The president spent the night in the hospital,
holding his son's little hand through an opening in the breathing chamber.
He spoke to Patrick, urging the infant to hang on....
He was holding Patrick's hand and the nurse said, "He's gone".
The baby died at 4:04 am., August 9, after thirty-six hours of life.
He was a beautiful baby.


At that moment, something finally broke in Jack Kennedy.
For the first time, he let the floodgates of his emotions
open uninhibitedly to many people.
He could no longer just hold it in.
He just cried and cried and cried.

JFK and Jackie's second son, Patrick, was born five weeks prematurely and died -- figuratively in the arms of his father -- at the age of one-and-a-half days -- after putting up an incredible fight for life.

This was a monumental loss to JFK and Jackie -- the greatest heartbreak JFK had ever experienced, said his secretary Evelyn Lincoln -- and their naming him "Patrick" adds even more pathos to the tragedy.

JFK's great-grandfather -- the first Kennedy to come to America, escaping the Irish potato famine in 1848 -- was Patrick (Pat) who was the father of JFK's grandfather, Patrick Joseph (PJ) who was the father of JFK's father, Joseph Patrick (Joe).

During Jackie's sixth-month of pregnancy, in June 1963, JFK made his famous historic visit to Ireland accompanied by his sisters and closest Irish aides -- Dave Powers and Kenny O'Donnell. The love JFK felt there -- from his relatives and all the Irish people -- had given him emotional and spiritual strength -- and he promised to return one day, and bring Jackie and the children with him.

In the dozens of JFK books I've read over the years, the following gives the most poignant account of how the love between JFK and Jackie sustained them through the loss of their child. I've scanned several pages -- and transcribed excerpts -- to share with ORWELL TODAY readers. Also, at pertinent passages, I've inserted photos from other books* to enhance understanding. ~ Jackie Jura


The Kennedy White House: Family Life & Pictures, 1961-1963
by Carl Sferrazza Athony
pages 207-244

...As 1963 got under way, the president would repeatedly tell his secretary with a broad smile, "Soon you will have three coming over to get candy from your candy dish". Jackie was pregnant, and Jack was ecstatic...

Jackie's excursions that year would not include any foreign trips. She was increasingly limiting even her private activity. In the early spring, Jackie's obstetrician, John Walsh, who had delivered John by cesarean surgery in 1960, advised her to cancel all her official activities in an attempt to remove any stress that might threaten the birth of her new child, due in September. This meant forgoing a trip with the president to Ireland, Italy, and Germany in June 1963....

Kennedy brought wool sweaters for Jackie and the children, but for him, the most precious gift was the silver goblet presented to him at New Ross. It seemed to be a tactile reminder, a touchstone of his very self, his roots. He cherished small souvenirs -- an Irish poem he scribbled on dinner place cards, a postcard of the Kennedy cottage he placed in his dresser mirror. "I imagine that he was never easier, happier, more involved and detached, more completely himself," offered Schlesinger of Kennedy's trip to Ireland.

As he returned, Kennedy was hitting his stride. In June, 1963, he had an astounding 82 percent approval rating in a Gallup pole... Personally, he seemed more genuinely happy. He was no longer in severe physical pain, his back troubles reduced greatly by new treatment....

Jack made Jackie, rather than his mother or his siblings, his primary outlet for a full expression of his emotions about Ireland. He asked her to get jacket buttons for him that carried the insignia of the Irish American brigade that had fought in the Civil War. Jackie, realizing the significance of the silver goblet, asked that the florist keep it filled with flowers and in his office on a table where he could always see it. She reflected on what the trip had meant to him: "It wasn't just a sentimental journey. Ireland meant much more...he had always been moved by its poetry and literature because it told of the tragedy and the desperate courage which he knew lay just under the surface of Irish life. The people of Ireland had faced famine and disease, and had fought against oppression, and died for independence...they dreamed and sang and wrote and thought and were gay in the face of all their burdens....

Overriding everything else of importance to him was the imminent addition of a new child to his family. In his absence, the First Lady had made no public appearances, but had also focused on their family.... For both the Kennedys, their closest bond and joint happiness was in their children....

Summer meant Hyannis Port for the family, and that is where Jackie worked and waited for her baby's birth, and where Jack was first reunited with his wife, after his return from Europe on the Fourth of July.

JFK/Jackie Hug

For the first time, seemingly unconcerned, he did not yell at the photographers to halt their work as he and Jackie embraced...

