reality. I am 
profoundly saddened by the tragic death of John F. Kennedy Jr. 
and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren.
    My relationship with President Kennedy goes back almost 40 
years. In 1960, I formed the first Young Democrats organization 
at Utah State University and worked hard as a young college 
student for the election of President John F. Kennedy. On the 
wall in my Senate office, I have a letter from Senator Kennedy 
written a few weeks before his inauguration as President in 
1961. That letter is a thoughtful and considerate note thanking 
me for my efforts as a campus organizer.
    As a young law student in Washington, I worked at night as 
a Capitol Police Officer. On more than one occasion, I remember 
President Kennedy's visit to the Capitol. In fact, in my 
capacity as a police officer, I walked past President Kennedy's 
casket while it laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
    For three generations, the Kennedy family has contributed 
much to the political and cultural life of our Nation. Three 
members of the Kennedy family have served the Nation as U.S. 
Senators, and other members have served in the U.S. House of 
Representatives, the Ambassadorial Corp and other important 
positions of state. They also serve as leaders, in business, 
and in the world of cultural affairs.
    Historians will one day write that the Kennedy family is 
the most remarkable family in our Nation's history. They have 
endured tragedy after tragedy. But despite adversity, this 
family has persevered and found the will and strength to make 
our Nation a better place. Since the presidency of John F. 
Kennedy, the Kennedy family has become part of the American 
family. For us in government, the Kennedy family is synonymous 
with the finest in American politics. They inspire us to dream; 
they teach us to enjoy life; they make us feel noble.
    John F. Kennedy Jr. had large shoes to fill as the son of a 
great President and a beautiful, elegant, and strong mother. 
While John F. Kennedy Jr. was born into the privilege and the 
fame of his family, he handled it better than anyone I know. 
His dignity, his sense of style, his connection to ordinary 
people was unsurpassed.
    Finally, I admire the strength and courage of my friend and 
colleague, Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy is the 
patriarch of this great family. He has served the Nation and 
the people of Massachusetts with distinction in the U.S. Senate 
for almost four decades and the people of Massachusetts have 
repeatedly shown their gratitude for his service. Senator 
Kennedy has given much to this country and yet he has never 
forgotten the legacy of his distinguished family. To Senator 
Kennedy, to the entire Kennedy family, and to the Bessette 
family, I extend my condolences.


               The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland
    Mr. President, I commend my very able colleague from 
Illinois for his very eloquent remarks about this tragedy, and 
I associate myself with his remarks. Our hearts do go out to 
both families, the Kennedy family and the Bessette family. The 
Bessette family has lost two children.
    My State has been fortunate to be blessed by the 
extraordinary leadership of the next generation of the Kennedy 
family in terms of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who now serves as 
our lieutenant governor. So I have a direct sense of the strong 
responsibility of dedicated public service which has marked 
this family from the very beginning.
    All of us are deeply struck by this tragedy. Our hearts 
reach out to the families. We extend them our very heartfelt 
sympathies. We feel very deeply about our colleague, Senator 
Kennedy, who, of course, has assumed the family leadership 
responsibilities. We have to press on, but it really comes as a 
very saddening tragedy for all of us.
    I thank my colleague for yielding.


               The Honorable Charles Schumer of New York
    Mr. President, our State of New York has lost three of its 
finest citizens. I want to add my voice to the condolences to 
John Kennedy's sister Caroline, to his entire family, and to 
his wife's family, as well, for their double loss. Anyone who 
knew these three people knew they were the finest of New 
Yorkers and the finest of Americans. They were decent people; 
they were concerned people; they were people who cared about 
average folks.
    As was noted, John, in particular, would never go by 
somebody and make them feel they were less significant than he 
was, despite his enormous wealth, attractiveness, good looks, 
his grace, and everything else about him. He and his wife were 
a man and woman of grace. I am told that her sister was as 
well, although I did not know her.
    So we in New York particularly mourn our loss. John had 
become a real New Yorker, and the Bessette girls always were. 
There is nothing we can do but pray that they have met their 
final reward, and that the wounds that are so deep in their 
families, with God's help, heal quickly.


                The Honorable Fred Thompson of Tennessee
    I thank the Chair.
    I join in the expressions of my colleagues in expressing my 
profound sadness and regret at the fate that has befallen our 
colleague and members of his and the Bessette family.


             The Honorable Strom Thurmond of South Carolina
    Mr. President, I rise today to join my colleagues in 
expressing grief over the passing of John F. Kennedy Jr., his 
wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and Lauren Bessette; as well as 
extending condolences to the Kennedy and Bessette families over 
their losses.
    It is difficult to express the sense of tragedy and loss 
that all of us feel over the passing of these three young, 
dynamic, and charismatic individuals. Clearly, John F. Kennedy 
Jr. captured the hearts and imagination of millions of 
Americans, and his untimely and violent end has saddened all 
those who felt some sort of connection to this promising and 
handsome young man. Certainly the tremendous outpouring of 
sympathetic gestures we are witnessing in Massachusetts, New 
York, and here in Washington stand as testament to the high 
regard in which he was held.
    To be frank, I did not know John F. Kennedy Jr. well, 
though I have certainly been well acquainted with his family 
through the years. Here in the United States Senate, I have had 
the distinct pleasure and honor of serving with his father and 
both his uncles; and in years past, I worked closely with 
Representative Joe Kennedy on an issue of great mutual concern. 
Clearly this is a family that values public service and has 
sought to make a contribution to the Nation through policy, 
politics, and activism. The passion and intensity which the 
Kennedys--particularly John, Bobby, and Ted--brought to 
Washington and directed toward their policy goals are 
commendable and enviable. Few people have approached their 
careers in government with the same vigor and enthusiasm than 
have the members of the Kennedy family.
    Though John F. Kennedy Jr. had not entered politics, he was 
someone who shared his family's desire to make a difference. He 
was involved in any number of philanthropic and charitable 
undertakings, and typical of a family that seeks to help 
others, he was personally involved in these endeavors. His 
reputation was of a sincere, kind, and high minded man. There 
is little doubt that had John F. Kennedy Jr. decided to follow 
the path that his father, uncle, and cousins had taken and 
sought elected office, he would have had a bright political 
future and would have made an even greater mark on society and 
    There is great sadness in the fact that this tragedy not 
only snuffed out the promising light of John F. Kennedy Jr., 
but took the lives of his wife and sister-in-law as well. It is 
impossible to comprehend how fate could be so cruel to these 
families, for these young individuals deserved to enjoy long 
and rich lives. Certainly, this tragedy is only intensified for 
the Bessettes who lost two daughters suddenly and unexpectedly, 
and it is impossible for any of us to truly know the grief they 
are feeling. Hopefully with time, they will come to some sort 
of peace and understanding with this inexplicable event.
    Earlier today, the ashes of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, 
and sister-in-law were committed to the sea and a sad chapter 
of American history is drawn to a close. To our friend and 
colleague, Senator Ted Kennedy, we extend our deepest 
condolences on the loss of your nephew and we commend you on 
your stoicism in exercising your responsibilities as the 
patriarch of your family. This was an unenviable task, yet one 
you carried out with dignity, strength, and reserve.
    Coming to terms with death is never an easy or pleasant 
task, but I have always found that it is best to remember a 
person for the things he or she did during their life, keep 
that person in your heart and mind, and to try and honor their 
memory in your actions. If people follow this course with John 
F. Kennedy Jr., I think that they will remember a man who tried 
to make a difference with his life, and hopefully they will be 
inspired to emulate his commitment to public service.


                The Honorable John W. Warner of Virginia
    Mr. President, I wish to speak with regard to the feelings 
in my heart and in the hearts of my daughter Mary, my daughter 
Virginia, and my son John on behalf of the Kennedy family.
    My daughter Mary was a member of the play group at the 
White House formed by the President and his lovely wife 
Jacqueline Kennedy for their daughter Caroline and, my 
recollection is, three or four others of the same age. They 
were perhaps among the most photographed young people in 
America at that time. Our family cherishes the pictures with 
Caroline and in some John-John was there. It was just a warm 
experience for these youngsters to start their life.
    Jacqueline Kennedy was so gracious to all of us in our 
family. I had known Mrs. Kennedy when I was, my recollection 
is, in my early twenties, and we were in the same group of 
young people who mingled together at various events in those 
days. I remember the absolute startling beauty of that 
magnificent woman. We remained friends throughout her life. She 
and the President briefly had a farm in Virginia which abutted 
on the farm that my then-wife Catherine and I had, and I 
frequently saw her at sporting events.
    The families were intertwined at a very young age. 
Previously, at the University of Virginia Law School, while my 
period at that school was interrupted by service in the Marines 
during the Korean war, Bobby Kennedy was there, and we 
overlapped for a period of time. I remember participating in 
some of the touch football games and getting my first insight 
into that extraordinary family.
    My daughter Virginia knew John-John quite well. In past 
years, prior to marriage, they were in the same group that 
often attended events together.
    This has left a very deep and sad feeling in the hearts of 
my children, and I know they would want their deepest sympathy 
conveyed to the members of the family. I do that tonight, being 
privileged to be on the floor of the Senate and talking about 
this most distinguished family.
    I met President Kennedy on several occasions. I knew him, 
as a matter of fact, when he was a Senator. I remember very 
well one night going to a television studio with him and some 
other people. I cannot recall exactly what the show was, but 
that night, for various reasons, is tucked away in my memory.
    Then, of course, in the campaign of 1960, I was the advance 
man for President Nixon; and Bobby Kennedy was the advance man 
for his brother. We had frequent but always pleasant and 
cordial meetings on the campaign trail of 1960.
    But the main purpose of my taking the floor is to express, 
on behalf of my children, our profound sorrow for this tragic 
event, and how we are all deprived of what I think in our 
hearts we believe would have been a great future for this young 
man, had the Lord seen fit to have him remain with us. He was 
destined to go on to greatness, and we, as a Nation, have been 
deprived. But we accept the Lord's will in this case.
    All that could be done was done, primarily by the Coast 
Guard, the Navy, the National Transportation Safety Board, and 
others. I think they are worthy of commendation for their 
    Our distinguished colleague, Senator Kennedy, I know, 
having spoken with him, was looking forward to this wedding. So 
often this family has come together in hours of tragedy, but 
this wedding was to be an hour of pure joy. He looked forward 
to it with expectation. But now, of course, that has to be 
postponed, I hope for a brief period.
    But I remember how hard the Senator worked on the Patients' 
Bill of Rights. I voted against him on every vote except one, 
and that has often been the case in my 21 years in the Senate 
serving with my friend. And we have had many opportunities to 
work together on various things. He is a member of the Senate 
Armed Services Committee, of which I am privileged to be 
chairman. When I was ranking Member on the Seapower 
Subcommittee, he was chairman; and then for a brief period, 
when I was chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, he was 
ranking Member.
    But I remember how hard he worked last week. His heart was 
in that bill regarding the health of the citizens of our 
Nation. It was just another chapter in his long and 
distinguished career in the Senate.
    I believe on both sides of the aisle he is regarded as one 
of the hardest working, most conscientious Members of the 
Senate. We have nothing but profound respect for him and the 
manner in which he, as one of the heads of this distinguished 
family, has worked to bring this family once again to the 
realization of a loss that they must accept.
    Mr. President, we conclude today's proceedings by several 
of us speaking on this. We do so from the heart and convey our 
prayers and sympathy to this family.


               The Honorable Paul Wellstone of Minnesota
    Mr. President, I cannot add to the words of Senator Dodd. I 
thank him for what he said on the floor of the Senate. And I 
say to him that what he said represents how I feel as a Senator 
from Minnesota.
    I yield the floor.


                The Honorable Eliot L. Engel of New York
    Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to take this opportunity to 
express my thoughts and prayers to the Kennedy and Bessette 
families during this time of terrible tragedy.
    As a New Yorker, I can tell my colleagues that John F. 
Kennedy Jr. played a special role in our city. The way he 
conducted himself through the years with grace and dignity is 
something that we shall always remember.
    Who can ever forget the little boy, John-John, who saluted 
his father's casket on his third birthday. I just felt that, at 
this time, I wanted to express the feelings of millions upon 
millions of Americans who really extend our grief and wishes 
and sadness to both the Kennedy and Bessette families.
    The Kennedy family has given so much to this country. It is 
very difficult for all of us during this time. I know that I 
express the feelings of all my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle, and I just felt it was very appropriate at this time to 
extend my heart and my hand to both families during this time 
of grief.


                      DURING THE SEARCH OPERATIONS

                      President William J. Clinton
    As the search continues, I want to express our family's 
support, and offer our prayers and those of all Americans for 
John Kennedy Jr.; his wife, Carolyn; her sister, Lauren; and to 
their fine families.
    I also want to thank the Coast Guard and all those who have 
worked so hard in this endeavor.
    For more than 40 years now, the Kennedy family has inspired 
Americans to public service, strengthened our faith in the 
future, and moved our nation forward. Through it all they have 
suffered much, and given more.
    In recent years, in particular, John Kennedy Jr. and 
Carolyn have captured our imagination and won our affection. I 
will always be grateful for their kindnesses to Hillary and 
Chelsea and me.
    At this difficult moment, we hope the families of these 
three fine young people will feel the strength of God, the love 
of their friends, and the prayers of their fellow citizens.


                     Vice President Albert Gore Jr.
    I want to begin with a moment of prayer for John Kennedy 
Jr., for his wife Carolyn, and for her sister Lauren--we hope 
they are returned to us safely and soon.
    John Kennedy Jr. is an extraordinary young man, at the high 
noon of his life, who offers the promise of contributing so 
much more to our country.
    At the age of three, he was the most famous person in the 
world because with his innocent and brave young heart, he 
helped the nation and the world endure some of the hardest 
hours of our history.
    He has carried his legend with enormous grace--and with a 
commitment to live up to his father's legacy and his mother's 
    America could use his grace and endurance right now.

                         READINGS AND TRIBUTES

                         FROM MEMORIAL SERVICE

                       Church of St. Thomas More

                             New York City

                             July 23, 1999

                       Senator Edward M. Kennedy
    Thank you, President and Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea, for 
being here today. You've shown extraordinary kindness 
throughout 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 this 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 
    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 room.
    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 alright--an enormous German 
shepherd dog named Sam he had just rescued from the pound.
    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 
    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, Tatiana, and 
Jack, Kennedy cousins, Radziwill cousins, Shriver cousins, 
Smith cousins, Lawford cousins--as we sailed Nantucket Sound.
    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 
    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 care-givers 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 
    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 moment:

      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 
    We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this 
John Kennedy would live to comb grey 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.


                        Reading by Anne Freeman

                   Mother of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy
    The following is an excerpt from ``Facts of Faith'' by 
Henry Scott Holland.

        Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only 
        slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. 
        Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you 
        are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly 
        together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to 
        each other, that we are still. Call me by the old 
        familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you 
        always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no 
        forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always 
        laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. 
        Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be 
        ever the household word that it always was. Let it be 
        spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow 
        upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the 
        same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken 
        continuity. What is this death but a negligible 
        accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out 
        of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 
        somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is 
        well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief 
        moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall 
        laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!


                Reading by Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg
    The following lines are from Prospero's speech in Act IV, 
Scene 1 of Shakespeare's ``The Tempest.''

        Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
        As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
        Are melted into air, into thin air:
        And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
        The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
        The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
        Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
        And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
        Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
        As dreams are made on; and our little life
        Is rounded with a sleep.

                        COMMENTARY AND TRIBUTES

              [From The Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1999]

                            In His Own Words

``My family is extremely close. And contrary to any general 
opinion on the matter, if there is one, my mother has never had 
an agenda for me or my sister. That's probably why we're all so 
close and have had a relatively normal life. Not being a 
Kennedy, she could recognize both the perils and the positive 
aspects. One thing she has done is kept the memory and the 
character of our father very vivid for us.''
    --Vogue Magazine, June 1993

``It's obviously something people ask me occasionally, and 
having grown up with it, I have to admit it [a political 
career] is something I consider a lot. I frankly feel there are 
many opportunities and avenues outside of elective office to 
become involved in issues, issues that have the same broad 
scope that government or elected office provides you. Once you 
run for office, you're in it. Sort of like going into the 
military--you'd better be damn sure that it is what you want to 
do and that the rest of your life is set up to accommodate 
that. It takes a certain toll on your personality, and on your 
family life. I've seen it personally.''
    --Vogue, 1993

``It's hard for me to talk about a legacy or a mystique. It's 
my family. It's my mother. It's my sister. It's my father. 
We're a family like any other. We look out for one another. The 
fact that there have been difficulties and hardships, or 
obstacles, makes us closer.''
    --Vogue, 1993

``It was important to me to go outside the [political] arena 
for a number of reasons. I think everyone needs to feel that 
they've created something that was their own, on their own 
    --on founding George Magazine; USA Today, 1998

``I'd like to see [the Profile in Courage Award] become what 
the Oscars are to the film industry or the Nobel Prize to peace 
and economics--the single award that recognizes achievement and 
acts of courage in public life.''
    --on the award founded by him and his sister, Caroline; 
            Vogue, 1993
``He has carried his legend with enormous grace and a 
commitment to live up to his father's legacy and his mother's 
love. . . . One cannot help but reflect that the Kennedy family 
has given more to our country than any family should have to 
do. But our country is so much better because of the gifts that 
they have given.''
    --Vice President Al Gore

``Nothing about our faith makes us pain-proof. It does hurt. It 
does make us cry. And we must dry our eyes and continue our 
work until our time is finished.''
    --The Rev. Jesse Jackson

``On this particular day, our hearts go out to the family who 
has started so much, achieved so much, suffered and sacrificed 
so much and now has even further uncertainty.''
    --Astronaut Edwin G. `Buzz' Aldrin Jr.

