JACKIE SAID "THANK YOU" FOR CONDOLENCES 50 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy made her first public statement fifty years ago tonight, January 14, 1964, since the death of her husband, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
Mrs. Kennedy's remarks were video taped in the office of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the President's brother, at the Justice Department here in the Nation's Capital.
The Attorney General was by Mrs. Kennedy's side during the video taping along with Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, also a brother of the late president.
Mrs. Kennedy acknowledged the receipt of more than 800,000 cards, messages and letters of condolence.
Mrs. Kennedy said:
"It is my greatest wish that all these letters be acknowledged.
Each and every letter will be treasured and placed along with President Kennedy's papers."*
*Historian Ellen Fitzpatrick's book "Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation" includes 250 of the total # of 1.5 million letters.
Following is the text of one of these letters:
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
February 14, 1964
I'm just a 73 year old man who lost his wife in 1963.
My wife died in my arms as your husband died in your(s)...and when I watched you walked behind that flag draped coffin, I cried my eyes out.
I think you are the most wonderful woman on earth.
May God Always Bless You.
R. R. Louk
Bob, Jackie and Ted walk
in JFK funeral procession
November 25, 1963
Photo by Abbie Rowe
Truman Library Photo