In 1962, the John Kennedys had rented the modern, split-level suburban-type home of family friend Morton Downey on Squaw Island, about a mile away from the extended family. In 1963, they rented Brambletyde, a weathered, more traditional Cape Cod-style house on the island. Jackie so liked it that she and her husband made overtures to purchase it -- until an outrageously unreasonable price was put before the president. Still, not only was the rented home on Squaw Island easier for the Secret Service to protect, it seemed to afford Jackie the privacy she needed....

Jack wanted to do anything to limit stress on his wife. Knowing her history of difficult pregnancies and childbirth, said his friend Jim Reed, "President Kennedy was extremely solicitous of Jackie and very careful in making certain that everything was all right". One Saturday morning, Jackie felt some discomfort and Jack tried to contact her doctor. Unable to do so for over an hour, he became angry. "I just hope," he told Walsh, "that if you do go off for a walk for any period of time that you always tell someone where you are, how you can be reached immediately in case I do have to get in touch with you".

Other than his worries about Jackie, the sunny weekends of July passed peacefully for Jack.

JFKBoatCaroline JFKBoatJohnJohn JFKBoatJackie

Every weekend he took at least one of his favorite yacht cruises surrounded by the family as they lunched, tickling Caroline, relaxing with different houseguests... The first weekend in August had come to a close. The president had spent it in Hyannis Port, with Red and Anita Fay and their daughter, Sally, as houseguests. Fay recalled one intimate vignette of the weekend, being called by Jack into his bedroom to chat, as the president and his wife lay affectionately with each other, lingering in bed.

The president then returned to Washington as usual on Monday morning, but made sure he was in regular touch with the Cape. He was determined to be with Jackie when the baby was born, remembering that he had been in Europe [in 1956] when their stillborn daughter, Arabella, was delivered...

On August 7, Jackie was getting ready to take Caroline to ride her pony at the stable in nearby Osterville where Macaroni was housed. She was due in five weeks, but felt some slight labor pain. She called for Dr Walsh but asked that Jack not be bothered since it was probably a false alarm. Walsh rushed Jackie to the hospital set up for just such a possibility, at nearby Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, accompanied by the Secret Service agents who worked out of a temporary trailer several dozen yards away from the Kennedy's Squaw Island home.

In Washington, at 11:40am, Secret Service agent Jerry Behn seemed tense to Mrs Lincoln when he came up to her desk to inform her that Mrs Kennedy had gone to Otis but that she did not want the president to be told. Evelyn went ahead and told the president. Knowing that Walsh would be with Jackie, he called Dr Travell, who gave him the details. Preparations for an emergency cesarean delivery had begun. "Jackie will be all right," she told him. "How about the baby?" he asked. "Fifty-fifty," she replied. "I'm coming up as fast as I can", he snapped.

At 11:53am he took off from the White House in the helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base. At 12:10 a Jet Star plane left Andrews and arrived at Otis at 1:25. "He just kept sitting and staring out the window," remembered Jackie's press secretary Pam Turmure, who went with him and Nancy Tuckerman. "Obviously his thoughts were completely with her, and it was a very quiet trip -- getting there as soon as possible -- rushing to the hospital."


Jack immediately went to see Jackie in her room. She had given birth to a son while he was en route from Washington to Boston. Named Patrick Bouvier, he weighed four pounds, ten ounces. He was having problems breathing and had been placed in an incubator. Dr Walsh contacted a pediatric specialist from Boston's Children's Hospital who was whisked to the Boston airport by car and then to Otis by presidential helicopter. It was immediately decided to rush little Patrick to Children's Hospital. The tiny infant was carefully carried in his Plexiglas incubator and taken by helicopter ambulance to Boston, followed by another helicopter that carried the president. Jackie never saw Patrick.

Leaving the hospital briefly, the president went to a suite at the Boston Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He summoned Mrs Lincoln, who recalled, "There sat the President on the bed, without his coat...He was staring into space." He dictated a short note and sent a check to the family of a Boston policeman who had been killed in the line of duty. He returned to the hospital.