``There's a certain amount of disbelief. It brings back 
memories of the many tragedies of the Kennedy family. They've 
represented dreams, hopes for our whole country.''
    --Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas)

                     [From Newsday, July 18, 1999]

                     A Prince, But Also a Populist
                   (By Fred Bruning & Jessica Kowal)

    Looks, glamor, money and a name that resonates with 
Americans like few others--John F. Kennedy Jr. has led a 
remarkable life.
    But his family--influential and politically powerful--long 
has seemed star-crossed, too. Privilege and status could not 
protect the Kennedys from a succession of numbing setbacks, 
and, as fears mounted yesterday that Kennedy had been lost in 
an air crash, it appeared calamity may have struck the clan 
    ``There is a sense of this terrible, continuing tragedy--a 
tragedy without end,'' said author David Halberstam, who 
chronicled the presidency of John F. Kennedy in an acclaimed 
1972 book, ``The Best and The Brightest.'' ``When I heard (the 
report), I thought, `Oh, God, not again.' ''
    Some may wonder why a young man from a family that has 
endured two assassinations, catastrophic illness and accidental 
death, would risk a flight to Martha's Vineyard in a single-
engine plane with his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, 33, and 
her sister, but Kennedy, 38, was known as a high-spirited 
fellow who rarely surrendered to fear.
    Kennedy, president and editor in chief of the political 
magazine George, loved flying and said in interviews that the 
skies afforded him refuge he could not find below.
    He earned a private pilot's license and recently purchased 
the Piper aircraft in which he and his party last were seen. 
Not only did Kennedy enjoy flying, he also operated a rig known 
as a power parachute, described by one writer as a Go-Kart with 
a propeller. After his first try with the parachute, Kennedy 
was called a ``natural'' by his instructor.
    An early glimpse of Kennedy's pluck came on his third 
birthday--an event that turned out to be one not of joy but 
mesmerizing sadness.
    His father, President John F. Kennedy, had been 
assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. At a state funeral in 
Washington three days later, John Jr., his sister, Caroline, 
and mother, Jacqueline, watched as the president's casket 
passed before St. Matthew's Cathedral.
    Dressed in a blue coat and short pants, the little boy then 
known as John-John seemed intrigued by the somber spectacle. 
Then, he saluted the horse-drawn caisson bearing the body--a 
gesture that for many symbolized the nation's heartbreak and 
the courage of the Kennedy family.
    Five years later, a killer in Los Angeles shot the 
president's brother Robert F. Kennedy, a U.S. senator from New 
York seeking the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination. The 
country reeled, and the Kennedy family mourned another loss.
    Robert Kennedy had served as a father figure for Caroline 
and John and was a favorite of the children. In a 1995 
television interview, Kennedy told CNN's Larry King that his 
memories of his father were ``great,'' though not specific. On 
the other hand, Kennedy said, he remembered Bobby well. ``He 
was a very vivid character.''
    Long before the flight to Martha's Vineyard, John Kennedy 
Jr. had become a vivid character, too.
    So handsome that People Magazine named him the ``sexiest 
man alive'' in 1988, Kennedy was on everyone's list of most 
eligible bachelors--a man who seemed to combine the charm and 
elegance of his mother and father, who glided as easily through 
cocktail party crowds as he slalomed through the streets of New 
York on Rollerblades, who was known to friends as an upbeat, 
``regular'' New Yorker who often took the subway to work and 
skimmed Frisbees in the park.
    ``His glamor was in the fact that he was able to come 
across as a down-to-earth guy with this unbelievable power of 
the legacy of the Kennedy name,'' said Katherine Betts, 
recently named editor of Harper's Bazaar Magazine.
    Kennedy was a magnet for paparazzi and gossip columnists 
and had his share of rough moments as a public personality.
    Perhaps none was more distressing than when Kennedy, a 
lawyer, twice failed his bar exam in New York. ``Hunk Flunks,'' 
said a tabloid headline. Kennedy nailed the test on the third 
try and, of course, that was big news, too.
    If Kennedy was haunted by the family's history of pain or 
the slayings of his father and uncle, he kept those feelings 
    Earlier this year, investigators discussed the possibility 
of further tests on the bullets that killed John F. Kennedy. 
Asked what reaction John Kennedy Jr. might have, an associate 
told Newsday: ``He won't have any reaction. He doesn't really 
talk about the assassination at all.''
    Great personality, easygoing attitude, that sensationally 
straight jawline and dreamy smile--Kennedy (6-foot-1, 190 
pounds) rarely had trouble finding a date. He was linked to a 
number of young women--the actress Darryl Hannah, among them--
but finally found true love when he met Bessette, a publicist 
for designer Calvin Klein and the step-daughter of a Greenwich, 
Conn., physician.
    Fearing their marriage would stir a media maelstrom, 
Kennedy and Bessette wed secretly in 1996 on Cumberland Island, 
Ga., and then scooted to Turkey for a honeymoon. Arriving back 
in New York, Kennedy pleaded with the media to give his new 
bride a break--to back off, please, just a little.
    ``I ask that you give Carolyn all the privacy and room you 
can,'' he said to reporters waiting outside their apartment.
    It may have been a reasonable request, but there wasn't 
much chance the media would vanish.
    An editor at the National Enquirer tabloid described 
Kennedy and Bessette as the ``No. 1 couple in America''--for 
sure, the closest thing to American royalty since Kennedy's 
mother and father briefly had reigned. The young people may 
have been reluctant stars in the nation's imperial soap opera, 
but the audience was eager for news--any news. Despite their 
revolutionary past, Americans were proving again they longed 
for the pomp and circumstance of sovereignty.
    ``We create royalty in various ways--celluloid, 
financially, business tycoons--but none is quite as splendid as 
political royalty, and that is the role the Kennedys have 
played,'' said Ray Browne, professor emeritus in the department 
of popular culture at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
    Kennedy seemed to have little interest in serving as a 
surrogate sovereign. ``John is a very populist guy,'' said a 
friend quoted in the Los Angeles Times. ``He has a very sincere 
deep streak of that in him.''
    But he was a Kennedy, prince of Camelot, son of John and 
Jacqueline. For many, the memories remain magic, and John-John 
was the last link to a storied time.
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. was born Nov. 25, 1960, at 
Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, three weeks after 
his father was elected president of the United States.
    The first child born to a president-elect, John Jr. started 
life as a celebrity. Newsreel footage of John-John--his parents 
called him John; the press gave him his nickname--and sister 
Caroline further endeared the children to the country.
    ``As a nation, we've grown up with him,'' said Halberstam 
of Kennedy.
    In 1963, the Kennedys lost a baby, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, 
who was born prematurely and died two days later. The infant 
suffered from hyaline membrane disease, a lung condition. 
Kennedy was born with the same illness but overcame it and 
became a spirited little boy who, as time went by, took 
particular pleasure in eluding the Secret Service agents 
assigned to the Kennedys for protection.
    After President Kennedy's death, the children moved with 
their mother to Georgetown and, shortly, to a 15-room co-op on 
the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Kennedy went to St. David's, 
a Catholic elementary school, and then attended the Collegiate 
School, one of the oldest in Manhattan, from the third to 10th 
    Stunned by Robert Kennedy's assassination, Jacqueline 
Kennedy reportedly was terrified that killers would target her 
children. She married Greek shipping executive Aristotle 
Onassis, 29 years older than she. John Jr. and Caroline 
continued studies in New York, where their mother lived during 
the school year, but during the summer, Onassis, Jacqueline and 
the children traveled widely.
    In school, Kennedy demonstrated an interest in theater. He 
learned to appreciate the arts, one of his mother's passions, 
and, like other members of the Kennedy family, also came to 
appreciate at an early age that while he was richly blessed, 
many of the world's people are bent low by poverty.
    Kennedy was 15 when he spent a summer in Guatemala helping 
the struggling Central American nation rebuild after a 
devastating hurricane--the first of many efforts on behalf of 
    While still a teenager, Kennedy enrolled in--and 
completed--an Outward Bound survival course off the coast of 
Maine and on another occasion worked as a cowpoke in Wyoming.
    Kennedy also survived Phillips Academy in Andover, N.H.--
but only after repeating junior-year math. Then it was on to 
Brown University, where Kennedy studied history and acted in a 
number of university dramatic productions. His first leading 
role was in J. M. Synge's, ``Playboy of the Western World.''
    At the Brown campus in Providence, R.I., yesterday, most 
officials were off for the weekend but university police 
officers still were answering phones.
    One veteran, Sgt. Steve St. Jean, said he remembered 
Kennedy clearly--and not because the president's son got in 
    But Kennedy was a celebrity, of course, and St. Jean 
remembers Jackie Onassis, as she was known by then, visiting 
campus and attending dramatic productions in which her son was 
appearing. ``He was an excellent kid,'' said St. Jean. ``Very 
low-key, very low-key, and extremely polite.''
    While in school and for a few years after graduation in 
1983, Kennedy was a young man on the move.
    He worked in Zimbabwe and South Africa and, stunned by the 
effects of apartheid, returned to the United States and 
organized an agency called the South African Group for 
Education. He interned at the Center for Democratic Policy, a 
liberal think tank in Washington, tutored poor kids in English, 
did fund-raising for the Democratic Party--even worked with a 
group of divers searching for a pirate ship off Cape Cod.
    Kennedy enrolled in law school at New York University and 
spent summers at the Justice Department, where he did research 
on civil rights cases. He graduated in 1989 and after famously 
and finally passing the bar, went to work for Manhattan 
District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
    At Morgenthau's shop, Kennedy prosecuted defendants charged 
with consumer fraud and political corruption, before moving on 
to more demanding cases. He hung in until 1993. One associate 
was quoted in a magazine story as saying that Kennedy was 
restless and looking for other challenges. ``John said his 
heart was never really in it,'' the associate said.
    Kennedy dabbled again.
    He did considerable charity work, acted as head of a 
nonprofit agency that did advocacy work for hospital orderlies, 
and, in 1994, introduced segments for a WNYC-TV series called 
``Heart of the City,'' dealing with issues such as literacy, 
self-esteem and alternative transportation.
    Kennedy continued to be a presence in New York. He worked 
with arts and theater groups and seemed committed to the 
culture of the city. When Kennedy attended the rededication of 
Grand Central Station in October, it was a particularly 
poignant occasion for him because his mother, who died in 1994, 
had been pivotal in saving the splendid space from destruction. 
As he looked over the renovated station with its polished 
marble expanses and arching ceiling of oceanic blue, Kennedy 
said: ``My mother would be very happy today.''
    In 1995, Kennedy had a new idea.
    He wanted to begin a publication of social commentary and 
political analysis--a risky move in the hyper-competitive world 
of slick magazines.
    But with partner Michael Berman, Kennedy got George 
Magazine onto newsstands with a first issue that splashed Cindy 
Crawford on the cover with a bare midriff and done up like 
George Washington.
    The magazine's tone was sassy--but serious--and associates 
say that Kennedy was not just a ceremonial chief of the 
operation but a for-real, hands-on editor. Kennedy conducted 
interviews himself, wrote essays and once caused a stir for 
criticizing in print the way certain cousins were conducting 
their lives.
    It must say something that the liberal Kennedy chose Tony 
Blankley, former press chief for conservative former House 
Speaker Newt Gingrich, to be editor-at-large.
    Interviewed yesterday on CNN, Blankley described his boss 
in glowing terms, as a man with a ``real human sense.''
    Blankley said Kennedy was without pretense.
    ``If you didn't know his last name, you'd think he was just 
another nice, young man.''

             [From The New York Daily News, July 19, 1999]

              Bessette Sisters: Friends, Colleagues Share

                       Memories of Two Standouts
 (By Edward Lewine, Lisa Colangelo and Bill Hutchinson with K.C. Baker 
                           and Dave Goldiner)

    They watched in awe as Carolyn Bessette wed the prince of 
Camelot, and they admired Lauren Bessette's conquest of the 
financial world.
    But yesterday, friends of both women watched TV sets 
showing rescuers off Martha's Vineyard, Mass., plying waters 
poised to swallow all the dreams of three promising people.
    For Deborah Allis Lamoureux, 33, of Stamford, Conn., the 
woman who became Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was still the 
kindest, most beautiful blonde she'd ever befriended.
    Lamoureux was the valedictorian of the class of 1983 at St. 
Mary's High School in Greenwich, Conn., the same class that 
boasts Carolyn Bessette.
    ``It's really hard to say a bad thing about Carolyn,'' said 
Lamoureux, tears welling in her eyes. ``She was such a 
wonderful person, really vivacious, outgoing. She liked to kid 
around and be a little rowdy at times, but we were all like 
    Lamoureux pulled out the high school yearbook she got 
Carolyn Bessette to sign when they were juniors.
    ``Deb, I can't believe I finally made it. You made Doc's 
class and my first year a good one,'' wrote Bessette, using the 
nickname of a teacher. ``Thanks. Love Carolyn.''
    ``When Carolyn married JFK Jr. my girlfriend and I from 
high school called up one another and said, `Is that our 
Carolyn?' We just thought, `Wow! that's really great,' '' 
Lamoureux said. ``To hear this sad news now is really shocking 
because they . . . had so much to offer the world.''
    Carolyn Bessette and her twin sisters, Lauren and Lisa, 35, 
grew up in a big white, clapboard house on Lake Ave. in 
    Their mother, Anne, was pregnant with Carolyn when she and 
her husband, William Bessette, a cabinet salesman from White 
Plains, N.Y., divorced. When Anne married orthopedic surgeon 
Richard Freeman, the family moved to Greenwich.
    Although Lauren and Lisa attended and graduated from 
Greenwich High School, Carolyn's mother felt the public school 
wasn't the right fit for her youngest child.
    Carolyn told friends her mother and stepfather sent her to 
St. Mary's Catholic School because she was ``having too good a 
time'' at Greenwich High.
    ``There were 350 kids in the school--everyone knew each 
other,'' said Melissa Nigro, who graduated from St. Mary's a 
year ahead of Carolyn. ``She was friendly and outgoing. She 
hung out with the guys more than the girls.''
    When she graduated in 1983, classmates voted Carolyn the 
``Ultimate Beautiful Person.'' She didn't change after 
enrolling at Boston University, where she majored in elementary 
education and appeared on the cover of a calendar called ``The 
Girls of B.U.''
    After college Carolyn worked in publicity for a group of 
Boston nightclubs. Then designer Calvin Klein spotted the blue-
eyed willowy blonde and hired her to work in publicity in New 
York. In a world of celebrity, she never let it go to her head, 
friends said.
    She impressed even casual acquaintances at Calvin Klein 
with her friendly outgoing demeanor. Always smiling, she 
buttonholed co-workers in corridors of the firm's W. 39th St. 
headquarters and went out of her way to greet them on the 
    Angie Hobson worked in a different division of the fashion 
giant, but often shared an uptown subway ride with Bessette on 
the N or R lines to Times Square.
    ``She was the kind of person who always smiled at 
everyone,'' Hobson said. ``We always smiled and said hello, 
even though we weren't close friends.''
    At Hobart College in upstate Geneva, Lauren Bessette 
studied business and dreamed of excelling in the financial 
world. She succeeded, becoming a vice president with Morgan 
Stanley Dean Witter.
    A colleague, Greg Neumann, who prayed for Lauren, her 
sister and JFK Jr. yesterday at St. Michael's Church in 
Greenwich, said he worked with Lauren in Hong Kong and came to 
admire her.
    ``She was devoted to her work, very professional and well-
respected by her peers,'' Neumann said. ``She seemed to be a 
beautiful person. She had a lot of friends.''

             [From The New York Daily News, July 19, 1999]

                        Kennedy Genuine Article
                            (By Mike Lupica)

    We always associate grace with the old.
    It seems those who are seen as the truest New Yorkers, the 
ones who love the city from the sidewalks up, always want to 
tell you about the past.
    But John F. Kennedy Jr., still so young over the ocean 
Friday night, showed grace from the start. He loved the city as 
much as anybody you could know, and came to be a part of it the 
way his mother was.
    There was a night not long ago at a Knicks playoff game 
when he waited patiently to make his way through the media 
crowd waiting in the hallway between the locker rooms. It had 
been a great, loud night at the Garden, full of excitement, 
which had now spilled into this narrow area about 100 feet from 
the court.
    ``I love this place,'' Kennedy said. ``They just let you be 
part of the crowd here.''
    And even with the way the cameras followed him his whole 
life, the way he seemed to slip through them like a running 
back slipping through the line and then into the open, he could 
have been talking about New York. His face is as famous as any 
we have, as famous as any face of his time, and yet somehow he 
was able to still be part of the crowd.
    ``John was always the star,'' his cousin Tim Shriver, an 
old friend, told me once. ``He just didn't go around expecting 
anybody to treat him that way.''
    He was on his way to the family homes at Cape Cod on Friday 
night, his wife and sister-in-law in the plane with him. He did 
not plan to fly in darkness. It seems he got caught in Friday 
night traffic getting out of the city, and left later than he 
had planned.
    Now it seems as if we have lost another member of his 
family too soon, this one as full of possibilities as any of 
them, even if he never showed any inclination to be political 
    He had tried the law. He had started a smart, independent 
magazine. He was independent enough himself to take on his own 
cousin, Joseph Kennedy 3rd, on the pages of that magazine, 
known as George.
    There are people who know John Kennedy well, have known him 
his whole life, who thought he someday might try acting again. 
He was always willing to take a chance.
    Acting in college. Starting a magazine about politics, 
doing that as a Kennedy. Jumping out of an airplane.
    Flying a single-engine airplane away from the adopted home 
that he loved, New York, in the gathering darkness on Friday 
    I knew him just a little, because of sports. He called up 
on the telephone one time when he was preparing to interview 
Don Imus. And I would see him at the Garden a lot for the 
Knicks. He sat at the Eighth Ave. end, first row under the 
basket, maybe 10 seats from the end of the Knicks' bench, over 
to his left.
    There was never a big entrance. There was never once the 
idea that he was there to be seen, the way so many of the other 
front-row celebrities are. He was there to see the game.
    To be part of the crowd.
    He made every head near him turn when he walked into the 
room, even if it was the Garden, one of the great rooms of New 
York. He acted oblivious to it all, the way his mother always 
did, when she would bring her immense grace into a room.
    A star who didn't expect to be treated that way.
    I always wondered if the rich young millionaire ballplayers 
on the court in front of John Kennedy knew how much they could 
learn from him about how real stars are supposed to act.
    The city saw him on his bicycle, and running through the 
parks. He never hid. He saw that it did no good for his mother. 
So there he was.
    The other night, the night before he got into his airplane, 
he went to see the Yankees and the Braves play at Yankee 
Stadium. Of course, the cameras found him, even in the middle 
of another amazing crowd for the Yankees, wearing a white dress 
shirt, open at the collar, looking cool as ever on a hot night, 
watching the game while everybody in the area watched him.
    A prince of his family who became a prince of the city.

                 [From The Boston Globe, July 20, 1999]

             The Beliefs That Survive a Death in the Family
                          (By Thomas Oliphant)

    What curse? There is no curse, not on the Kennedy family, 
not on anything.
    What genetic streak of recklessness? There is no such 
    The intersection of celebrity culture, phony melodrama, and 
debased journalism that defines modern American mass media is 
not the stuff of true legend and myth--epic concepts both. They 
are the ingredients of absurdity and obscenity.
    President Clinton was correct in observing for a 
heartbroken country on Sunday that the loss of John F. Kennedy 
Jr. is no isolated event, that his family ``has suffered much, 
and given more.'' It is the two halves of that insightful point 
that need to be seen together.
    For the fact is that none of the genuine feelings this 
tragedy has evoked--and none of the blarney we have endured 
through the airwaves--would exist had not three sons of Joseph 
and Rose Kennedy lost their lives in the service of their 
    It is an obvious fact that has escaped notice, but it is 
central to the point the president made. Without those deaths, 
the extended family's later tragedies would not be special, 
much less unique.
    But there's much more. The deaths of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., 
John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy were not events isolated 
in a past time. Each left enduring legacies that make them a 
part of our culture and politics today.
    Joe Jr.'s death is a metaphor for the thousands of kids who 
volunteered for dangerous assignments during World War II and 
didn't return. And John and Robert Kennedy don't live on 
because there are so many pictures of a glittering time in the 
1960s when so much of the country was so vigorously positive. 
In part they live on through their siblings.
    By now, it is generally recognized that Senator Edward 
Kennedy has been one of a handful of the most important 
legislators in American history. And it helps to know that one 
of his sisters (Eunice Kennedy Shriver) has had more of a 
positive impact on social services in the country than most of 
the relevant Cabinet officers of recent decades; and that 
another (Jean Kennedy Smith) was the ambassador to Ireland who 
helped transform the violent despair of the North to real hope.
    As it turned out, Camelot was never the correct analogy. 
Instead of one brief, shining moment, it has been half the 
American century, and it is already certain to be a good chunk 
of the next one.
    The legacy has two main components. The first is the 
ongoing capacity to motivate Americans to get involved in 
public service on the basis of a faith that effort leads 
inexorably to improvement.
    The second is an enduring impatience with the ideological 
status quo and a relentless experimentation with new ideas. 
John and Robert Kennedy, especially the latter after his 
brother's murder, were the bridging figures between the New 
Deal era of government services and the modern, creative 
concept of empowerment. It is no accident that their ideas--
from Medicare to empowerment zones, from tax cuts to welfare 
reform--have been invoked by the likes of Ronald Reagan and 
Jack Kemp as well as by Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson.
    The tradition 53 years after John Kennedy ran for Congress 
is clearly dynastic, but this a dynasty of effort and 
achievement, not of heredity and entitlement.
    I have written about Kennedys for 30 years, and the only 
thing I know for sure is that, apart from the motivation to 
service and the intense family ties, each one is an individual, 
and assertively so.
    Though his death was tragic because he was still young, 
John Kennedy fit the mold of mold-breaker perfectly. I am 
positive he was headed for politics himself, but his way was 
going to fit his generation's lack of romantic illusions and be 
from the outside in. His heroes (Nelson Mandela and Cesar 
Chavez) were activists more than politicians.
    But it is no accident that his passing shifts our gaze 
naturally. Maryland's lieutenant governor, Kathleen Kennedy 
Townsend (Robert Kennedy's daughter), is a national leader 
among New Democrats. Representative Patrick Kennedy (Senator 
Kennedy's son) is part of Dick Gephardt's leadership in the 
House. There are scholar-writers (Caroline Kennedy 
Schlossberg); and innovative environmentalists (Robert Kennedy 
Jr. and Maxwell Taylor Kennedy); and there is possibly the next 
governor of Massachusetts (former Representative Joe Kennedy).
    Perseverance in the face of tragedy rests not only on a 
religious faith that a day of real justice will come, but also 
on President Kennedy's inaugural affirmation that on earth, 
God's work must truly be our own. In hundreds of speeches by 
various Kennedys through the years, there are three 
consistently repeated thoughts:
    With Oliver Wendell Holmes, that a person is involved in 
the actions and passions of his time at the peril of being 
judged not to have lived; with George Bernard Shaw, that while 
some see things as they are and ask why, I dream things that 
never were and ask why not; and, the one that always hits me 
hardest, that all of us can make a difference and each of us 
should try.
    You can grieve and weep with these special Americans, and 
you can honor their heritage by vowing never, ever, to give up.

                [From The New York Times, July 20, 1999]

                         More Than Mere Glamour
                           (By Sam Tanenhaus)

    Now that the assessments of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s short 
life have begun, the general impression seems to be that his 
importance had more to do with his good looks, his glamorous 
aura and his good nature than with any particular contribution 
he made to American politics or society. But that would be a 
misreading of who he was.
    Certainly, as an adult he struggled to find himself. 
Although he had an early interest in acting, he drifted to law 
school and a short tenure in the Manhattan prosecutor's office, 
where he was well liked but hardly stood out. ``I'm clearly not 
a major legal genius,'' Mr. Kennedy cheerfully admitted after 
twice failing the bar exam while the tabloids crowed over the 
``Hunk Who Flunked.''
    In 1995, he attempted his first sustained venture when he 
founded George, the glossy political magazine. But when the 
first issue appeared, with Cindy Crawford on the cover dressed 
up as a winking George Washington, complete with powdered wig 
and bare midriff, Mr. Kennedy's judgment and his seriousness 
seemed suspect once again.
    The criticism grew louder after Mr. Kennedy bared much of 
his own body in the pages of the magazine. More recently, his 
high-profile friendships with the likes of Larry Flynt and Mike 
Tyson left some wondering whether he retained any respect for 
the great political name he bore.
    But in truth, Mr. Kennedy seems to have understood with 
unique clarity that he had become an emblem of the new 
celebrity politics. Today that politics is all around us.
    There is the starstruck road show following Hillary Rodham 
Clinton around New York. There is the current Presidential 
race. Al Gore, we're told, is worried about his poor showing 
among those who constitute the ``Ally McBeal'' vote--that is, 
among single young women who still swoon over Bill Clinton but 
are bored by Mr. Gore's wonkery and his wooden demeanor. 
Meanwhile, George W. Bush is outpacing all his Republican 
rivals because he's more charming and relaxed than they are, 
more ``fun,'' which is another way of saying that Mr. Bush 
would fare best on MTV.
    Politics was not always so trivial a business. To watch the 
Presidential television debates of 1960, the great media event 
of their day, is to marvel at the seriousness of the subjects 
addressed by the two very grown-up candidates, John F. Kennedy 
and Richard M. Nixon.
    Should the United States mount an assault against Fidel 
Castro? Had we allowed the Soviets to create a ``missile gap'' 
that gave them a nuclear advantage? Just how many millions of 
Americans were impoverished and undernourished? Mr. Kennedy 
came out ahead, according to conventional wisdom, because he 
was more telegenic than his opponent. But that mattered only 
because he held his own on the issues.
    Today's politics is far different, and for John F. Kennedy 
Jr. what may have been most telling is how many years he let go 
by without seeking elective office. After his poised and 
polished performance at the 1988 Democratic convention, it was 
widely assumed he would enter politics. The opportunity was 
there--for instance, his name was mentioned when New York's 
Daniel Patrick Moynihan decided not to seek re-election to the 
Senate. But Mr. Kennedy held back.
    ``A public career is--it's a lot to bite off. And you 
better be ready for it,'' he said when asked about the 
attractions of political life.
    These were not the words of a naif but the wary judgment of 
someone who knew, with harrowing exactitude, that there is a 
shadow side to all this political fun. He had grown up being 
trailed by Secret Service agents. No one knew better than he 
that democracy's entertainments can quickly become disturbing 
    Many have praised his ongoing interest in politics. But the 
public service he gravitated toward was charitable and 
nonpolitical and done behind the scenes. Like Princess Diana, 
with whom he apparently felt a kinship, Mr. Kennedy was 
especially drawn to the plight of have-nots and outcasts. 
Reaching Up, the nonprofit group he headed for a decade, helped 
train people who work with the mentally retarded.
    It is hard not to think that some part of him must have 
hated politics. Perhaps this was why George, though Mr. Kennedy 
described it as a vehicle for raising civic awareness, did best 
when it made sport of politics and political figures and of the 
pundits who have become celebrities in their own right. It 
seems somehow emblematic that on a recent visit to South Dakota 
Mr. Kennedy wanted to rappel down Mount Rushmore (a request 
denied by park officials); rather than trying to scale the 
heights of elective politics, he was more like a child thumbing 
his nose at it.
    In the final volume of his memoirs Henry Kissinger reckons 
the cost Camelot exacted from all Presidents who followed. 
``John F. Kennedy's Presidency was too brief to require him to 
choose between heroism and stardom, or even to be conscious of 
the choice,'' Mr. Kissinger wrote. ``Kennedy was able to 
practice both modes, unintentionally mortgaging the tenure of 
his immediate successors who fell prey to the illusion that no 
choice needed to be made.''
    John Kennedy Jr. was granted no choice at all. It was 
stardom from the beginning. But he never confused it with 
heroism, and he deserves our gratitude for doing his best to 
make sure we understood the difference, too.

               [From The Washington Post, July 20, 1999]

                     JFK Jr.: Charity's Dream Prize
                           (By Art Buchwald)

    I knew John F. Kennedy Jr., not intimately enough, but 
enough to say hello to on Martha's Vineyard. It was a place his 
mother loved very much and one he and his sister, Caroline, 
loved as well.
    We have a charity auction on the island for Community 
Services, which includes day-care centers, visiting nurses, 
drug and alcohol abuse counseling, and other services to help 
people in need.
    Ours is different from other auctions in that the items 
cannot be purchased anywhere--they are sold as dreams. We 
auction off a sailboat ride with Walter Cronkite, an extra part 
in a Mike Nichols movie, an evening at Lincoln Center with 
Beverly Sills, a tennis game with Mike Wallace, a walk across 
the bridge with David McCullough, and a luncheon with Kay 
    Three years ago, I called John Kennedy and asked him if we 
could auction him off.
    He was reluctant but finally agreed to take four people on 
a bicycle trip around Gay Head near his home.
    The ride sold for almost $12,500 and was one of the most 
popular of all the items.
    A few weeks ago, I called John and asked him if he would be 
auctioned off for lunch at George Magazine.
    He hesitated and then said, ``I'll be honest with you. I 
hate to be auctioned off. I feel part of a slave market.'' I 
said, ``I understand.'' Realizing I had let him off the hook, 
he said, ``Tom Hanks is on the island and he loves Martha's 
    He laughed, and I thanked him for the tip.
    John, his wife and sister-in-law's tragic flight to 
Martha's Vineyard struck so many people in this country. It 
forced us to relive other Kennedy tragedies, particularly his 
father's assassination. Once again, a country went into 
mourning for a Kennedy.
    Not only was John Kennedy Jr. very much part of our 
history, but he represented the type of person we wanted our 
sons to be.
    When it was announced he had disappeared, those of us on 
the Vineyard received dozens of calls from friends around the 
country who felt or wanted to feel that we knew more than they 
did. We didn't. Our source of information was the TV, the same 
source they were tuned in to.
    John Kennedy Jr. was not an astronaut, a war hero, a Nobel 
Prize-winning scientist or a professional athlete. Yet somehow 
we were connected. As with all the Kennedys, he was family.

                    [From USA Today, July 20, 1999]

               Son of Privilege Fathered Many Good Works
                         (By Jeannie Williams)

    ``He was a man of uncommon grace and patience. I think he 
was comfortable with himself.'' That was Paul Newman's comment 
Monday on John F. Kennedy Jr.--two famous men who were in 
cahoots when it came to doing good.
    John Kennedy, believed dead with his wife and sister-in-law 
in Friday's plane crash off Martha's Vineyard, did more good in 
his 38 years than most people knew.
    He was more outgoing in public than sister Caroline, but 
John never trumpeted his charity work.
    He founded a group, Reaching Up, to help retarded and 
developmentally disabled people. And having done a little 
acting himself, not to mention having dated actresses, he was 
on the board of Naked Angels, a New York theater group. He also 
was a member of the Robin Hood Foundation, which fights poverty 
in New York City with after-school and food programs and job 
    His mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was on the board of 
the Whitney Museum of American Art, and he shared her interest. 
He chaired one of its most successful galas, in 1996, and he 
and wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy attended the March affair. 
They also supported the Municipal Art Society, another of 
Onassis' longtime interests.
    Kennedy and Newman founded the Newman's Own/George Awards 
for companies that not only give money to charity, but also 
train workers and find jobs for them.
    George Update: In an odd conjunction of events, Michael 
Berman, who co-founded George Magazine with Kennedy in 1995, 
left its publisher, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, on Friday, 
the day of Kennedy's disappearance.
    Berman, who wasn't commenting, had departed from George two 
years ago after reported conflicts with Kennedy, his good 
friend and partner, to work on Hachette's film and TV projects. 
He will now start an Internet firm.
    Meanwhile, the president and CEO of Hachette, Jack Kliger, 
expressed sorrow in a statement Monday, noting, ``John's 
reputation as a visionary editor, a talented business man and a 
fine role model is known throughout the industry and indeed 
throughout the world.'' The future of George was uncertain even 
before the loss of Kennedy, but Kliger added, ``HFM continues 
to be committed to fulfilling John's vision for the magazine.''
    Calvin Klein, for whom Carolyn Bessette Kennedy had worked 
(though her wedding gown was by another designer), issued a 
brief statement: ``Carolyn and John worked hard to keep their 
relationship as private and intimate as their circumstances 
would allow. I feel it's important to respect their efforts. My 
thoughts and sympathy are with their families.''
    First Fan: Hillary Rodham Clinton, who called John's sister 
Saturday, had warm memories of him, she told Family Circle 
contributing editor Nancy Lloyd on Monday for a future article 
in that magazine. The first lady recalled John's attending 
``the very first event that was held in New York'' for Bill 
Clinton's presidential campaign, she said.
    But ``my fondest memories of him were from the time we 
spent together on Martha's Vineyard,'' where the Clintons have 
vacationed. She recalled dinner with John, his sister, Sen. 
Edward Kennedy and Caroline's family.
    ``We'd play this hilarious game that John was always the 
mastermind of . . . called Bartlett's. I think it's a family 
game.'' Players are told a name from John Bartlett's Familiar 
Quotations and must make up a quote to go with the name, then 
vote on whose quote most resembles the saying in the book.
    John, she said, ``was creative and funny and he wrote well. 
. . . We would have a great time sitting in their living room, 
yelling about these quotations. He was always so genuinely 
friendly and nice.''
    The first lady also recalled a gift to John after he spoke 
at a White House screening of the recent HBO series From the 
Earth to the Moon. ``I kidded him afterward that if he was 
going to be making a lot of speeches afterward, which I thought 
he would, he needed a folder for his speech notes.''
    She bought one and had his initials put on it. ``He wrote 
me a really cute, funny letter back about how I obviously 
thought he was going to need more practice making speeches. He 
had this wonderful, self-deprecating humor.''
    The gift now carries a sad irony, since John's possible 
political future was always speculated about. He would have 
made many more speeches if Newsweek's Jonathan Alter is right 
in saying John might have run for the Senate next year--if 
Hillary Clinton had not set her sights on the New York seat.
    Golden Boy: Adman Jerry Della Femina recalled John as very 
visible on Hamptons visits. ``He Rollerbladed into my Red Horse 
Market and stopped business for 10 minutes. No one ever got 
used to seeing him. When you saw him, you felt good, a magical 
thing few people possess.''
    Elaine Lafferty in The (Dublin) Irish Times: ``America's 
heart was broken again over the weekend with the news that Mr. 
Kennedy Jr.'s plane had crashed. . . . The outpouring of grief, 
the specter of a nation gathered around its televisions 
watching round-the-clock accounts of the search for his plane, 
can seem baffling. `Come on. It's sad, but he was just a rich 
kid who had a famous father,' said one man in a pub. . . . 
`What did he ever do on his own?' . . . But Mr. Kennedy Jr. 
came to symbolize something important, not just because of who 
his father was, but because of the kind of life he was leading. 
. . . (He was) a man whose life was decanting, and who 
understood that wisdom could not be rushed.''
    John Timpane in The Philadelphia Inquirer: ``Our ability to 
perceive tragedy is a test of our morality. From what I've seen 
this weekend, I'd say America is full of people who pass that 
test. . . . (Tragedy is) a test of our ability to acknowledge 
fate, to bear the suffering of others. . . . Take this comfort, 
at least, from the horror of this weekend: The sorrow you feel 
today may be a gauge of your goodness.''
    Joe Sciacca in the Boston Herald: ``We are left wondering 
not just what might have been, but what was. There was 
something about John F. Kennedy Jr. . . . Something that 
signaled he had not quite found his place yet. . . . Defining 
JFK Jr., as every pundit in America is struggling to do, is not 
possible. And that may well be the elusive legacy for which he 
    The Washington Times in an editorial: ``The media responded 
to the grim tidings as though a head of state had died. . . . 
It is an unnatural and terrible and newsworthy thing for a 
parent to have to bury a child. . . . Americans aren't ready to 
bury a `son' they had watched grow to a life full of promise.''
    Calgary Sun in an editorial: ``He was the tangible link to 
the magic of his father's White House Camelot--a simpler time, 
when leaders were larger than life, when people dared to 
believe, when it seemed dreams were possible. With the crash of 
John-John's plane, we face the reality that the link may be 
broken, forever. And so we pray for the Kennedy families. And 
for that little piece of our own dreams, as well.''

                 [From The Boston Globe, July 21, 1999]

     JFK Jr. Kept his Charitable Work Private, But Helped Thousands
                            (By Fred Kaplan)

    Everybody knew he rode his bike through the streets of 
Manhattan, played softball and Frisbee in Central Park, and 
made grand entrances at black-tie galas.
    But John F. Kennedy Jr. also worked--quietly but very 
intensively, his associates say--with several charity groups 
that have donated millions of dollars and helped thousands of 
people in the city he made his own.
    In 1988, the year People Magazine declared him ``the 
sexiest man alive,'' Kennedy formed Reaching Up, an 
organization to improve care for the mentally handicapped.
    Three years later, he joined the board of the Robin Hood 
Foundation, a group started by Wall Street millionaires that 
gives more than $1 million a month to programs to help the 
city's impoverished children.
    ``This was no resume-builder for him,'' Peter Kiernan III, 
Robin Hood's chairman, as well as a managing director at the 
Goldman Sachs investment house, said yesterday. ``This was not 
a subtle, slight involvement. He was very engaged. He was a 
full partner. Quite often, he kept us focused on our mission 
when we started to drift away.''
    For some of the group's causes, including a school in 
Harlem, Kennedy was the one who initiated the contact and 
encouraged the board to act.
    ``He came to every board meeting, went to look at every 
place we invested in,'' Kiernan said. ``When we went to a 
school, he'd talk with the strategic-planning people, and John 
was very good at that. But he'd also plunge right in there with 
the schoolchildren. `Hey, kids, what's going on.' He'd get into 
conversations with them. . . . We lost a great guy here.''
    Reaching Up grew out of the Kennedy family's longstanding 
charity work with the mentally retarded, which began as a 
tribute to his father's sister, Rosemary, who has been 
institutionalized for many years.
    ``John spent about a year investigating how to get involved 
in this,'' said Bill Ebenstein, the executive director of 
Reaching Up. ``And he realized the best way to support people 
with disabilities was to support the workers who provided 
services for them, by creating a program for them in higher 
education and helping them pay for it.''
    Barbara Anselm, now the director of an adult day care 
program for United Cerebral Palsy in Brooklyn, was a caseworker 
and advocate for the handicapped in 1991, when Kennedy awarded 
her a stipend, one of the first.
    ``It helped me pay the tuition so I could go to classes at 
night,'' Anselm recalled. ``I met John Kennedy. He told me he 
had selected my application himself. It was nice to know--it 
encouraged me to know--that people of that stature were 
supporting me.''
    Before Reaching Up, Ebenstein said, people like Anselm had 
few professional prospects.
    ``These were people with low-wage jobs, poverty jobs 
really,'' he said. ``There was no career ladder. Politicians 
were talking then about `quality health care,' but John 
realized you could never build a quality system of services 
unless you had quality jobs for the front-line workers.''
    So, Kennedy funded--and persuaded professionals in a 
variety of fields to develop--a series of courses on 
disabilities at the City University of New York, especially its 
East Side Manhattan branch at Hunter College.
    ``He'd bring public and private entities together to work 
out how to do this: city and state agencies, the public 
universities, the hospital workers' unions,'' Ebenstein said. 
``He could hold a coalition like this together. He led these 
meetings, visited all the places, knew all the executive 
    Ebenstein is unsure whether the organization can continue 
without Kennedy. ``Keeping these entities together--you've got 
all this infighting and politics--you need someone who can 
transcend that,'' he said. ``I'm hoping we can keep doing it, 
but I don't know.''
    In the decade since it began, Reaching Up has awarded 
stipends to 400 Kennedy Fellows, 90 percent of whom have stayed 
in the field of helping the disabled. Ebenstein estimated that 
an additional 1,000 students have taken college courses that 
the organization has created.
    Kennedy played down his involvement in these areas.
    David Saltzman, who is executive director of the Robin Hood 
Foundation and went to Brown University with Kennedy in the 
1980s, declined to talk specifically about his role in the 
    ``He was a friend of mine,'' Saltzman said. ``He asked me 
to respect his privacy, and I'm going to continue doing that.''
    Ebenstein made the same point: ``He did not seek publicity. 
We'd win an award, and I'd say, `Can't we put out a news 
release?' He'd say, `No.' He feared people would just focus on 
him and miss the substance of what he was doing.''

                [From The New York Post, July 21, 1999]

                  Post Reporter Recalls JFK Jr. Fondly
                            (By Mike Pearl)

    Mike Pearl covered Manhattan Criminal Court for the New 
York Post for 31 years until his retirement last year. He had 
more contact with John Kennedy Jr. during Kennedy's four-year 
stint as an assistant district attorney than did any other 

    I met John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1989, just a few days after he 
joined the Manhattan district attorney's office.
    Another ADA introduced us during lunch at Forlini's, a 
restaurant close to the courthouse.
    The first thing I did was apologize to him. Kennedy looked 
surprised. ``What for?'' he asked. ``What have you done?''
    ``Nothing yet,'' I told him. ``But I'm afraid I'm going to 
be quite a pest.''
    He smiled and said he understood that it was my job. But I 
don't think he had any idea at that point what lay ahead of 
    Hardly a week would go by that either The Post's city desk 
or Page Six would have me run down a tip that he either had a 
new girlfriend or was breaking up with an old one, was running 
for political office or had been offered another high-profile 
    It became an almost daily ritual that I would seek him out, 
mostly during the lunch hour, and put the question of the day 
to him. Kennedy never lost his temper and always heard me out.
    If it was a personal question, he would just shake his head 
and say ``I'm not going to answer that.'' Sometimes the query 
amused him and he would smile, but still say nothing.
    He reached out to me three times by phone. The first time, 
he called me at home one night to ask me if I had a good source 
for The Post's exclusive story that he had passed the bar exam 
after having flunked it twice.
    The results of the bar exam were not to be published for 
another four days.
    I assured him he had passed. He thanked me, sounding 
    I remember when he won his first trial. He convinced jurors 
a man was guilty of burglary after cops found the man asleep on 
the victim's bed, his pocket stuffed with her jewelry and cash.
    Kennedy was proud of winning the case, but a little 
embarrassed at how easy it had been.
    The only time he complained was the time he buttonholed me 
after a Page Six item about him and asked: ``Is there any way 
you can stop them from calling me John-John?''
    The second time he called was in 1993 to say he was leaving 
the DA's office and apologized for not giving me the exclusive.
    The third and last time I heard from him was last year when 
he called to say he was sorry he couldn't attend my retirement 
party because of a previous engagement.
    I think it was really because he knew there would be too 
many reporters around and his presence would take the spotlight 
off me at my own party. He was a real gentleman.