The next morning, August 8, Jack helicoptered back to his wife's side at Otis. Whatever conversation transpired between them was never disclosed, but she still did not know the real condition of the baby. The president then went immediately back to Patrick in Boston. The premature child, suffering from a lung condition involving the hyaline membrane, was fighting for his life and had been placed in a special room with reduced air pressure to ease his hard breathing and the stress on his little heart. Jack asked for a heart specialist from New York, sending a Jet Star to fetch him. When Patrick briefly rallied, the elated father called his wife with the good news. It was not to last. Meanwhile, Ted Kennedy visited Jackie at Otis. Jean Smith, Janet Auchincloss, Pat Lawford -- all rallied around the couple, supporting and visiting them, helping in any way they could. "Oh, nothing must happen to Patrick because I just can't bear to think of the effect it might have on Jackie," the president told his mother-in-law.


At nine that night, Bobby Kennedy was at his brother's side, and they both drove out to be with Patrick, now moved to Harvard's School of Public Health. Bobby's presence heartened Evelyn Lincoln; despite the staff and press corps surrounding him, the president "had seemed completely alone." He spent the night in the hospital, holding his son's little hand through an opening in the breathing chamber. He spoke to Patrick, urging the infant to hang on. That night the president was given an empty hospital room to stay in. He didn't really sleep, but rather roamed the halls. When he spied a small child who was covered with severe burns, he forgot his own heartache and sat down to write the child's mother. At two in the morning, an alerted Dave Powers woke Jack. "Every means known to medical science was used in an attempt to save the child's life," remembered Cardinal Cushing. The baby died at 4:04 am., August 9, after thirty-six hours of life. "He was a beautiful baby." Jack quickly asked Powers to go outside the room and call Ted with the news. "He didn't want anyone to see him crying," recalled Powers.

At that moment, something finally broke in Jack Kennedy. For the first time, he let the floodgates of his emotions open uninhibitedly to many people. He could no longer just hold it in. Pierre Salinger watched his boss "weeping in an adjacent boiler room" by the intensive care unit. Mrs Lincoln recalled, "I was with him at the hospital when he was holding Patrick's hand and the nurse said, 'He's gone,' And tears came into his eyes. I had never seen tears in his eyes before." It was a shock to Dave Powers as well -- who had never seen Jack weep: "He just cried and cried and cried."

The next morning, after returning to the hospital to thank the doctors and staff, Kennedy went back to his wife. Jacqueline Kennedy -- who later regretted that she revealed the fact -- admitted that he wept when telling her the news. This tragedy, after his father's stroke, after his own hope of conquering his crushing back pain, after the sentimental trip to Ireland, this one event seemed to be the most important turning point in the emotional change that occurred in John F. Kennedy during his presidency. "I am convinced," said Mrs Lincoln, "this was one of the hardest blows the president experienced...he looked at this little boy and wished with all his heart there was some way to give him a chance to live...It wasn't so much grief for his own son, but for a potential that would never be realized."


The funeral was held on August 10 in Cardinal Cushing's private chapel in his Boston residence. Jack sat alone in the front pew as Cushing said the Mass of the Holy Angels. The Auchinclosses, Little Janet and Jamie, a visiting Lee Radizwell, and all the Kennedy siblings and their spouses attended the mass. Afterward, Jack and the cardinal were alone in the chapel. Jack began sobbing again and put his arm around the tiny coffin. "Jack, you better go along. Death isn't the end, but the beginning," the cardinal told him. "He wouldn't take his hands off the coffin," he later recalled. "I was afraid he'd carry it right out with him." Jack put into Patrick's coffin the St Christopher's medal that he had been given by Jackie on the occasion of their wedding. The baby was buried in Holyhood Cemetery, in the family plot, in Brookline, Massachusetts. After this ceremony, Jack again cried, not wanting to leave him. "It's awful lonely here", he said. "Come on, Jack, let's go," Cushing admonished. "God is good."

When Jack returned to Jackie, she told him, "There's just one thing I couldn't stand. If I ever lost you." He nodded, "I know, I know." In telling her about the funeral mass, he cried again in her arms.

Nancy Tuckerman and Pam Turnure stayed with Jackie in the small, makeshift military hospital as she recuperated for four more days. She firmly told the doctors, "I will be back next year. I will have another child." Some years later, when Schlesinger stated that Kennedy "kept his family small," Jacqueline corrected him, and in the process illustrated just how much they had considered Arabella and Patrick as their children, despite their short lives: "He never wanted them all crowded together like Bobby and Ethel -- so some children in the middle were miserable and the parents harassed. But he always wanted a baby coming along when its predecessor was growing up -- that is why he was so glad when he learned that I was having Patrick. But he wished for five children. Before we were married he said that. And he had four children in seven years."