                [From The New York Post, July 21, 1999]

           John F. Kennedy--The Man I Knew, The Man I'll Miss
                            (Keith J. Kelly)

    Young John Kennedy was a man of his word, and even when he 
was mad at you, he kept his sense of humor.
    I was on the scene the very first day he stuck his toe into 
the publishing world at the New York Hilton in November 1993. 
He was taking a three-day business course, ``How to Launch Your 
Own Magazine.''
    During a break, he wandered into the hall. ``Hey, John!'' I 
called. ``Are you thinking of launching your own magazine?''
    ``I don't know,'' he said, polite but noncommittal.
    ``If you did launch a magazine, what would it be about?''
    ``I don't know,'' he said. ``I don't mean to be giving you 
a hard time--but I'll be around here for the next few days,'' 
he said. I asked him to promise to call me first if he ever 
launched his own magazine. He said, ``OK, I will.''
    Nearly two years later, I had changed jobs, moving to 
Advertising Age from editing a publishing insider's newsletter. 
Kennedy had found $20 million in funding from Hachette 
Filipacchi Magazines. The press was beating a path to his door 
for the first interview. Newsweek, New Yorker and Esquire all 
put John's face on their covers, even though he would not do 
interviews. On Aug. 30, he gave the first exclusive interview--
to me.
    It ran monster-sized on the front page of Ad Age's Sept. 4, 
'95 issue, with two color photos.
    My dad, Jack Kelly, an old JFK (Sr.) booster, was proud. My 
sister, Kathleen, had the front page framed and gave it to me 
as a Christmas present.
    The New York Times went ballistic. How could Kennedy force 
them to join the great unwashed masses at the 350-person press 
conference later that week for the launch?
    Sure, there were a lot of strategic reasons to give the 
story to the ``bible of the advertising biz,'' as Ad Age is 
known. But I like to think it was John Kennedy keeping the 
simple word he had given to a reporter nearly two years 
    Kennedy recalled with a chuckle how the course instructor 
had advised the class that there were only two topics to avoid 
in starting a new magazine: religion and politics.
    Clearly, he was a chance-taker in business, as in life.
    Once, around St. Patrick's Day, 1996, I asked him to join 
me for a few pints--off the record and without p.r. people.
    We headed down to Swift's Hibernian Lounge in the East 
Village. We were supposed to talk about magazines, but we 
talked more about Northern Ireland.
    One of the things I think he enjoyed most about editing was 
that it allowed him to freely explore any topic he was curious 
about, to complete his education through journalism. On the 
business side, within two years of its launch, George had 
become the biggest political magazine in the country. In fact, 
at 403,000 circulation, George today is bigger than The Nation, 
The New Republic and the National Review combined. But John 
wanted George to become even larger, to eventually reach 
circulation of 1 million.
    But by the end of the magazine's second year, it was having 
some growing pains and still losing money. In August 1997, I 
sought an interview about his decision to pose nude--or nearly 
nude--for the editor's note accompanying the magazine's issue 
that month. The issue sold out--but raised new questions about 
the magazine's direction. Though he ducked this request for an 
interview, he did drop me a line after my unfavorable story 
ran. He proved he hadn't lost his sense of humor or class.
    ``Nude is nude,'' John wrote. ``That's not nude. Perhaps 
you spent too much time in Catholic school. Cheers, John 
    When I moved over to The Post a year ago, he dropped me a 
congratulatory line.
    ``I hope to work with you more in the future,'' he wrote. 
And he signed it: ``John (not John-John) Kennedy.''

               [From The Washington Post, July 21, 1999]

                          Rubles for John-John
                           (By Melor Sturua)

    The day when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas 
was unforgettable for everybody, including me. On that 
particular day I was on duty in Izvestia in my capacity as an 
acting foreign editor of this official Soviet government 
newspaper. The horrible news came too late to be printed in our 
afternoon edition. The paper was already on sale in the streets 
of Moscow. But our weekly literary supplement, Nedelya, was 
still available. I ordered the printing of a big picture of the 
murdered president in a black frame with a short, appropriate 
commentary. My decision was not only journalistic and 
humanitarian but also political. The wire services were 
stressing in their dispatches that the assassin, Lee Harvey 
Oswald, had spent some time in the Soviet Union. The 
implications were obvious, although nobody was making any overt 
connections. To omit the news could only feed these suspicions.
    As soon as I came home, the telephone rang. Comrade Leonid 
Ilyichev was calling. Ilyichev was at that time the secretary 
of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in charge of 
ideology and propaganda.
    ``Did you give the order to publish President Kennedy's 
picture in a black frame?'' he asked.
    The timbre of his intimidating voice wasn't promising 
anything good.
    ``Yes, I did,'' I answered.
    ``So you are so powerful that you even can elevate the 
American president to the status of the members of the 
    ``But why?''
    I was really taken aback.
    ``Because only deceased members of the Politburo are 
entitled to pictures with a black frame. So come tomorrow 
morning to my offices at the Old Square, and don't forget to 
bring your membership card. I promise you that you will leave 
my office without it.''
    At that time, being expelled from the Communist Party meant 
social, political and professional death, especially for a 
journalist who worked at the government newspaper.
    I had a horrible, sleepless night.
    In the morning, before going to my execution at the Old 
Square headquarters of the Central Committee, I went to my 
editor in chief, the powerful son-in-law of Nikita Khrushchev, 
and told him what was happening. He became angry and agitated 
and cursed Ilyichev with unprintable words.
    ``Leonid doesn't know anything,'' he said. ``The Politburo 
has just decided to send [an emissary] to Washington to 
represent the Soviet Union at the state funeral.''
    ``Your decision was correct.''
    ``But what about Ilyichev?'' I asked.
    ``I will handle him myself.''
    The funeral of President Kennedy was shown on Soviet 
television. By the way, it was the first direct, uncensored 
transatlantic transmission. The whole country was moved by the 
ceremony, and of course the most touching scene was the 3-year-
old John-John standing outside St. Matthew's Cathedral in 
Washington squinting into the sun and raising his hand in a 
military salute as his father's coffin rolled by.
    Beginning the next day, letters with rubles in small 
denominations began to pile up on the desk in my office. The 
senders, the majority of them ordinary Russian women, were 
asking me to send this money ``to the poor widow and her 
children.'' Almost everybody was mentioning the ``heart-
wrenching'' scene of John-John's salute.
    The mail, especially the money, created substantial 
difficulties for us. We could not keep the money and could not 
send it to Jacqueline Kennedy. To send it back also was not so 
easy. Many senders didn't give their return addresses. But the 
most difficult part was to compose letters with a tactful 
explanation that would not insult the good, compassionate and 
kind people that the wealthy widow didn't need their worthless 
    Almost 30 years went by before I first met John F. Kennedy 
Jr. At that time I was a fellow at the Kennedy School of 
Government, and young John and his uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy came 
to us for some social gathering. During the luncheon, I told 
John the story of his father's picture in the black frame and 
of the mail with rubles. He was visibly moved, and to hide his 
emotions he joked: ``Well, you better send those rubles on to 
my mother. You know, she needs money.''
    The untimely and unfair death of John Kennedy Jr. has 
shocked Russians, particularly Russian women, who know how to 
feel compassion. But times have changed, for better and for 
worse. Nobody sends money for the poor Kennedys, but on the 
other hand, nobody is punished by the extinct Central Committee 
for publishing John Kennedy's picture.
    And what a pity that John Kennedy Jr. left this world so 
early that he couldn't have his own John-John, who would salute 
his father's coffin.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the University of 
Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

             [From The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 1999]

                            America's Family
                          (By Albert R. Hunt)

    A celebrity, the eminent historian Daniel Boorstin once 
noted, is ``known for his well-knownness.'' The famous, by 
contrast, are recognized as such for their personal merits and 
actual achievements.
    This distinction is at the heart of the public reaction to 
the tragedy of John F. Kennedy Jr., who, with his wife and 
sister-in-law, perished last week in a private plane. I was 
glued to CNN for much of the weekend, and was struck by how 
different the coverage of this death was from that of Princess 
Diana's in 1997. Diana--whose name loomed much larger in the 
public mind than any of her achievements--was a celebrity.
    The same cannot be said of the Kennedys. While John F. 
Kennedy Jr. evoked the myths--and cliches--of Camelot and 
America's ``prince,'' he could not be described simply as a 
celebrity. He belonged to a family that has made and continues 
to make immense contributions to this country. And he showed 
real promise to grow into a genuinely famous person in his own 
    That is why, unlike the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers or 
other once-supposed dynasties, the Kennedys flourish now for a 
third generation of Americans who've lived through their many 
triumphs and far too many tragedies.
    To be sure, the Kennedy family is full of faults. A half-
dozen of the 29 Kennedy cousins in this generation have had 
drug or alcohol problems, and one died. The older generation 
had real flaws, particularly the sexual promiscuity of Jack and 
Ted Kennedy; their role model was family patriarch Joseph P. 
Kennedy. There is a streak of arrogance and recklessness in the 
family that has tarnished the family name and led more than 
once to calamity.
    These travails have spawned a cottage industry of Kennedy-
bashing authors and commentators--as well as self-styled 
``intimates'' who, when tragedy strikes, rush to offer insights 
about someone they knew only casually. But a larger problem is 
that the glamour, glitz and high life--the poetry of the 
Kennedys--has dominated the public's attention and sometimes 
obscured a record of public service and charitable work--the 
prose--that knows few equals.
    ``With the Kennedys,'' says family friend and adviser 
Robert Shrum, ``there is an underlying belief in a fundamental 
idealism that people have an obligation to care about more than 
    President Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy inspired legions of 
Americans to go into public service. Edward M. Kennedy, despite 
his well-chronicled flaws, has become one of the half-dozen 
most influential senators in this century. Those are 
extraordinary achievements by any light.
    It doesn't stop there. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, along with 
her engaging husband, Sarge, has done more than anyone in 
America to focus attention and improve the plight of the 
mentally retarded. One example: earlier this month in Raleigh, 
N.C., 7,000 athletes from 150 countries competed at the 
Shriver-created Special Olympics for the mentally retarded. 
Another JFK sister, Jean Smith, though a thorn in the side of 
the foreign-policy establishment, served five years as 
ambassador to Ireland and played a constructive role in helping 
to fashion the Northern Ireland peace accord.
    Of the next generation, the most notable achievers, 
ironically, may be Joseph Kennedy's 12 granddaughters. Kathleen 
Kennedy Townsend is the lieutenant governor of Maryland and the 
favorite to be the next governor. A woman of exceptional 
decency and intelligence, she's the most likely next national 
Kennedy figure. Her cousin, Maria Shriver, is a prominent 
television journalist; former NBC News president Michael 
Gartner calls her one of the three best TV journalists he 
    Some of the men are prominent too. Patrick Kennedy, a 
three-term Congressman from Rhode Island, is the chairman of 
the Democratic House Campaign committee. Mark Shriver, a 
Maryland state legislator, authored legislation that gave 
adoptive parents the same parental-leave rights as birth 
parents. Tim Shriver is the president of the Special Olympics. 
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an accomplished environmentalist who 
has played a key role in helping clean up New York's Hudson 
River. Willie Smith--acquitted in a controversial rape charge 
eight years ago--now is a rehabilitative medical doctor and the 
organizer of Physicians Against Land Mines.
    Other Kennedys are active in the disabilities, mental 
health and human-rights movements. There are environmentalists, 
writers, filmmakers, and a few journalists. They focus more on 
the dispossessed than on capital gains or inheritance taxes. 
Unlike some other wealthy families, the Kennedys spend little 
time at polo or yacht clubs.
    Of course, the most publicized of the Kennedys have been 
the late president's children. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg is 
a lawyer who has written two critically acclaimed books, one on 
the Bill of Rights and another on the issue of privacy. Those 
who really know Ms. Schlossberg describe her as a bright, 
caring and very-together wife, mother and scholar.
    For his part, John F. Kennedy Jr. was in the process of 
carving out a real identity for himself beyond celebritydom. He 
founded George Magazine--not one of the more profound journals 
in the land, but also not without its merits. Moreover, the 
most interesting parts of it were Kennedy's personal 
contributions, including interviews with Cuban leader Fidel 
Castro, Vietnam's General Giap and conservative patron Richard 
Mellon Scaife. A man who inspired genuine loyalty and affection 
from his friends, Kennedy's political future was almost 
unlimited. And that was not simply on account of his family 
name. How many Roosevelts achieved such success?
    The Kennedys are remarkably resilient people with an 
unusual capacity for growth. They have come back from scandal, 
electoral defeat and personal tragedy to climb new heights, 
whether due to their bedrock Irish Catholic faith or some form 
of genetic toughness.
    America has suffered through much sadness with this family: 
The memories of a little three-year-old boy saluting his 
martyred father and then the unfathomable plane crash that took 
him this past weekend, are anguishing emotional bookends. 
Still, America is a different place because of the Kennedys--a 
much better one.

             [From The New York Daily News, July 23, 1999]

              He Quietly Laid Gifts of Aid Before Hundreds
                           (By Juan Gonzalez)

    They were a lasting passion of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s short 
life, far removed from the celebrity pursuits that fascinated 
the media gossip mavens.
    He called them Kennedy Fellows, and long after this week's 
eulogies have faded from memory, they will remain his greatest 
    Herminia Torres, Connie Gordon, Marjorie Bissainthe--there 
are 400 fellows in all, most of them black and Hispanic--and 
Kennedy knew each of them by name.
    For a decade, he helped finance their education, met with 
them periodically and nurtured their careers through a charity 
he created and headed, the Reaching Up Foundation.
    Scattered in schools and agencies all over town, they were 
toiling among the mentally disabled with little pay and even 
less respect until he came into their lives.
    Yet this son of privilege and pain, whose life has 
captivated America since that fatal day in Dallas, always 
insisted on keeping his work with Reaching Up Foundation away 
from the public spotlight.
    James Murphy recalls the day in 1989 the young Kennedy 
walked into his office and proposed the program.
    Murphy was chairman of the City University at the time. 
Kennedy was brought in by Jeff Sachs, an investment banker and 
one-time health-policy guru for Govs. Hugh Carey and Mario 
Cuomo, and one of Kennedy's closest friends.
    Even now, Sachs, who is the foundation's secretary, refuses 
to talk publicly about his friend's involvement.
    ``I'm only doing what John would have wanted,'' Sachs said 
this week in declining an interview.
    Kennedy was only 28 when he founded Reaching Up. He wanted 
to continue his family's work in the field of mental 
retardation but to tie it to his own interest in education, 
Murphy recalled.
    Kennedy and Sachs realized that caregivers to the mentally 
disabled were mostly minorities and women with few 
opportunities for advancement and few rewards to stay in the 
    They saw the Kennedy Fellowships as a way to elevate the 
prestige of the profession. Kennedy secured the initial funding 
from a family foundation, and Reaching Up began offering 
$1,000-a-year stipends to fellows to continue their education 
at CUNY as well as providing individual mentors and 
professional seminars for them.
    Torres had been a caregiver to the disabled since 1980 and 
still was working toward her bachelor's degree at Lehman 
College in 1993 when she was selected as a fellow.
    The experience changed her life.
    ``I could never repay John for what he did for me and all 
the other fellows,'' she said. ``We had the opportunity to 
grow, to meet other people in the field. And he knew all about 
each of us. He kept track of how we were doing and always told 
us how valuable we front-line workers were.''
    Today, she is the director of the Southern Blvd. Day 
Treatment Training Program in the South Bronx.
    Gordon had a full-time job, was attending Bronx Community 
College full-time and unsure of her future plans when she was 
chosen as a fellow in 1994. The Kennedy mystique opened doors 
she never expected. She went on to get her bachelor's and 
master's degrees and is now a social worker with Project 
    But Kennedy was not just the name on top of the Reaching Up 
    ``This was something he was deeply involved with,'' said 
Jason Chapin, associate director of the foundation. Kennedy 
attended every board meeting and talked regularly with the 
full-time staff.
    And each year he was the keynote speaker at a convocation 
of all the fellows.
    ``He was down-to-earth, a wonderful person,'' Torres said. 
``He never presented an air of importance.''
    Once, Torres was invited to a meeting of the board of 
directors and was surprised to see Kennedy greeting everyone 
who arrived.
    ``Good evening, Herminia,'' Kennedy said with a smile as 
she walked in. ``Thank you for attending.''
    Torres was flabbergasted that ``he knew my name.'' She soon 
discovered that he was getting regular reports on all the 
fellows from the foundation's staff.
    At this year's convocation in May, Bissainthe introduced 
Kennedy and thanked him for all his work. Gordon was there with 
her husband, who urged her to take a photo alongside Kennedy as 
several fellows were doing. She declined.
    ``I told, my husband, `No, I'll take one next year. John 
comes to these every year.' ''

                [From The New York Times, July 23, 1999]

                   The Kennedy Curse, and Other Myths
                       (By Theodore C. Sorensen)

    This week has been inexpressibly sad for those of us who 
had known John F. Kennedy Jr. since the day of his birth nearly 
39 years ago. To rage at the cruelty of fate is of no avail. To 
rage at the fatuity of thoughtless media commentaries is 
perhaps just as futile, but it is difficult to remain silent, 
even during a period of grief, about some of the nonsense that 
has been mixed in with all the heartfelt expressions of sorrow.
    Among the most absurd has been the repeated but mindless 
speculation that there exists some kind of Kennedy family 
``curse.'' The Kennedys are not accursed but blessed.
    True, they have endured, with remarkable religious faith, 
more than their proportionate ``share'' of pain (though that is 
never allotted by the law of averages anyway). But they have 
also been endowed with good genes, good brains, good looks, 
good health and good fortune, with both instincts and 
opportunities for serving their country and helping those who 
are less fortunate.
    Virtually every family has its own silent tragedy. Large 
families are likely to have a larger number of tragedies. 
Highly publicized families have more highly publicized 
    The Kennedy family is both large and highly publicized. But 
for every day of sorrow that the Kennedys have suffered, they 
have over the years celebrated far more days of joy and 
satisfaction--not as American royalty or members of a dynasty 
(more nonsense) but as individuals who know how to do good, 
have fun and love and support each other all at the same time.
    Yet there are limits to how much one can generalize about 
all the members of so sizable and diverse a clan. The 
application of adjectives like ``flamboyant,'' ``arrogant'' and 
``irresponsible'' to all Kennedys by people who clearly know no 
Kennedys is both arrogant and irresponsible.
    Each of the Kennedys whom I have known in the last half 
century, particularly the three brothers who served in the 
United States Senate, has had his own strengths and weaknesses, 
successes and failures, admirers and detractors.
    But all three of the Senators, and clearly many of the 
generation that followed, preferred a life of action and 
commitment to one of ease and repose. They preferred to help 
build a better world rather than merely inhabit it. Unafraid of 
challenge or controversy, they were willing to suffer ``the 
slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.''
    We have been told that the death of J.F.K.'s namesake means 
not only the end of his line and name but also ``the end of the 
Kennedy dream.'' Following previous family tragedies, we were 
also told the dream was ending.
    But the Kennedy dream did not depend on one man's name or 
family. So long as Americans are pre-eminent in space, and 
serving in the Peace Corps, and admitted to lunch counters, 
universities and employment rolls regardless of race, and 
seeking out politics and public service as--in J.F.K.'s words--
a ``proud and lively career,'' the Kennedy dream lives.
    So does the Kennedy family. This country's history of 
political families--the Adamses, the Roosevelts, the Bushes (to 
say nothing of Albert Gore, Sr. and Jr.)--is a proud one. The 
Kennedys are a part of that history and will continue to be.
    Some blame the high level of Kennedy tragedies on the 
Kennedys themselves, on a supposedly common trait of 
recklessness, of self-destruction, of an obsession with 
premature death. More nonsense.
    I associate the Kennedy name with life, not death, with 
hope and vigor and adventure, not despair. All the Kennedys I 
have known, both young and younger, have so loved life that 
they did not want to waste a precious minute of it in useless 
boredom, or to be diverted from any new horizon in it by the 
presence of risk. They knew all about death. President Kennedy 
survived several brushes with it. But they never wished it or 
needlessly courted it. They were too full of life.
    It can be argued that each of us, in our way of life, 
contributes to our ultimate death. But not deliberately or 
heedlessly. People who are committed, sometimes overcommitted, 
must often rush to meet their obligations, and rush means risk. 
And air travel is unforgiving of error.
    John Kennedy Jr.'s father never piloted an airplane. But he 
was ever mindful of the air crashes that killed his older 
brother and sister. In barnstorming the 50 states between the 
July 1956 Democratic National Convention and the January 1960 
announcement of his candidacy for the Presidency, he flew on 
aircraft of all types and sizes, often piloted by amateurs, 
often at night, often in storms, once with me holding the cabin 
door shut, once with him navigating through the co-pilot's 
window, once landing on water and once in a cornfield and 
once--because of a fatigued pilot's misjudgment--almost upside 
    J.F.K. accepted these hazards with calm and humor. He was 
not reckless, much less self-destructive or indifferent to his 
safety or mine. But he did what he had to do.
    Those who care in this country--about the lives of others 
as well as their own--are more likely to dare. They are also 
more likely to get things done. That is not only the very 
essence of the Kennedy tradition, it is also the very essence 
of America.

    Theodore C. Sorensen, a lawyer, worked for John F. Kennedy 
from 1953 to 1963.

                    [From USA Today, July 23, 1999]

                  Words of Admiration and Remembrance
(By Arlene Vigoda, Ann Oldenburg, Jim Drinkard, Cindy Hall, Katy Kelly, 
  Mary Beth Marklein, Stephen Schaefer, Craig Wilson, and Kitty Bean 

A Great Loss
    ``We Americans are reduced by the latest Kennedy tragedy. 
We have lost some flair, some beauty, some daring. Suddenly, we 
are older. Suddenly, we are sadder.''
    --Poet Maya Angelou
Keeping the Faith
    ``John and his wife, Carolyn, came home from their 
honeymoon three days early to interview me for his magazine, 
George. We had a wonderful time together, and I could see a 
great deal of love between them.
    ``John Kennedy Jr. was one of the most terrific young men 
I've ever met. I thought he could be anything he decided to be. 
He had humility, he was kind, he was gracious, and he was 
knowledgeable. Most important, he had a religious faith, but I 
think at that time he was searching for something more 
    ``I talked to him in terms of his own personal relationship 
with God. He was very attentive and he seemed to want to know 
all about his father and his faith. He asked me, `In this life, 
where does our own free will end and God's will begin? Are we 
always responsible for our own actions, or is there a point at 
which God's will takes over?' ''
    ``I told him there is a mystery to all of this and that I 
really didn't know, but that I did know if he had faith in God 
and put his trust and confidence in Him, He would provide a 
peace and a joy and settle his life with certainty.''
    --The Rev. Billy Graham
A Starring Role
    ``I have had great admiration for the way John lived his 
life. Yes, he was a fine college actor, and, yes, he could have 
pursued acting successfully if circumstances had been 
    ``At college he seemed to enjoy those hours under different 
names following different narratives. But more importantly, as 
John F. Kennedy Jr., he managed to live fully and gracefully, 
with humor, intelligence and poise under conditions I can only 
dimly imagine. It is a great loss.''
    --John Emigh, theater professor at Brown University, where 
            JFK Jr. performed in The Playboy of the Western 
            World, The Tempest and Short Eyes
The Hunk
    ``His movie-star facade intrigued people. He was great to 
look at! He tried to be as unassuming as he could, but he was 
an Adonis walking around.''
    --Carol Wallace, managing editor of People Magazine, which 
            declared JFK Jr. ``The Sexiest Man Alive''
The John-John Years
    ``As a child, he was so enthusiastic about life. He always 
ran, never walked. He was always falling and would always get 
righted by an adult and would promptly fall again.''
    --Letitia Baldrige, White House social secretary to 
            Jacqueline Kennedy
A `Regular' Guy
    ``I've interviewed more than 40,000 people in a 42-year 
career. One of the things that stood out about JFK Jr. was how 
truly regular he was. When we were finished, he put on a 
backpack over his suit jacket, walked two blocks to Union 
Station in Washington and took a 10:30 p.m. train home to New 
York with his then-girlfriend, Carolyn Bessette. He treated 
everybody with kindness. He also laughed a lot, a quality 
common to all Kennedys. They have great senses of humor.''
    --Larry King, host of Larry King Live and a USA Today 
The Epitome of Style
    ``I think they (John and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy) were 
teachers of how to live with grace and style and with being 
    --Designer Donna Karan
Professor's Praise
    ``You would like to have a roomful of Laurens.''
    --Daniel McGowan, a Hobart and William Smith College 
            professor who gave Lauren Bessette an A in 
            ``Monetary Theory and Policy,'' to The New York 
Love and Loss
    ``The John Kennedy I met at the White House was elegant and 
eloquent--a man who had lost so much as a child, but who went 
on to live a life filled with love, adventure, accomplishment 
and, as he said, `relative normalcy.' ''
    --First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
Random Acts of Kindness
    ``Maybe 15 years ago I was walking in midtown Manhattan and 
there was a homeless man sitting in the street. John-John was 
there walking with a friend, and he stopped and gave the man 
some coins. It was just a kind gesture. He walked on, but I've 
followed his career ever since. So I had to come down here with 
my flowers.''
    --Francesco Carter, a 44-year-old New Yorker who paid 
            respects Thursday at the flower-laden entrance to 
            the apartment of JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette 
Flawless Human Being
    ``He really was his mother's son: He had dignity, style, 
grace and an incredible amount of compassion and sensitivity on 
a person-to-person basis. What's interesting about JFK Jr. is, 
if he had any flaws, I haven't been able to find them.''
    --Christopher Andersen, author of the best-selling Jack and 
            Jackie, Jackie After Jack and the upcoming Bill and 
A Former Flame
    ``I find it so hard to believe that John is gone. But now 
we must face reality and embrace the memory of his spirit and 
his voracious lust for life, which will live on. My heart goes 
out to both families.''
    --Actress Darryl Hannah, who once dated JFK Jr.
A Heavyweight Friend
    ``My heart and thoughts go out to the Kennedy-Bessette 
families. John was a great man and a friend of mine. I enjoyed 
talking with John about the history of his family, the historic 
family that it is. And he really enjoyed talking with me about 
the history of boxing. He came out on my behalf, and that was 
truly out of friendship.''
    --Boxer Mike Tyson, visited in jail by JFK Jr. this year
Using His Might for Right
    ``Several weeks ago, I met with John Jr. and about 100 of 
his young staffers in New York for an editorial meeting at his 
publication, George Magazine. He was exciting, full of life and 
focused on the future. In some ways, he was following in the 
footsteps of his family, many of whom used the family's wealth 
for the nation's health and for reaching out. In their success, 
they did not use their wealth for just private gratification. 
They have used their wealth to fight for public policy and the 
common people.''
    --The Rev. Jesse Jackson
Family Ties
    ``I met him once--he was interviewing me for George 
Magazine. It was just him, me and a tape recorder. And he was 
so thoughtful. I expected a pretty face and a dim brain, and I 
got a pretty face and a bright brain.
    ``He was most interested in the fact that both our fathers 
had been in Congress, and did I think they would go into 
politics again given the media today. It was something he 
clearly had spent a great deal of time thinking about. I do 
think our fathers would go into politics, but for reasons that 
have much more to do with them than the times. But it was 
clearly something he had been puzzling, meditating over.
    ``The second thing he told me--he was newly married at the 
time--was that he was surprised by the media attention his wife 
was getting, that he was seeing the world through the eyes of a 
normal person for the first time and seeing how odd his life 
had been. It was normal to him, but he was surprised by how 
undone she was by it all. `She didn't ask for it. All she did 
was marry me,' he said.''
    --Cokie Roberts, ABC broadcaster and daughter of Rep. Hale 
            Boggs, D-La., who died in the crash of a small 

                  [From Time Magazine, July 26, 1999]

                         Grace Under the Glare
                           (By Peggy Noonan)

    We keep saying goodbye to big pieces of the century, and 
this last is just too sad and unjust. What would have become of 
that unfinished life? What would have come of that promise?
    Let me tell you what it was like to see him. I was in a 
restaurant last Thursday in Manhattan with a small group of 
friends who were catching up and arguing politics. Suddenly 
some invisible shift happened, some peripheral force entered 
the room--a tall man in sunglasses hobbling toward a back 
table. He moved briskly, as if he hoped no one would notice.
    ``There's J.F.K. Jr.'' said one of the women at the table.
    We watched, and I looked around to watch the people 
watching. The place had gone quieter, and a man stopped, fork 
in midair, as he passed.
    I thought, what a star, a natural star. I thought I was 
looking at the kind of beauty that movie stars want and are 
supposed to have but don't. A face just old enough to be 
interesting and young enough to be perfect, with the kind of 
manly features that make you think of the handsome man in a 
1950s magazine ad. Thick, shiny black hair, a slim muscular 
body on which his dark suit draped in soft folds. Afterward, I 
wondered if it was something like what Scott Fitzgerald saw 
when he remembered the college football stars of his young 
manhood, those young men who just then, on the gridiron and in 
their youth, were having the best moment of their lives.
    He was on crutches because he'd recently broken or sprained 
his ankle. And as we all walked away, a friend of his said to 
me, ``Maurice worries about him flying that plane.'' Maurice 
Templesman, Jackie Onassis' longtime friend. ``He's afraid John 
is too . . .'' She couldn't think of the word, but it was 
something like distracted, scattered.
    And now it's Saturday morning, and I'm thinking of the 
crutches and the hobbling and wondering if he was, as is 
reported, piloting the plane, if he could maneuver the rudder 
pedals, and if he could do what he thought he could do because 
he knew how to do it, and was confident, and wasn't concerned.
    You'd think he would be, coming from the family he comes 
from. You'd think he'd be always concerned about safety and 
luck and fate. But maybe when you were J.F.K. Jr., so 
surrounded by tragedy, with a life so shaped by it, maybe you 
thought, ``We've had our share. We've had more than our share. 
I'm going to get in a plane and fly.'' You can come from a 
place of such bad luck that you think your luck will always 
    His father lived a life of meaning and drama, a heroic life 
that spanned less than 50 years and yet encompassed war and 
political tumult and the great ideological struggles of the 
day. J.F.K. Jr.'s life spanned 39 years--only seven fewer than 
his father's--and encompassed no such dramas as war and 
wrenching political struggle. His dramas were personal, not 
historic, but then so much more was expected of him. Wouldn't 
he live a giant life too? What kind of man will King Arthur's 
son be?
    He knew about the expectations, and one supposes they were 
the central trauma of his life. He seemed to hobble through the 
search for a while--actor, lawyer, person in politics, and 
then, editor. Of a magazine on politics. But one that treated 
politics as entertainment. As if he were detaching himself from 
the heaviness of political struggles, and the tragedies they 
can bring.
    Now it will be a mystery, what he would have become with a 
good long life. His friends say he was modest, deeply 
courteous--very much his mother's son--and intelligent, and 
funny. People liked him, he had good stuff in there, not only 
beauty and good genes. The few times I saw him refer to 
politics in an interview, he did it with what seemed a natural 
humility. He didn't seem to think he ought to be harrumphing 
from the floor of the House about what we're doing wrong as a 
people, or right. If you didn't know him, you wondered whether 
life had been too strange and soft to mold him into a harder 
person, one who could move into the world with force and 
meaning, marshaling all the things he had to make a difference. 
But that takes time. You wonder what he would have done if he 
had got it.
    He was born with the burden of fame, but he handled it with 
patience and humor, and more. Ben Bradlee wrote a book about 
President Kennedy after he died, and it is called That Special 
Grace. J.F.K. Jr. had it too, though history didn't give him 
wars and great movements in which to show it.
    But he showed it anyway. Not so long ago, the day his 
mother was buried, after the prayers and the graveside service 
at Arlington, when everyone was starting to leave, young John 
Kennedy stepped up to the casket of his mother and the 
gravestone of his father. He leaned forward and stretched 
toward them and put his hand upon each with a touch that was 
more like a kiss. It was an act of great physical grace, and 
love, and maybe it was done in part on behalf of a country that 
felt as he did--a generous gesture like the one 30 years before 
when a little boy made a salute.

                  [From Time Magazine, July 26, 1999]

                      Brought Up to Be a Good Man
                      (By Arthur Schlesinger Jr.)

    How far might he have gone? There has always been a 
tendency to see John F. Kennedy Jr. as John-John, the sobriquet 
the press bestowed on him when he was a little boy in the White 
House. Those bewitched by the John-John idea saw the grown man 
as a frivolous young fellow floating carelessly on the 
pleasures of life. In fact, J.F.K. Jr. detested the nickname 
and was not a man fulfilled by pleasure-floating. But he 
cherished his privacy and disdained defensive self-publicity.
    Jacqueline Kennedy was a wonderful single mother. She was 
determined to maintain her children's privacy in order to make 
their lives as normal as possible. They were brought up 
unspoiled, modest, hardworking, well-mannered, friendly to 
their contemporaries, courteous to their elders. And they had 
on their own an abundance of vitality, charm and good looks.
    Educated in private schools, young John Kennedy went on to 
Brown, where he seemed to contemplate a career on the stage, 
and then, changing course, to New York University Law School. 
He worked for Robert Morgenthau in the district attorney's 
office, had trouble passing his bar examination, frequented 
downtown night spots and figured in gossip columns. He was a 
magically handsome young man, irresistible to women--``the 
hunk,'' the press called him. People dismissed him as a 
charming lightweight.
    This was his protective pose. Underneath he was an earnest 
fellow with a high sense of legacy and responsibility. In any 
case, the Kennedys have always been late bloomers. I once ran 
into him on the shuttle to Washington. He was going to a 
meeting at the White House on the problem of access to higher 
education for boys and girls from the slums. He talked about 
this with surprising knowledge and enthusiasm.
    I had not heard anything previously about his interest in 
such matters. I learned later that he also headed Reaching Up, 
an organization dedicated to helping hospital orderlies, 
nursing aides and others. He was genuinely concerned about the 
young, the disabled and the homeless. His instinct was to do 
good by stealth, lest people think he was doing good for 
    He grew to be an impressive young man--intelligent, 
articulate, judicious, persuasive, well defined but never full 
of himself, exceptionally attractive. He invented George as the 
Vanity Fair formula applied to politics, and he steered the 
magazine in a resolutely nonpartisan course. He loved the 
editorial work, loved conducting interviews with everyone from 
Fidel Castro to George Wallace, loved the variety and 
eccentricity of American politics. He was not a front man but 
patrolled every aspect of the job. His staff admired and adored 
him. But one felt it was a transitional stage for him.
    He seemed to be edging into politics. His father had begun 
as a journalist; it is not a bad introduction to the American 
political labyrinth. J.F.K. Jr. cared too much about the state 
of the nation, especially about the increasing disparities of 
wealth and opportunity in American life, to live out his life 
as a spectator. He was a cautious man, methodically feeling his 
way, but I think he sensed an evident opportunity and 
acknowledged a dynastic responsibility. He was destined, I came 
to feel, for political leadership.
    Stoical about scandalmongering books about his family and 
gossip-column misinformation about himself, he was as 
determined as his mother to protect his personal privacy. That 
is why he took up flying. When he traveled on commercial 
aircraft, fellow passengers would ask questions, seek 
autographs, exchange memories. He understood that they were 
people of good will, and he could not bear to be impolite, but 
the benign interest of others was a burden. Once he got his 
flying license, he seemed a liberated man, free to travel as he 
wished without superfluous demands on time and energy. Nor was 
he a reckless pilot. The mystery of his death remains.
    It is one more stab at the heart of America. There is an 
echo of Greek tragedy about the succession of blows striking a 
single American family. So many Kennedys have been cruelly cut 
off before they had fulfilled themselves--Joe Jr., my Harvard 
classmate, killed in the war; John and Robert, cherished 
friends, assassinated; two of Robert's sons dead; now John's 
son, the golden boy.
    The night that John Kennedy died, a friend took Robert 
Kennedy to his bedroom. ``God, it's so awful,'' Robert said. 
``Everything was really beginning to run so well.'' He seemed 
under control. The friend closed the door, then heard Bob break 
down and cry, ``Why, God?''
    Was there no sense, no purpose, to the universe? Later 
R.F.K. scrawled on a yellow sheet, ``The innocent suffer--how 
can that be possible and God be just?'' He found solace in 
Aeschylus, memorizing the lines from the Agamemnon that he 
would use when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed: ``He who 
learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot 
forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own 
despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful 
grace of God.''
    For the Kennedys, faith comes as the ultimate solace. As 
President Kennedy once told a press conference, ``Life is 

                  [From Time Magazine, July 26, 1999]

                      The Boy We Called John-John
                            (By Hugh Sidey)

    He was our child, our little boy, flitting in and out of 
camera range around the White House when his dad was President. 
He did grow up and become that elegant New York City editor, 
John F. Kennedy Jr., the clan's flag bearer of what was good 
and glamorous. But I never could get over the memories around 
the White House.
    The world, of course, remembered him as the three-year-old 
standing in front of his father's coffin after the services in 
St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington and lifting his chubby 
arm in salute. He knew, but maybe he did not know. Millions 
never forgot.
    Before that, he tugged at his mother's pearls when she held 
him and squirmed in his father's lap when the President, who 
could not lift the boy because of his bad back, could corral 
him for a few seconds.
    There were times when walking by the Oval Office, I would 
see John-John hopping around on the carpet with his sister 
Caroline, his father clapping or laughing at the display. He 
came by the presidential desk on Halloween as ``Peter Panda,'' 
and J.F.K. broke up with laughter at the spook.
    The special quality about young John Kennedy then may have 
been simply that he was so normal, so much like our own kids, 
allowed a childhood because of the insistence of his mother 
Jackie Kennedy and in spite of the formidable environs of the 
presidential mansion.
    When he could navigate to the Oval Office on his own two 
energetic legs, John-John discovered the candy dish on the desk 
of Evelyn Lincoln, the President's secretary. She recounted to 
me with great glee how the President tried to enforce the rule 
of one piece of candy per visit. The rule never worked.
    The Kennedys have lived their lives on a vast public stage 
where children run and tussle and accomplished grownups gather 
for strenuous rituals of work and play amid the gaiety and 
laughter. And then death steps in to stop the proceedings, 
again and again. There seems to be no respite in this horrible 
    John Jr.'s death will only heighten the memories of the 
Kennedy years in the presidency, the core of the legend, years 
when the cold war was at its most intense and there was danger 
in the world, years when bright young men and women flocked to 
Washington to take part in the New Frontier. I remember Dallas, 
but I still don't begin to comprehend it. I heard the shots 
from the motorcade and then wandered on the lawn of Parkland 
Hospital throughout that afternoon as the bulletins confirmed 
the death of a President. So much had ended. A President had 
been assassinated, an Administration was finished, a family had 
been decimated and a friend of mine had died. But when all was 
said and done in those sad days, the focus fell on the family 
and the question of how it would fare in a world grown 
worshipful--and brutally curious.
    Jackie and Caroline and John went off to live their lives 
in the shadowed wings of the great stage, but Bobby Kennedy and 
his brother Ted stayed in the center. The Kennedy clan marched 
on, and I watched as Bobby, the new Senator from New York, 
healed one more time from family tragedy and with mounting 
enthusiasm pointed himself toward the White House.
    I was awakened by a phone call early one morning in 1968, 
and a friend in the White House told me that Bobby had been 
shot. We plunged back into that abyss of mourning not only for 
a life lost and a family devastated again, but for a promise 
never fulfilled in our national life.
    And now John. He was not a figure of power like his father, 
somebody to be hated because of his political persuasion. Nor 
did he have that reckless streak in him that Bobby had, which 
compelled the uncle to fly through hailstorms for political 
appointments or dive into dangerous seas to get ashore faster. 
He was John-John, a normal kid turned young man turned adult 
who was sensible and kind and concerned, but burdened with the 
great Kennedy legend and the world with its nose pressed 
against his windows.
    There will always be the warm memories. I was in the Oval 
Office one day back then, and when I walked up to the 
President's desk I heard giggling and thumping underneath. 
John-John was in what he called his cave. Once when he peeked 
out and White House photographers got the picture, there was 
another image that traveled around the world: the reduction of 
great power to its simplest ingredient, a tiny boy exploring 
his world from the ground up.
    Though we did not always see the pictures of John-John that 
were taken backstage by Captain Cecil Stoughton, the official 
White House photographer, we heard the stories of the young 
ham. When he lost a front tooth, he proudly looked up at 
Stoughton to show the great gap. Indeed, Stoughton and John-
John became buddies of a sort. The photographer knew a good 
subject when he saw one and realized that someday history would 
treasure those images. John-John liked the captain's company, 
so much so that often when he saw Stoughton he would squeal, 
``Take my picture Taptain Toughton.'' And once when Stoughton 
had snapped a frame of John-John playing with a rabbit, he 
asked if the boy would take a picture of him with the rabbit. 
John-John took the camera with relish and clicked the shutter 
like a pro. In Stoughton's book The Memories, that one is the 
only photograph that the captain did not take. It is now 
another fragment of the profound Kennedy story of promise and 
fun and unfathomable sadness.