After several days back in Washington, the president returned to Otis to pick up Jackie on August 14, bringing Caroline and John. Jack and Jackie emerged from the building holding hands, then were driven to Marine One for the short helicopter ride to Squaw Island.


The mood in the helicopter was somber. Caroline fully comprehended the loss of the baby and was agitated. Only her father was able to calm her. When she arrived at the house, her mood and that of her little brother suddenly lifted with a surprise the president had arranged. Several weeks earlier he had accepted an Irish wolfhound puppy -- Caroline named him Wolfie -- from an Irish admirer named Kennedy.


Impulsively, Jack had now followed up on another offer without his family's knowing -- it was what he called a "sad-looking" cocker spaniel, which arrived from Dublin. He named the dog Shannon. Not only were the two new Irish dogs there, and the regular menagerie of Clipper, Charlie, Pushinka, but so were two of the four puppies -- Streaker, Blackie, White Tips and Butterly -- that had recently been born to Pushinka, fathered by Charlie. The other two were given away to children who won essay-writing contests....

The president's focus, however, remained fixed on his wife. "He did so much to protect Mrs Kennedy at that time," Turnure later recalled. Bill Walton concurred, and noted something new about the couple. "She hung on to him and he held her in his arms -- something nobody ever saw at any other time because they were very private people." Jackie, however, also tried to buck him up. "He felt the loss of the baby in the house as much as I did," she said. Most frequently he resorted to humor, trying to make her laugh. "See that smile on her face?" he told a friend after having been successful. "I put it there"....

During his returns to the White House for work during the week, he always saw to it that a simple bouquet of freshly cut flowers from the Rose Garden was made up for him to take to her himself. "Each time he wanted to take her something that would let her know he had been thinking about her," said Mrs Lincoln, "and to share with her something of his life in Washington."


Jackie's depression remained, however, and her husband now gently tried to prompt her out of it. "Jackie," he told her, "we must not create an atmosphere of sadness in the White House because this would not be good for anyone -- not for the country and not for the work we have to do." Her mother thought that the president's remark made a "profound impression" on Jackie. Somewhat glibly, Janet Auchincloss commented that Jackie "kept her chin up and went on". While it was true that her daughter was following properly Janet's rule to behave without emotion in front of others following the tragedy it was also true that the young woman had slumped into one of her severe depressions.

Before coming to Newport in September 12, where the couple would celebrate their tenth anniversary at the site of their wedding reception, Jack called art dealers to suggest a selection of antiquities including jewelry, and paintings from which Jackie could choose her gift. He was also planning a more long-term surprise for her. Secretly, he was taking French lessons from Jacqueline Hirsch, who taught Caroline and her classmates. She told him it would be about a year before he could speak the language fluently. "I bet I do it in six months," he quipped.

He also asked the gardener to fix a bouquet of fall flowers from the Rose Garden.

JFK RoseGarden

For her part, Jackie presented Jack with an astounding piece of handicraft: she had put together intricate albums tracing the important moments of his administration and simultaneously tracing the development and blossoming of his Rose Garden. She also gave him a St Christopher's medal to replace the one he'd placed in Patrick's coffin.

Jack carried his bouquet to Jackie when he arrived at Hammersmith for the small dinner her mother was hosting for them.


One guest noted how loving the couple was toward each other -- despite the presence of others: "They are the most remote and independent people we know, and so when their emotions do surface it is especially moving."

There was a lot of laughter. Yusha Auchincloss made a toast, saying Jack's and Jackie's marriage had been a good thing for him -- because otherwise he'd never have had a chance to get into the White House.

WeddingHouse JFK/JackieMarried WeddingParty

Jack stood up in response, saying, "Because of Jackie, I got to live in the two finest American houses -- the White House and Hammersmith Farm."

Among the expensive ancient Roman sculpture, antique Greek bracelets, framed French engravings, and paintings he offered her as her gift, Jack kept needling her with the comment "Now, you can only keep one; you have to choose." As Janet remembered, "I think perhaps she kept two."


Janet Auchincloss reflected several months later on the couple at the time of their anniversary: "They'd certainly been through as much as people can go through together in ten years...all their strains and stresses, which any sensitive people have in a marriage, had eased to a point where they were terribly close to each those rare moments when one could be alone with them on a quiet evening when there weren't a million pressures pending -- they were very, very, very close to each other and understood each other wonderfully."