             [From The New Yorker Magazine, August 2, 1999]

                        Coming of Age in Public
                            (By Pete Hamill)

    Sixteen is a terrible age for any male. You are not yet a 
man and no longer a boy. But for John Kennedy this wonderfully 
anguished age was even worse. He had to endure the scrutiny of 
strangers, friends, teachers, and even relatives, along with 
the hungers of the celebrity press. The astonishment was that 
he handled all of that, as an adolescent and as a man, with so 
much grace.
    During the late nineteen-seventies, when I first knew John, 
we would meet at the apartment at 1040 Fifth Avenue and talk in 
the sitting room that faced the Park. Most of the time it was 
small talk: what he was studying in school and how the teachers 
were and what books they had ordered him to read. He was not 
some driven apprentice intellectual, tormented by the quest for 
meaning. He talked about matters in a groping, self-deprecating 
way and usually had many more questions than answers.
    ``I just don't get this Thomas Hardy,'' he said to me once, 
shaking his head, and then smiling. ``Is that me? Or is it 
Thomas Hardy?''
    On a few occasions, we took long walks through Central 
Park, where even then his face was turning heads. He asked many 
questions about newspapers and the craft of reporting. He 
displayed one most admirable quality: he did not attempt to 
appear smarter or hipper than he actually was. His questions 
were direct and free of guile.
    ``You mean you go, say, to a murder scene, and you make 
your notes, and then you go back to the paper and write the 
    ``If there's time,'' I said. ``If there's not enough time, 
you dictate your notes to a rewrite man, and then he writes the 
    ``Wow, that's cool,'' he said.
    When I saw him and his sister, Caroline, together, there 
was an obvious affection between them. He would enter their 
apartment with a pair of his friends--what his mother once 
called ``these big hairy galoots''--and always seemed about to 
knock over at least one piece of furniture. Caroline would ease 
over and get between him and the potential casualty, and wink.
    I don't mean that John Kennedy was an ordinary sixteen-
year-old American boy; his personal history made such a role 
impossible. One of his relatives told me once that he was 
tormented by some questions, ones he had certainly never asked 
me. Does she love me for myself or because of my name? If I 
were Joe Blow, would she take my call? There's a soap-opera 
banality to such questions, but that doesn't make them less 
real to a young man.
    In the nineteen-eighties, our lives took different paths 
and I didn't see him for years. When he founded George, in 
1995, I remembered his voice saying long ago, ``Wow, that's 
cool.'' There he was on television, talking to Larry King, and 
he was a man now, handsome, poised, articulate, and funny. He 
was respectful of the Kennedy family history, but he did not 
sentimentalize it. As a journalist, of course, he did not make 
notes and hurry to the office to write the story. But he did a 
series of solid interviews for the magazine, often with people 
who would have been sworn enemies of his father. In each 
interview, he seemed to be making a genuine effort to 
understand his subjects rather than debate them or demean them.
    He was still in a peculiar situation: a journalist who 
covered other people while being covered himself. But at 
thirty-eight, in the last year of the century in which his 
father had been a central political and emotional figure, John 
Kennedy was most often identified as the editor of George 
rather than as his father's son. That alone was a triumph. It 
looked as if we might get to the end of the century without 
another Kennedy death and another Kennedy funeral.
    Maybe that's why when the news broke that John Kennedy's 
Piper Saratoga had gone missing I was jolted back to November 
22, 1963. That day, I was in Belfast with my father, who had 
not been home to Northern Ireland for thirty years. My father 
wept. My cousins wept. The Falls Road mourned, and so did the 
Shankill. The handsome prince of the Irish diaspora was dead. 
And one line of Yeats kept moving through me: ``What made us 
dream that he could comb grey hair?'' At the end of last week, 
at the memorial service at St. Thomas More, John's uncle Ted 
recalled that same line.

             [From The New Yorker Magazine, August 2, 1999]

                               The Actor
                            (By Rick Moody)

    I went to college with the most famous teen-ager on earth. 
Brown University in the fall of 1979 was not unacquainted with 
celebrity. There was a Mondale there; one of Claus Von Bulow's 
stepchildren; Amy Carter came not long after. But my class's 
particular celebrity was of a different order altogether.
    It was Freshman Week, and I was busy drinking so much that 
I was about to be reported to the dean's office for alcohol 
abuse. But even in my disagreeable state I was aware of the 
reports, and their furious pace. ``Oh my God, you cannot 
believe how good-looking the guy is,'' said one. ``He likes to 
be called John,'' said another. ``He's in my history class.'' 
Celebrity aggrandizes the shallowest layer of narrative. Even 
so, I can tell you everything about my first sighting: It was 
in the dining hall. There was a commotion at a nearby table. A 
tall, perfectly handsome guy in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt; a 
smile like a million bucks. An elbow next to me lanced me in 
the ribs. ``That's him, that's him.''
    I saw the most famous teen-ager on earth get seconds of 
    I spent most of freshman year in the West Quadrangle (a 
friend nicknamed it Gdansk, for its Eastern Bloc 
heartlessness), far from his more palatial dorm, with its high 
ceilings and large windows, and I saw little of him, just the 
occasional glimpse. I suspected that the other Brown 
University, the one that featured mythic celebrities driving 
imported cars to off-campus apartments and swank restaurants, 
was a parallel realm, wholly inaccessible, without entrances 
and exits for hoi polloi like me. I had contempt for the 
residents of that celestial Brown. They always played Motown at 
parties, and always the same songs.
    Here the story would end, if not for the fact that I got 
interested in theatre at Brown. I decided to audition for a 
play that was gathering steam in late fall of junior year, ``In 
the Boom Boom Room,'' by David Rabe. It had parts for a good-
looking and somewhat dangerous leading man, his moll, and his 
drug-casualty sidekick. John, the President's son, who had a 
jones to act, it was said, auditioned for the lead. I 
auditioned for the sidekick. I remember reading with him. The 
details are hazy, but my sensation of incredible agitation is 
not--my voice locked in a hopeless struggle with vowels and 
consonants. I was in the presence of history. John was trapped 
in history's clutches; it was his constant companion, like a 
metaphysical Secret Service. And history had never before 
crossed my path. As it happened, we both got the parts.
    As an actor, he had imbibed the Method without ever having 
set foot in the Actors Studio--a little Brando, a little De 
Niro, a healthy dollop of Nicholson, maybe a dash of his dad's 
inaugural pluck. I wasn't aware of his preparing his role in 
any way. I don't know if he learned his lines with the 
difficulty I did; like a lot of other things, it seemed easier 
for him. I don't remember that we ever did any improvising, or 
much at all in the way of acting exercises, except to dance 
wildly to ``You've Lost That Loving' Feelin' '' and ``Hang On 
Sloopy'' in the empty rehearsal space. John showed up ready to 
act, and when the time came he delivered his lines with brio, 
with uncanny reserves of charisma. What's the surprise in this? 
He'd been acting his entire life. One performance after 
another; here a proscenium, here a plinth on which to stand for 
Camelot and its sorrows.
    After a couple of weeks of rehearsals, John had taken to 
treating me like his sidekick offstage, in a fashion that I 
found honorific and not at all beneath me. He started calling 
me by my character's name, Ralphie, whether we encountered one 
another on the green or at the movies, and he would 
occasionally invite me to have lunch with him--``Ralphie, 
what's up, my man?'' A cup of coffee here and there. In the 
course of this, I got to know not John Kennedy, heir apparent, 
but this guy John, extremely winning, to be sure, but more like 
other people than other people suspected: not known to refuse a 
joint if it came around, liked rock and roll (turned it up), 
didn't always pay his parking tickets on time, had the 
occasional woman problem, a guy like any guy in Providence 
    As the performances approached, Santina Goodman, who 
directed the play, wanted John to cut off his hair. There was a 
lot of it, this hair, and it curled languorously and, I think, 
probably occasionally stopped traffic. So John showed up one 
night at rehearsal with a barbarous crewcut. It had a military 
severity. He was incredibly excited about it. ``Ralphie,'' he 
said, ``I went into a bar last night and no one knew who I 
was!'' He said it the way you or I might speak of the lotto 
    About the same time, John announced that his family was 
coming to opening night. As the evening in question approached, 
it turned out that his mother was unable to attend but 
Caroline, his sister, would represent the illustrious clan. 
That was plenty of geopolitical context for me, but I never 
mentioned my sense of proximal nervousness to John. I never 
said anything much to him at all, because the sidekick's job is 
to see and to observe, to be reliable and silent and faithful. 
So I was. On opening night, during the end of the first act, 
when we were both backstage, in the stillness of waiting for 
glory, we heard a particularly robust laugh from the audience, 
singular and confident and warm. John leaned over and 
whispered, ``That's my sister. That's Caroline.''
    On closing night, John had a cast party, at his place. It 
was down on Benefit Street, the restored nineteenth-century 
part of Providence, and his apartment was decorated--things 
matched, there were tasteful furnishings and appointments. Who 
could I bring to such a place? I was hanging out with people 
who drank too much and wore too much black eyeliner. There were 
large social issues implicit in his invitation. I was being 
plucked, for a moment, from oblivion, and my feelings were 
    I saw him occasionally after that. I had been granted some 
minimal access, and I saw him for lunch once or twice, went to 
a couple of parties among his inner circle, ran into him. 
``Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise . . . To 
scorn delights, and live laborious days,'' Milton says, 
lamenting a friend lost at sea--a much different idea of fame 
from ours now. Maybe it was John's idea--by studying acting, he 
was gaining another set of skills to pursue what he was going 
to pursue, in his laborious days. Yet we among the 
rubberneckers failed to see how much responsibility there was 
in such a life; we thought it was just play acting.
    Soon we were ready to graduate. The Secret Service, who had 
never been much in evidence during John's education, fanned out 
across the grounds. Jackie arrived. My brother snapped her 
picture. She smiled. There were crowds. Providence sweltered. I 
had a wicked hangover. We'd loved, danced, been mummers on the 
stage of youth. Now we were a bunch of kids going on to other 
things. In this way, John Kennedy's public life commenced.

             [From The New Yorker Magazine, August 2, 1999]

                       TriBeCa Waits for Normalcy
                           (By John Seabrook)

    When you're as famous as John F. Kennedy Jr., everyone 
claims you as a neighbor. Having ``grown up with him,'' even if 
it was only on television, these pseudo-neighbors approached 
Kennedy wherever he went in the world with ``Hey, John-John!'' 
or ``How's your wife?'' or ``When're you going to pass the 
bar?'' It is therefore especially remarkable what a good 
neighbor Kennedy managed to be to the people who really did 
live around him, in TriBeCa, where he made his home for most of 
the last decade of his life, eventually buying a loft at 20 
North Moore.
    TriBeCa offers its famous inhabitants anonymity (David 
Letterman, who also kept a loft there, was almost never seen on 
the street), but J.F.K., Jr., did not accept it; he was as 
visible a part of the neighborhood as almost anyone. You'd see 
him riding his bike to work with a big steel chain wrapped 
around his suit jacket, like an urban knight. He walked with 
his head down, but, wanting to be neighborly, he would often 
make contact by saying hi to people's dogs. Later, he got his 
own dog, Friday, and you'd always see him out on the street 
with it, sometimes carrying the dog on his shoulders.
    Kennedy ate out a lot, often at Socrates, the Greek coffee 
shop at Hudson and Franklin that locals cherish as part of the 
unvarnished soul of old TriBeCa. George Dourountous, the owner, 
said that Kennedy used to try out his rusty Greek on him. It 
was sort of amazing to walk by the coffee shop and see that 
face there, under the ratty picture of Socrates (the great 
philosopher looks like Hyman Roth in ``The Godfather, Part 
II''), reading his Post and eating his eggs.
    Kennedy's neighborliness was a little startling when you 
thought about all the reasons he had to be apprehensive of 
strangers. Don Schuck, a longtime TriBeCan who lives a few 
doors down from No. 20, remembered how Kennedy used to stash an 
extra front-door key under his stoop, because he was always 
forgetting his keys.
    Some residents worried that Kennedy's presence on North 
Moore would change the character of TriBeCa. But he impressed 
them by helping to preserve the integrity of the place. When it 
was announced that developers were seeking permission from the 
Landmarks Preservation Commission to turn the old Atalanta 
warehouse, across the street from 20 North Moore, into a 
multiplex, Kennedy gave time and money to the neighborhood 
opposition, going before Community Board 1 to argue that a 
multiplex, with its lines of moviegoers from outside the 
neighborhood, teen-agers hanging around at all hours, noise, 
and traffic, was not in keeping with the character of the place 
that he and his neighbors thought of as home. The multiplex was 
never built.
    Now there's a shrine outside 20 North Moore, where long 
lines of J.F.K., Jr.'s pseudo-neighbors come to leave flowers, 
candles, and notes. Singers perform there during the day, 
dancers dance, and teen-agers hang around, drawn by a melodrama 
more compelling than anything at a multiplex, at least since 
``Titanic.'' (Even the name of a bar around the corner, ``No 
Moore,'' seems to conspire in the melodrama.) A pseudo-
neighbor, seeing a real neighbor go into No. 20, was heard to 
say, ``Do people really live in that building? I thought it was 
just a shrine.'' The crowd has been growing larger every day. 
On Tuesday night, when Vice-President Al Gore was at a fund-
raiser at the TriBeCa Film Center, the word went around that he 
was planning to stop by the shrine afterward. At that point, 
one could foresee all the major candidates having to pay their 
respects to the unfinished metal doors and rat-infested garbage 
cans outside 20 North Moore. But Gore never showed, and the 
neighborhood breathed a sigh of relief.

                  [From Time Magazine, August 2, 1999]

                       A Legacy of Public Service
                 (By Walter Isaacson, Managing Editor)

    John Kennedy's death unleashed a wave of public emotion and 
a predictable flood of media coverage. Indeed, it would not be 
too churlish to ask why--other than being a nice guy and a 
good-looking celebrity with a historically resonant heritage--
Kennedy deserved such an outpouring. So in putting together 
this issue, we looked for a worthwhile lesson we could draw 
both from the way he lived and the emotions wrought by his 
    We decided that the most useful way to honor him was to 
explore what made him and, despite their tragedies and foibles, 
his whole family so distinctive: their strong tradition of 
public service. In particular, we wanted to look at the way 
John and some of his generation of Kennedys were finding less 
traditional ways to pursue worthy causes.
    A few months ago, he was at a fund-raising breakfast for 
the Robin Hood Foundation, a group that taps Manhattan money 
for neighborhood projects. There he toasted Hans and Ivan 
Hageman, two childhood friends from East Harlem who had, with 
Robin Hood seed money, founded a remedial school and counseling 
program. John recalled first meeting them 30 years ago. ``These 
guys were larger than life,'' he said, ``and they behaved in 
such a way that we all knew they were destined to do something 
important with their lives.''
    Much the same could be said of John. Although he gracefully 
bore the public role that birth assigned him, he preferred 
acting in a quieter, more hands-on way. He would ride his bike, 
or occasionally blade, to visit the Hagemans' school in East 
Harlem and other neighborhoods seldom frequented by those whose 
celebrity or wealth affords them the protection of limos and 
entourages. Others on the Robin Hood board say he loved holding 
their meetings in the roughest neighborhoods, though he 
generally deferred to their desire for more convenient midtown 
locations. This month's session was scheduled for last 
Wednesday in his office.
    At the breakfast we talked about whether he would enter 
politics. He said he had been approached about running for the 
Senate but had firmly declined. He wasn't ready; he hadn't yet 
earned the chance. Besides, there were more interesting and 
perhaps useful ways to serve, including through his magazine, 
George, which he felt could help make public service seem 
glamorous again, and his charity work. He was quick to add that 
politics should be considered a noble calling, that he might 
run for something someday. But instead of a legislative job, 
like the Senate, he said he would prefer serving in an 
executive capacity. Not yet, though. He liked his life the way 
it was now. His wife Carolyn smiled.
    In this issue, we look at the way John and other members of 
his family have been involved in public service. Some, like his 
Uncle Ted and cousins Kathleen and Patrick, are doing it in the 
traditional family way through politics. Others, like John and 
some of his cousins, have followed the example of their aunts 
in pursuing private endeavors. Like John, they have helped 
redefine that tradition through an asphalt-level, intimate 
    Coincidentally, our essayist Roger Rosenblatt had been 
working for weeks on a piece about Robert Kennedy Jr. and his 
group, Riverkeeper, which is cleaning up the Hudson River. It 
is part of our continuing environment series on heroes for the 
Planet. We are happy to include it and its accompanying 
profiles in this issue to show how so many others are also 
engaged in the type of hands-on public service work that marked 
John's life.
    From birth, John seemed to be surrounded by light. As the 
New York Observer noted last week, he always seemed to keep his 
bearings in that glare, as if guided by an inner compass. That 
is why it is so painful to think of his final minute as he 
desperately tried to find his bearings in the unaccustomed 
darkness, searching for a light to restore that inner compass. 
Now, perhaps, the memory of his life can serve as a light for 
others, as a point of reference on our horizons.

                  [From Time Magazine, August 2, 1999]

                           Answering the Call
                            (By John Cloud)

    It would have been so easy for him just to write a check. 
People who write checks--at least those of the size he could 
afford--nibble foie gras at fancy fund raisers and cut ribbons 
at buildings named for them. Checks are simple.
    But John Kennedy Jr. never took a simple path to public 
service. Not at 15, when he and his cousin Timothy Shriver 
trekked to Guatemala to help earthquake survivors rebuild. Not 
in his 20s, when he helped devise a program to improve 
treatment for the disabled that started in gritty New York City 
neighborhoods and is now being copied overseas. And not when a 
charity he worked with wanted to know how kids in a drug-
prevention program were faring, and Kennedy went to talk with 
some himself.
    In many ways he embodied a new, entrepreneurial kind of 
Kennedy philanthropy. It doesn't diminish the Shrivers' Special 
Olympics or Jacqueline Onassis' fund raising for Grand Central 
Terminal to note that John practiced a hands-on generosity that 
reflects a younger generation of givers, folks impressed more 
by proved outcomes than by black-tie benefits.
    Take the group that could be Kennedy's most important 
legacy, even if George survives. He founded Reaching Up in 
1987, two years after his aunt Eunice Shriver initiated one of 
those peculiarly Kennedy intrafamily competitions. She assigned 
the Kennedy kids the task of inventing projects to help people 
with mental disabilities, a cause she and her siblings had long 
championed. The kids would vote on who had designed the best 
proposals, and a family foundation would award the winning 
ideas $50,000 apiece.
    John threw himself into the work, interviewing experts and 
reading academic literature. Rather than finding a needy 
hospital to toss cash at, he discovered a mostly ignored 
problem, the inadequate education and dismal pay of frontline 
workers in mental health. They are working poor, without health 
insurance or hope of mobility, yet they care for people like 
Kennedy's aunt Rosemary, left deeply retarded by a lobotomy, as 
well as millions of others with disabilities. ``What he 
understood,'' says Deborah Shanley, a Brooklyn College dean, 
``is that you're never going to have quality care if the people 
in this field can't afford to get into undergraduate programs, 
can't elevate their skills and have no hope of moving up the 
career ladder.''
    Kennedy developed a program of elegant practicality that 
became a $50,000 winner. Reaching Up helps health-care workers 
help themselves through training programs it has persuaded 
local officials to fund at several New York colleges. Hundreds 
have learned to do their jobs better through the training, and 
many have been promoted as a result. Kennedy also lent the 
family name--and with it, a measure of respect--to the Kennedy 
Fellows, a group of 75 health-care workers chosen each year for 
$1,000 scholarships.
    ``But it wasn't just the money,'' says Margaret Wallace, 
who emigrated from Jamaica in 1980 and was a poorly paid 
teacher's assistant for the blind before becoming a Kennedy 
Fellow in 1992. John was personally involved, ``asking, how is 
the course work, what job do I want to do, what's my future?'' 
Wallace got a degree in special education last year and now 
teaches those with cerebral palsy. Nearly all the 400 fellows 
over the years have stayed in the disabilities field.
    Reaching Up was the culmination of years of experimenting 
with public service. When Kennedy was younger, he dabbled in 
groups his mother supported and embarked on vaguely beneficent 
adventures in Africa and elsewhere. In 1985 he studied health 
care at the University of Delhi in India. Trouble was, when he 
asked himself what he could do for his country, he didn't quite 
know the answer. The day after Kennedy passed the bar exam in 
1990, family friend Ted Van Dyk phoned him at his desk in the 
Manhattan D.A.'s office. ``I said, `How do you like it there?' 
And he said, `Oh, it stinks. I'm just going to do this for a 
while to meet my family's expectations, and then I'm going to 
do something else.' '' As John grew older, ``he became less 
flip about things,'' says Richard Wiese, a fraternity brother 
from Brown University. ``He was always socially conscious, but 
he matured [and] was starting to put some of his assets to 

                  [From Time Magazine, August 2, 1999]

                           Goodbye to Our Boy
                         (By Garrison Keillor)

    After the initial disbelief, the hope against hope that the 
three of them might be spotted on some tiny island waving, the 
anger at what one could see as his foolhardiness in flying at 
night into hazy conditions with his wife and her sister aboard, 
the morbid thought of their last minutes, the aching sadness of 
it all, the archival film footage of the children romping at 
the White House and the little boy's salute and all the mawkish 
elegies on television, it was a comfort finally to watch the 
U.S.S. Briscoe raise anchor and put out to sea Thursday morning 
with the ashes and the families of the dead on board.
    There was a rightness about it, as there was about the 
profound competence of the Federal Aviation Administration, the 
Coast Guard, the Navy, the divers, tracking the plane from 
radar records, scanning the ocean floor, locating the wreckage, 
bringing up the bodies, a great mercy. And now, with the U.S. 
Navy in charge, you knew that there would be some simple 
grandeur and decorum at the end. The crashed pilot would be 
released to the elements, and the young women who perished with 
him, and it would take place beyond the public gaze, without 
narration or comment, out on the sea.
    He was a most romantic figure, a hero endowed with a legend 
when he was three years old, for which there was no precedent 
in our history, a hero sprung up from tragedy, the son of the 
murdered President bearing his name whose life was meant in our 
minds to redeem that evil day in Dallas. I doubt that there 
were many Americans who didn't want the best for John F. 
Kennedy Jr. And when his plane was reported missing on Saturday 
morning, although there was no precedent, no justification, for 
television to maintain the vigil that it did, there was a 
rightness about it. He was our boy. We had a right to stand on 
the shore and grieve for him.
    For days the reporters stood their posts at Hyannis Port 
and on Martha's Vineyard, as the old photographs were brought 
out again and again, and the reporters looked into the camera 
to say, at some length, that there was no news to report but 
that it was terribly sad, which is not journalism exactly, but 
there was a rightness about it. The TV anchors and 
correspondents are like old uncles and aunts who come to the 
house after a death in the family and plop down in the living 
room and say, ``I just can't believe it somehow.'' You don't 
expect them to be cogent; you are just grateful for their 
    We often accuse ourselves of being cruel and voyeuristic 
and of devouring our heroes, but this man was loved, genuinely, 
by people who didn't know him and weren't anxious to. It would 
have been heartbreaking to see him turn up on talk shows to 
explain himself. We wanted him to be distant. The press--even 
the ferocious iconoclasts of the tabloids--gave him room. He 
sowed his wild oats and went nightclubbing and hung out with 
inappropriate women, and nobody begrudged him this. Of course, 
he was lucky to live in New York City, whose citizens are proud 
of their ability to recognize famous people and ignore them at 
the same time. When he wished to exploit his name to start up a 
magazine, there was no objection to it, though we preferred him 
to be elusive, a little mysterious.

We were glad when he slipped away and married that radiant 
woman, a person of majestic reticence who never uttered a word 
in public.
    It was terribly important that he be adventurous and modest 
and funny and self-deprecating and charitable to strangers and 
graceful and full of life, and we believed he was, and we never 
cared to hear otherwise. He may have been all of those things, 
as so many people say, or maybe someone will come out with a 
book showing him to have been not exactly all of those things, 
but it won't matter. He was what we needed him to be, a classy 
guy, and the question asked at his death--What might he have 
become?--was not so important in his lifetime. He was a hero 
who lived up to his legend, and that is more than good enough.
    His legend will grow now that he's gone. The pathos of this 
story, the sense of fate drawing him into its clutches, the 
broken ankle, his anxiety about the flight, the heavy traffic 
en route to the airport and the late takeoff, darkness setting 
in as he flew up the coast, the refusal to turn back, the radio 
silence, the nearly moonless night, the descent into the mist 
and the horizonless dark, and the terrible, spiraling fall.
    ``Show me a hero,'' said F. Scott Fitzgerald, ``and I will 
write you a tragedy.'' This we all know. Life is terribly 
beautiful. Life is terrifying. We can't go on. We must go on. 
We are not in control of this situation. But we never were.

               [From The Weekly Standard, August 2, 1999]

                     ``That Discourtesy of Death''
                            (By John McCain)

    Two months ago, I was invited to participate with John 
Kennedy, his sister, Caroline, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and several 
other members of the family in the annual Profile in Courage 
Award events at the Kennedy Presidential Library. As it 
happened, the award ceremony occurred on the eleventh birthday 
of my youngest son, Jimmy. Ted Kennedy went to considerable 
lengths to make sure the birthday was publicly noted and 
celebrated. Jimmy reacted to the attention as most kids his age 
would, with a mixture of pleasure and embarrassment. All the 
Kennedys present were very kind to my son. But John and his 
lovely bride, Carolyn, were especially so. They talked with him 
in a quietly playful way that Jimmy appreciated as much as my 
wife Cindy and I appreciated John's compliments for raising a 
nice boy and for choosing Arizona over Washington as our 
children's home.
    Cindy and I left Boston grateful for the experience and 
impressed by how gracious and considerate John and Caroline 
were; how seriously they took their responsibility to honor 
their father's memory; and how well they reflected the loving 
care with which their mother had raised them.
    John Kennedy was a splendid young man. Though we had only a 
passing acquaintance, I saw, as others did, that it was easy to 
like him. Given the temptations attending wealth, privilege, 
and beauty, it would have surprised no one if he had been 
arrogant and self-centered. But he was quite the opposite. In 
our encounters, he was friendly, well mannered, and thoughtful, 
not just to me but to everyone in the room. When, at his 
invitation, I appeared before his magazine's editorial board, 
he encouraged the office interns to attend and ask questions, 
an unusually considerate gesture to them by their editor-in-
chief (unless, of course, they were needed to fill seats 
because I had failed to draw much of a crowd, in which case it 
was an unusually considerate gesture to me).
    Were that all I knew of him, I would grieve his loss. But, 
of course, he was more than that. He was a featured player in 
one of the more powerful legends in American political life, a 
legend that most Americans at one time or another have been 
enamored of, and that now seems inexpressibly sad. The nation 
grieves for him--an honor accorded relatively few people--and 
after my brief exposure to him, I understand why.
    The personal loss of those who knew him well, of course, is 
immeasurably more painful. It's a cold heart that has no 
sympathy for the Kennedy family; for Ted Kennedy, who must too 
often assume the duties of the head of a family on whom fortune 
and misfortune fall in great and equal measure; and especially 
for Caroline, who has suffered more loss than anyone of her 
young age should ever have to bear. The Bessettes, whose broken 
hearts mourn the staggering loss of two beautiful, accomplished 
sisters, must know a grief that in this moment is inconsolable. 
I pray for their comfort, as I pray for the repose of the souls 
of their loved ones.
    The older we grow the more accustomed we become to death. 
And yet there are some whose loss seems impossible to accept. 
That is true of John Kennedy, who to many of us seemed only 
yesterday a fatherless 3-year-old.
    A Yeats poem, ``In Memory of Major Robert Gregory,'' 
laments the passing at a young age of a ``dear friend's dear 
son.'' It is inconceivable that this son should now ``share in 
that discourtesy of death'' alongside friends of the poet's who 
died in old age. Near the end of the poem, Yeats observes how 
good a life his young friend made of his too few days, and 
tries to reconcile himself to the loss with the wistful remark, 
``What made us dream that he could comb grey hair?''
    Maybe that kind of sentiment is all we have to assuage the 
nation's, perhaps even the families', grief; that, and the 
comfort of knowing that John has been reunited with the father 
he lost long ago and the mother who loved him so well that he 
became a good man.

                  [From People Magazine, Summer 1999]

                            Remembering John

    Cecil Stoughton, former White House photographer: When he 
was 2 years old, he fell down and knocked out a tooth. One day 
I saw this gap-toothed boy playing outside the President's 
office and asked him to smile and took a photo. A couple of 
days later, I asked him to autograph it. He made a whole mess 
of chicken scratches, so I held his hand, and we scratched the 
name ``John'' in the corner. Recently I saw him at a party and 
asked him to sign that photo again. ``Mr. Stoughton,'' he 
wrote, ``now I can sign my own name.'' I would have been proud 
to have him as a son.

    Joseph D'Angelo, John's sixth-grade teacher at Manhattan's 
Collegiate School: Once when we were taking a trip to the 
Cloisters to look at medieval art, we took the subway uptown. 
John had never been on a subway before, and he was so excited. 
He had a million questions and was asking if he could open the 
window and hang his head outside. Afterward, he was always on 
his mother's case to ride the subway alone with his friends.

    Kiki Feroudi Moutsatsos, former secretary to Aristotle 
Onassis: When I was in New York City with Onassis in the early 
1970s, I was robbed and punched by someone. Onassis's driver 
took me to the family's Fifth Avenue apartment, and John was 
there. I remember he liked strawberries, and he selected the 
biggest one he had and gave it to me. He was always happy and 

    Todd Murphy, crewmate during a treasure hunt John joined in 
1983: It was a really salty crowd, and he fit in as well as 
anybody. We'd be in the water waiting to dive and freezing and 
having this crazy fight, squirting water out between our teeth. 
He was a character.

    Rajeev Sethi, Indian artist: When he traveled to India in 
1983, I think it must have been his first experience with 
seeing really severe urban poverty. His response wasn't to 
cringe away but to dive right in. He wanted to organize English 
lessons for the children in the slum, and he even gave a few 
classes. When he later visited a rural project, he returned 
frustrated because he had wanted to be involved instead of just 
observing. He said, ``I wish I could have been as useful as the 
experience was useful for me.''

    Owen Carragher, former Manhattan assistant district 
attorney: When they told me he was going to be my officemate, I 
wasn't all that happy. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and 
he and I would get in each other's face. And we were on him 
incessantly about the business of him being the best-dressed 
guy in the world, especially since most of the time it was one 
of my ties he was wearing.

    Charlie King, longtime friend: On the football field he was 
very competitive. There was one time when he knocked me almost 
unconscious. It was a random pickup game. I had broken up a 
pass that was going to John, and it was clear that I was happy 
about that. Then on the next play, when I was trying to catch a 
pass, he didn't try to block the pass. He just knocked the s--- 
out of me. I felt like all the bones in my body had been 
shattered. He was driven to win.

    Alec Baldwin, actor: Whenever I was around him, the first 
thing that would cross my mind was, ``Whatever this guy runs 
for, he's going to win.'' There was no doubt in my mind that 
whatever race he ran for, senator or governor, he'd win hands 
down. And now we'll never know.

    Ken Sunshine, public relations consultant: He agreed to 
campaign for New York City Mayor David Dinkins's reelection in 
1993, so we negotiated doing a Saturday morning walking tour of 
the Upper West Side, focusing on Zabar's deli. There was a 
horde of cameras outside, and when he went in by the fish 
counter several old ladies buying lox started screaming, 
``John! John!'' It was like the Beatles. There was this crush. 
He got completely separated from Dinkins. A cheese display went 
flying at one point, and a big tough cop said, ``It's a bloody 
lox riot!'' We had to get him out of there. There was flying 
Brie. People wanted a piece of him. It was wild.

    Mike Barnicle, columnist, New York Daily News: I'm going to 
remember him as I saw him up here in Hyannisport. He always had 
his New York Yankees cap on backward, he always wore a T-shirt 
and bathing suit, sandals and sunglasses. I'd see him walking 
down to the yacht club to go sailing or cutting across the 
backyard gathering lots of kids up for a touch football game. 
He was a normal guy, a good guy.

    C. David Heymann, author, A Woman Named Jackie: Once I ran 
into him at the airport in New York, and we were both on the 
way to Boston. He looked horrendous, raggedy, like he hadn't 
shaved. When we arrived at Logan, someone came to pick him up, 
and he offered me a lift, then said, ``Just a second, I have to 
go to the little boys' room.'' He went off looking grungy and 
dirty in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Ten minutes later, at the 
most, he emerged completely clean-shaven. He had transformed 
himself, as if he had stepped off the pages of GQ.

    Evelyn Lauder, longtime friend: During the Whitney Museum 
benefit in March, John and Carolyn couldn't wait to get up from 
dinner and go down to dance. They looked so in love. Afterward 
we all went up to Rao's restaurant in East Harlem. Carolyn was 
very protective of him. When we were talking about the future 
and whether she was going to have a family, she said she wanted 
to do whatever would be right for the two of them. She was very 
strong on her own, but it was important to her that the time 
would be right for him to have a family.

    Tony Danys, firefighter stationed less than a block from 
his apartment: You picture him one way, like a movie star. But 
here on the street he was just an average Joe. Always a hello. 
Always a smile.

    Drew Nierporent, restaurateur: We were all at a dinner to 
honor Robert De Niro for helping to renew TriBeCa. They were 
serving osso buco, veal shank with a big bone, and he 
discreetly asked the waitress to wrap up the bones for his dog. 
He asked not only for his bone but for extras. He walked out 
with a big doggie bag.

    Radu Teodorescu, fitness trainer: One night when he came by 
my studio on Rollerblades, he had gotten his skates tangled in 
a dog's leash. He had fallen down and scraped his face and was 
bleeding when he came in. I said, ``You have to be more 
careful. A President cannot have a scar on his face!'' And he 
answered, ``Let's not go that far.''

    David Sayre, friend and pilot: After his wedding we flew 
them down to Florida on an old Beech 18 from the '40s or '50s 
that looked a lot like Amelia Earhart's plane. He ``oohed'' and 
``aahed'' all around the plane. It was parked out in this 
field, and there was nobody else around. He said, ``Where are 
all the photographers?'' He was ready to have some pictures 
taken at that point. He loved the plane, the whole scene. He 
wanted to have a record of it.

    Donald Trump, real estate mogul: I got a letter from him on 
that last Friday talking about the death of my father. He 
talked about the relationship between fathers and sons and how 
difficult it is to lose a parent. I was so touched. He had such 
a graciousness about him, that knack for knowing what to say in 
any situation. It was the last thing I read as I was going out 
the door on a business trip. It was special then, but it has 
obviously become even more special now.

    Rev. Billy Graham, evangelist: John and Carolyn came home 
from their honeymoon three days early to interview me for 
George. I could see a great deal of love between them. I was 
impressed with how ordinary he was. He could be anything he 
decided to be. He had humility, he was kind, he was gracious 
and he was knowledgeable. Most important, he had a religious 
faith, but I think he was searching for something more 
definite. He asked, ``Where does our own free will end and 
God's will begin?'' I told him there is a mystery to all of 
this, but that if he had faith in God and put his trust and 
confidence in him, he would provide a peace and joy and settle 
life with certainty.

            [From Newsweek Memorial Issue, Summer/Fall 1999]

                     A Death in the American Family
                          (By Jonathan Alter)

    In 1945, a young U.S. Navy veteran named John F. Kennedy 
arranged for the printing of a book called ``As We Remember 
Joe,'' a collection of reminiscences about his older brother 
Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., who had been killed at the age of 29 the 
year before on a dangerous bombing mission over the English 
Channel. ``His worldly success was so assured and inevitable,'' 
the future president wrote, ``that his death seems to have cut 
into the natural order of things.''
    The natural order. In the more than half a century since, 
this notion, applied to this family, has deeply entwined itself 
in the life of this country. Joe's death brought Jack into 
politics. After Jack and Bobby were assassinated and Ted was 
sidelined by Chappaquiddick, the natural order moved to the 
younger generation, especially the late president's only 
surviving son, John F. Kennedy Jr., a free-spirited and 
tremendous appealing young man who wore history's expectations 
like a light day-pack.
    It was ironic, and heaven knows the Kennedys love irony: 
the more hideously unnatural the order, the more natural the 
heir became, his life largely untroubled by the terrible 
anxieties that would strangle most others who drew his lot. 
When he died in the ocean, with his wife, Carolyn, and her 
sister Lauren Bessette, young Kennedy left no political legacy. 
He uttered no words that will be remembered a hundred years 
from now. This great guy was not a great man, not yet. But in 
his grace and exuberance, his service to others and exquisite 
sense of self, he reconnected us to the great family epic of 
the 20th century and set a new standard of decency for the 
    Why do so many of us care about his death? Why wait in line 
for three hours to lay flowers at his doorstep? The explanation 
is simple: we care because we feel as if we knew him, as if his 
baby pictures were our own family snapshots and home movies. 
That public sense of possessing John, which lay at the root of 
the paparazzi interest and the astonishing level of fame he 
achieved, crossed lines of race, class and age. At the 
makeshift shrine outside John and Carolyn's apartment in 
downtown New York, the crowd was strikingly diverse, with some 
of the poems handwritten in Spanish, and the tears in eyes both 
young and old.
    For the World War II generation, he seemed like a son, born 
right after his father was elected president in 1960, raised by 
the most famous mother in the world. For certain baby boomers, 
he was the beau ideal--the gold standard of cool, more handsome 
than any movie star, the generational icon on whom to project 
their childhood memories and fantasies. For many younger 
Americans, Kennedy represented their postmodern esthetic: 
informal, irreverent, adventurous; an easy blend of having fun 
and doing good.
    One constant in all the analysis of his appeal was that 
John Kennedy (he disliked the ``Jr.'' and loathed ``John-
John'') connected to ordinary people. He often Rollerbladed or 
took the subway around New York, brought his dog to the office, 
greeted people with perfect manners and concern for anyone down 
on his luck. Most of his closest friends were not rich and 
famous, but people he knew from college. There was no 
entourage, no limo always waiting, no air of entitlement.
    But in leading an amazingly ordinary life, Kennedy embodied 
something extraordinary--something that might help explain the 
way his death affected so many people across so many lines. The 
American creed, cogently expressed in the Declaration of 
Independence, is ``life, liberty and the pursuit of 
happiness.'' The last of these is the most elusive. Against the 
weight of history, John not only pursued happiness, he found 
    For all his lost promise, for everything he could have done 
with another 50 years of life, he lived the ideal, and made us 
think that we might, too.
    The burial at sea was appropriate, reflecting John and 
Carolyn's own sure sense of proportion and place. Their ashes 
were spread from the USS Briscoe, which carried a priest, a 
small contingent of family and no press. John loved the open 
sea and sky, and the family resonance was unmistakable. ``When 
we go back to the sea,'' President Kennedy once said, ``we go 
back from whence we came.''
    Had he not gone back so painfully soon, John Kennedy would 
likely have gravitated to the family business. Friends say that 
he had decided that after proving his entrepreneurial abilities 
by starting George Magazine, he was ready for politics.
    At the private mass held at New York's Church of St. Thomas 
More, ``Uncle Teddy,'' as John called him, told a story about 
John that reflected how lightly he carried the political 
expectations imposed on him:
    ``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.''
    Ted Kennedy's eulogy captured John's spirit:
    ``He 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 for adventure. He was a pied piper who brought 
us all along. He was blessed with a mother and father who never 
thought anything mattered more than their children . . . 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.''
    In years past, a particular phrase was applied to people 
like John Kennedy: ``Well bred.'' It meant polite, charming, 
responsible, attractive. As American society became more 
democratic and less concerned with who your parents were, the 
phrase fell from common usage. Nowadays, someone with these 
qualities is perhaps better called well balanced or well 
    From his father, whom he remembered only dimly and mostly 
from pictures, John inherited an ease with people of all 
backgrounds, an irresistibility to women and a cool detachment. 
After hundreds of hollow JFK knockoffs, the real son gave the 
old wit and elegance a distinctly '90s feel, with much of the 
same pragmatism as the president. From his mother, who once 
described her two fine children as ``the best thing I've ever 
done,'' John learned a strong sense of personal identity, not 
as a Kennedy icon but as an individual, capable of carving out 
a private life amid astonishing intrusions.
    John was a late bloomer; he didn't always know where he was 
going. But he always knew who he was. This provided a 
remarkable degree of mental health in someone who by all rights 
should have been sullen and confused. After all, John Kennedy 
was the closest thing we've seen to Truman Burbank of ``The 
Truman Show,'' trapped in a world where almost everyone he met 
was acting (by pretending that it was no big deal to meet him) 
and the rest of the world was watching. The difference is that 
the cinematic Truman didn't know that he was trapped. John 
knew, and prevailed anyway.
    One way that he did so was by avoiding cynicism. He was 
skeptical and sometimes cutting, but he never gave up hope that 
public service was noble. After he died, his friends were 
surprised by all of the non-profit organizations that he was 
involved in beyond the Kennedy family--most undertaken quietly. 
A school called Exodus House in Harlem. A program called 
Reaching Up that helped the mentally handicapped. A foundation 
called Robin Hood that supported programs in the inner city and 
showed real results. Even if he had never entered politics, 
Kennedy would have grown old arguing for the importance of some 
kind of public service.
    Of course, now he will always be young John, either the 
unforgettable 3-year-old saluting his father's casket or the 
dashing prince. ``What made us dream that he could comb grey 
hair?'' the poet William Butler Yeats once wrote.
    That loss of promise strikes especially deep because of its 
ungodly familiarity. Over the years, ``the Kennedy curse'' 
became a cliche, and one that the family resented. Even now it 
lacks appreciation of free will and the choices Kennedys make 
to embrace life and take risks. And yet the sacrifices of this 
one family have been so disproportionate that they defy 
rational analysis. President Kennedy once said that ``life is 
unfair.'' It's hard to imagine that even he--with all of the 
suffering he experienced--could imagine what has been visited 
upon the Kennedys and Bessettes.
    From Aeschylus and Sophocles to Shakespeare and Keats, 
themes of violent early death and family drama have cascaded 
through Western culture. For thousands of years, in all 
societies around the world, the legends of kings and queens, 
princes and princesses, have exerted a strange, almost magical 
hold on public imagination, long after the political power of 
monarchy faded.
    The United States was founded on anti-royalist principles 
but settled by immigrants from old kingdoms. So, lacking formal 
royalty, Americans have long fashioned their own democratic 
substitutes, from the Adamses to the Roosevelts to hundreds of 
local duchies. The 2000 presidential campaign, for instance, is 
shaping up as Albert Gore against George W. Bush--a Tennessee 
political dynasty versus a Connecticut-Texas one. In a large, 
diverse and often lonely country without shared ethnic history, 
there's something comforting about seeing the same family names 
pop up again and again in different realms, from the Hollywood 
Fondas to the Teamster Hoffas.
    More broadly, the triumphs and travails of the famous--
especially public deaths--have become a kind of cultural glue, 
bonding us to fantasy and to each other. Many Americans know 
more about the Kennedy cousins than about their own cousins, 
and cry harder at the loss of someone they know on TV than 
someone they know in person. This brings us closer together as 
a nation, but along less authentic lines, as if we need some 
mediating buffer to experience life.
    It may have begun with the Kennedy assassination in 1963, 
the first national trauma shared in front of the electronic 
hearth of television. In the years since, we've shared many 
such traumatic televised events--some historically important, 
others merely emotionally significant--from the assassinations 
of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy to the murder 
of John Lennon, the Challenger explosion, the death of Princess 
Diana. We're a virtual culture now, and we're not going back 
any time soon, no matter how much we all complain about the 
saturation level.
    It's too soon to know how the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. 
will play out historically. He wouldn't have much cared. Some 
Kennedys will do well in politics; others won't. The paparazzi 
will find someone else to hound; with any luck, it won't be his 
sister. All we know for sure is that a good man is gone, and 
that's a loss for us all.

            [From Newsweek Memorial Issue, Summer/Fall 1999]

                               A Tribute
                          (By Harris Wofford)

    ``This world demands the qualities of youth,'' said John's 
uncle Robert to students in South Africa: ``not a time of life 
but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of 
imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the 
appetite for adventure over the love of ease.'' Beyond his 
charm, the appeal of John F. Kennedy Jr. came largely from 
those very qualities. He was not a daredevil but daring--
paddling a kayak, rappelling down a mountain wall, flying a 
plane, founding a magazine. America was born of daring, by 
people who crossed an ocean and pioneers who went west. That is 
a spirit we need to stir again.
    Yet his hold on the public's imagination grew out of two 
other qualities that Robert Kennedy didn't list. They were key 
to why those who saw some of him wanted more. Like his father, 
John had an irrepressible sense of humor. And like his mother, 
he was curious about life beyond politics: sports, the arts, 
business, the private realm of family and friends. Americans 
yearn for leaders who are not obsessed with office-seeking or 
the privileges of power; who want government to be self-
government, including citizen initiatives of many kinds; who 
will bring into politics what John Adams and Thomas Jefferson 
called ``the Public Happiness.''
    My own memories of the young John Kennedy Jr. are still 
fresh. He came to ask me, an old Africa hand from the Peace 
Corps, for tips on what to do during a summer in South Africa 
before college. He was serious, idealistic, open. On another 
extended trip he traveled through India with the same eagerness 
and lack of pretense. After college he worked with teenagers in 
the South Bronx, so his interest in national service came 
naturally. Last summer he led a lively George session with me 
in which he probed the possibilities of service on a larger 
    With less delight I remember the conversation in which he 
explained, at careful length, why he would not campaign for me 
in my Senate race in Pennsylvania. He felt that if he made any 
exception to his rule against campaigning for non-family 
members, the flood of requests would be unstoppable. It was a 
deep determination, he explained, to break out of being just 
his father's son.
    Later, I joked that he owed me one because he could've 
brought in the votes I needed. Still, I said I hoped to live 
long enough to campaign for him for president. He laughed. As 
he told Tom Brokaw, ``Fortunately, I have some years to 
decide.'' He--and we--didn't have those years.
    Will any of his cousins or the generation after them have 
the same spark, the same breadth, the same ability to grab the 
public mind? Don't count them out. Some already demonstrate 
outstanding leadership in public office. Others offer the 
different kinds of service that John so respected: the Special 
Olympics and Best Buddies, environmental groups like the 
Watershed Institute and River Watch and the work of the Robert 
F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation. They all represent the kind of 
patriotism that this country most needs. One who practices it, 
too, in her scholarship and public works is Caroline Kennedy 
Schlossberg. Now out in front, she will represent a new breed 
of leader, and her own profile in courage will be our last 
direct link to President Kennedy and Jacqueline.
    John said that every time his spirits were low, he listened 
to the blues sung by Bessie Smith, who also died tragically. 
``And then I get cured by her sadness.'' The cure to our 
sadness may be to share--and learn from--the Kennedys' losses: 
not by retreating but by going forward and giving even more. So 
instead of thinking of a curse on the Kennedys, we should think 
of the gifts they have given--and ask ourselves what we can 
give back to the country we all share.

                  [From Vanity Fair, September, 1999]

                           Great Expectations
                          (By David Michaelis)

    A long, long time ago, when he was John--just John--I knew 
him a little. I was a friend of his sister Caroline's from 
school. Her brother was a skinny 13-year-old with a big flop of 
hair. He was thoughtful, undemanding. He remembered your name. 
He had a watchful eye, a quietness that did not seem to mark 
him as a Kennedy male, and a mischievous streak that did. As a 
younger brother he could be protective and loving but also 
loose, goofy--goofy in a way that kept him from having to 
control the world too much.
    As he grew older, authority came to him and he wore it 
naturally. If, as a boy, he had been embarrassed by his 
skinniness, he seemed surprised as a man to have become 
beautiful--no other word for it. He moved with Olympian grace, 
back rippling, stomach quilted with muscle. If he was vain 
about his body, he seemed unconcerned with his handsomeness, 
and careless with his hair and clothes.
    He could poke fun at his own myth brilliantly, and knew how 
to be honest with a wry smile and wrenching laughter. To a 
remarkable degree he remained unself-conscious. His sense of 
obligation to his family showed itself in one physical quality 
that I remember: He had trouble sitting still. He could not 
seem to help himself; he was always moving restlessly in and 
out of rooms.
    When he entered or left a room he did something 
overpowering to that room and the people in it, something that 
no one else, except perhaps his parents, his sister, or 
Princess Diana, could do. Fame is a gross distortion of a human 
being, but he made it look as if you or I could do it. I once 
spent a quarter of an hour being John F. Kennedy Jr., which 
gave me an idea of who he was and what it might have cost him 
had he not managed to find a coherent sense of self.
    The setting was a room in a senior-citizen center somewhere 
in Rhode Island late in the spring of 1980, when his uncle 
Senator Edward M. Kennedy was running for the Democratic 
nomination for the presidency. Working on the campaign, I 
happened to enter that room of seniors with one of the 
senator's nieces, Kerry Kennedy. The crowd was expecting her. 
They knew that Kerry went to Brown University in nearby 
Providence. And because it was also known that John F. Kennedy 
Jr. was enrolled at Brown, and because I was close enough in 
age and height to John, and because Kennedys are known to 
travel in multiples, the seniors simply assumed that I was the 
only surviving son of the late President Kennedy. It took 
nothing more than showing my face in that room: I was the boy 
who had saluted his father's flag-draped coffin. I was ``John-
John,'' or, as they pronounced it, in a kind of love chant, 
    Over and over: Jawn-Jawn, Jawn-Jawn. It felt like undertow. 
The wildly grasping hands, the gaping mouths, the talon like 
fingernails--all suddenly in my face, on my body, deeply in my 
flesh. I no longer belonged to myself. I was theirs. I remember 
telling row after row of wheelchair-bound seniors that I wasn't 
John. No one listened. Everyone was bewitched. John-John, I 
was, Jawn-Jawn I would be.
    For me it was only for a matter of minutes. He had a 
lifetime of it. By some act of will, or strand of DNA, he would 
not be conquered by the assault--not by the cameras, not by the 
beating of muffled drums or flags at half-mast or the film 
clips that again swept his smiling, unhurt parents from Love 
Field to their doom, and him to his salute outside St. 
Matthew's Cathedral. He had been history and he would be 
history. Though he was part of everyone's past, he somehow 
understood that he must always remain in the present. If he had 
a chance to live outside the myth, it was by mastering the here 
and now.
    I saw him leaving a room a couple of years ago, at the 
annual White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., 
which he was attending as the founding editor in chief of 
George Magazine. At the end of the evening, in one of the wide, 
carpeted hallways of the Hilton, my wife, Clara, and I were 
pulled into an expanding swirl of people, eddying urgently 
around a fixed center. My first thought was that here was the 
scene of a medical emergency. Someone must be on the floor, 
having a heart attack, because of the way people near the 
center of the pack were shouting in alarmed, incoherent bursts. 
Others respectfully kept their distance from the center yet 
also refused in the crisis to budge from their places. More and 
more people moved in behind us, until we were all pressed 
together and holding our breath in suspense, witnesses to the 
emergency of John Kennedy and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's 
leaving the Hilton.
    He seemed interested in fulfillment. In recent years, he 
had settled down, made commitments. But still you never knew 
with John how hard it was to live with his feelings--or, for 
that matter, with expectations, memorabilia, houses, dubious 
privacy, plentiful money, grief more dreadful than it seems 
possible to endure.
    In the dining room of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's 
apartment at 1040 Fifth Avenue, a little after 10:15 p.m. on 
May 19, 1994, John told family and friends that she was dead. 
Minutes later, a desperate keening could be heard from a back 
hallway. It sounded as if it might have been one of the old 
Greek maids from the days of Onassis. It turned out to be a 
woman no one knew, silver-haired, odd-looking who suddenly 
appeared in the front hallway and embraced John. He at first 
took her to be one of his Bouvier cousins. But when he 
gallantly apologized for not knowing her, the woman told him 
first one, then another obviously fake name, and he realized 
that she had come in off the street, from the crowds that had 
been logjammed behind blue sawhorses for days on the sidewalk 
    That scene in the hallway could have played out in so many 
ways, ugly or angry, weird or graceful. Good manners can help 
at a time like that; so can kindness, patience, and experience 
with the chaos and comedy that was always at the edge of his 
family's life. By the time his mother died, he had learned 
simplicity too, which was her greatness. But to know how to 
handle an intruder at your mother's deathbed, you need above 
all to be true to yourself. He gently told the woman, ``Madam, 
you don't belong here.''
    Identity is the question we all have to solve, and that's 
why John Kennedy's triumph, his ability to be himself, despite 
odds no one would bet on, was a miracle to witness.

                 [From George Magazine, October, 1999]

                            Editor's Letter
                        (By the Editorial Staff)

    In the weeks following John Kennedy's death, his image 
lived on at newsstands and on televisions everywhere. Magazines 
and newspapers all published their homages to a life that was 
lived in the public eye. For a little while, television turned 
into univision, with John being the only program. What the 
media printed and broadcast was a dramatized narrative--
beginning with John's birth and filmed through the lenses of 
countless cameras--that had unfolded like a long-running 
serial, with epic highs and tragic lows leading into each new 
chapter. That the producers of a fable wanted to distribute 
their interpretation of its end wouldn't have surprised John a 
    Still, for those of us who worked with John, the process of 
seeing our colleague's death transformed into the stuff of 
popular history was unsettling. Certainly, we were familiar 
with many of the images: John as the scion of a mythic family, 
John as the handsome and glamorous New Yorker with a beautiful 
and glamorous wife, John as a potential political candidate. 
During our time at George, we had gotten a backstage look at 
John once called ``the giant puppet show that can turn public 
people into barely recognizable symbols of themselves.'' And, 
to be fair, the tributes were almost always kind, mostly 
accurate, and rightly captured the essence of John: his 
unfailingly generous heart and his remarkable passion for life. 
But we were reluctant to participate. At such a time, we found 
it hard to trust our emotions, to feel confident that we'd be 
able to say the right things in the proper way.
    Ultimately, we decided to remember John within the pages of 
George. Part of our remembrance is manifest in every story and 
every photograph in this issue, from Al Franken's wonderfully 
funny report on the GOP's Iowa straw poll to our countdown of 
the 100 greatest moments of the American century. That's 
important to note, because John knew that sooner or later this 
magazine would have to stand on its own. Save for one or two 
noteworthy exceptions, he didn't want his name on the cover of 
George or his picture inside.
    This month, however, we're making an exception by 
publishing a special section in John's memory. We've tried to 
tell you about John as we saw him every workday: as an editor 
and a journalist who founded a magazine with a mission. In our 
tribute section, you'll find excerpts from his editor's letters 
and the interviews he conducted for the magazine--John in his 
own words. We've also included some of his favorite covers and 
a story about his trip to Cuba to interview Fidel Castro, a 
fascinating journey that, for reasons you'll see when you read 
the piece, never made it into George.
    Finally, we're publishing a photo gallery of some of the 
people in public life whom John admired. Whether or not they 
knew it, he thought they represent the spirit of civic duty 
that informed his editorial vision and inspired him to create 
George. John may be gone, but his faith in the virtue of public 
service is not. From a boxer to a president, these people share 
that faith. So does this magazine.
    Thanks for reading. We'll see you next month.

          [From John F. Kennedy Library Newsletter, Fall 1999]

 Statement of Paul G. Kirk, Jr., Board Chairman of the John F. Kennedy 
                           Library Foundation

    John's tragic loss leaves an immeasurable void in the 
hearts and lives of his friends on the Board and staffs of the 
John F. Kennedy Library and foundation. He carried his father's 
name with pride, grace, and dignity. As the Foundation's Vice 
Chairman, he gave generously of his time, talent, ideas, and 
resources to help make the Kennedy Library the educational 
center of public service envisioned by his mother. His 
thoughtful and forceful views as a member of the Profile in 
Courage Award Committee were evidence of his commitment to his 
father's inspiration and legacy. We extend our deepest sympathy 
to Caroline Kennedy, Ed, their children, and to all members of 
the Bessette and Kennedy families, and we assure them of our 
prayers for their strength and for the peace of their loved 
ones lost.


                        Permissions and Credits
Frontispiece: Courtesy of Ken Regan.

Pgs. 40-43, 46 (bottom), 47-49, 52 & 53: Courtesy of JFK 

P. 44: Courtesy of JFK Library/Stan Tretick/Look Magazine.

P. 45: Courtesy of JFK Library/UPI.

P. 46 (top): Courtesy of Frank Teti.

P. 50: Courtesy of Kennedy family collection.

P. 51: Courtesy of Denis Reggie.
Newspaper and Journal Articles
P. 55: Reproduced with permission of The Los Angeles Times, 

P. 56: Reproduced with permission of Newsday,  1999.

Pgs. 61, 63 & 82: Reproduced with permission of The New York 
        Daily News,  1999.

Pgs. 65 & 73: Reproduced with permission of The Boston Globe, 

Pgs. 67 & 84:  1999 by The New York Times Company. 
        Reprinted by permission.

Pgs. 69 & 78: Reproduced with permission of The Washington 
        Post,  1999.

Pgs. 70 & 86: Reproduced with permission of USA Today, 

Pgs. 75 & 76: Reproduced with permission of The New York Post, 

P. 80: The Wall Street Journal,  1999 Holder-Dow 
        Jones Co., Inc.

Pgs. 90, 92, 94, 102, 104 & 105:  1999 by Time Inc. 
        All rights reserved.

Pgs. 96, 98 & 100: Reprinted by permission;  1999 
        The Conde Nast Publications, Inc. Originally published 
        in The New Yorker.

P. 107: This article is reprinted with permission of The Weekly 
        Standard. Original date of article, August 2, 1999, 
        Copyright, News America Incorporated.

P. 109: Reprinted from the Summer 1999 issue of People Weekly 
        Magazine by special permission;  1999, Time 

Pgs. 112 & 116:  1999 by Newsweek, Inc., 444 Madison 
        Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022. All rights reserved.

P. 118:  1999 David Michaelis. This article 
        originally appeared in Vanity Fair.

P. 120: Reproduced with permission of George Magazine, 

P. 122: Reproduced with permission of the JFK Library 
        Newsletter,  1999.