That weekend in Newport, the couple went for a cruise and hit the golf course.


This time, after riding about the links in a cart together, Jackie accepted his challenge and tried hitting the golf ball -- but only hacked it, much to her husband's delight. She had always enjoyed trying to make him laugh, and it seemed to be a well-needed light moment....

JFKboatCaroline JFKrowboatJohnJohn
JFK which Caroline and John-John in September 1963 (a month after Patrick's death)
& JFK, John-John, Jackie, Caroline in November 1963 (notice children wearing blue funeral coats)

watch JFK's "silly bastard" can chuckle, 50 years later, Fox News, Sep 15, 2014
President John F. Kennedy is often remembered as cool, calm, and collected. But 50 years ago, a Tampa man sent JFK into a tizzy over a picture that appeared in the Washington Post. It happened in July of 1963 when Ernie Carlton was stationed at Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts. It's where Air Force One landed when the Kennedys visited their family retreat in Hyannis Port. Carlton served as the base's public affairs officer, dealing with reporters and photographers who covered the Kennedys. "I thought the world of Kennedy", said Carlton, now 83 years old. But a recently discovered recording reveals that Kennedy didn't think much of Carlton. "That fellow is incompetent, who's standing beside Mrs. Kennedy's bed!" said the president in a phone conversation recorded in the White House. "He's a silly bastard! I wouldn't have him running a cathouse!". Kennedy's rant, aimed at an Air Force general, came after the president saw an article reporting that the Air Force had built an expensive private hospital ward for Jackie Kennedy, who was pregnant at the time. Accompanying the article was a photograph showing a young Air Force officer, Ernie Carlton, standing by a hospital bed, smiling at the cameras. "They're crazy up there!" shouted Kennedy on the phone. "And that silly bastard standing by the bed", said Kennedy, "what about transferring his ass out of here in about a month?". Carlton wasn't transferred. In fact, he went on to serve 25 years in the Air Force -- including more than 300 missions over Vietnam -- and later became a college professor. He had no idea that he was the "silly bastard" until independent film producer Scott Calonico came to his home last year, showed him the photo, and played the phone recording.... Carlton remembers now how he came to be pictured next to the bed. Carlton explained that he was leading reporters on a tour of the hospital, which he says was not nearly as lavish as the article made it appear. He laughed when talking about the turn of events which revealed his brush with Kennedy hidden for half a century. "I guess that's my claim to fame", he chuckled. "He didn't know me by name, but he had a nickname for me". Carlton says he still admires Kennedy. Perhaps the incident helps humanize an icon of American history. "People say things like that", Carlton smiled. "When I get mad, I might even let out a curse word". It helps that Carlton, the man called "silly" by the president, has a good sense of humor -- 50 years later.

Calonico's award-winning short film can be viewed at Vimeo: "The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed"

JFK's Profanity-Laced Tirade Featured in 'Silly Bastard Next to the Bed': The Wrap, Aug 21, 2014
Documentary short exposes a quirky hidden gem of history as well as a former U.S. President dropping the F-bomb. The documentary short SILLY BASTARD NEXT TO THE BED seems stranger than fiction as the story highlights one man's surprising connection to an outburst by President John F. Kennedy. Not only is the connection unexpected to the audience, but to the subject of the documentary, too.

JFKfamilyIreland New Kennedy centre at JFK’s ancestral home in Ireland, Irish Central, Mar 8, 2012
Plans are at an advanced stage for the new centre at the Kennedy family’s ancestral home in Dunganstown, near New Ross, County Wexford ahead of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s historic Irish tour. Descendants of the Kennedy family still own the house and site...“Given the importance of the homestead as a historic site and tourism attraction, the provision of modern visitor facilities is badly needed, and in consultation with the property owners a design scheme has been completed.”...New facilities are to include refurbishment of the existing out-buildings, and a reception and toilets. The work will include improvements to a car and tour-bus park, roadways, and signage. Announcing the project in the Dunbrody Visitor Centre in New Ross, Minster Hayes said: “As St Patrick’s Day approaches much international focus will be trained on Ireland, and great goodwill generated. What better way to promote tourism than to stimulate, in particular, the vast market in the USA where the Kennedy legacy is so revered?. “The Dunbrody centre is a fitting place to address the theme of historic emigration and the achievement of Irishmen and women who started new lives abroad and rose to pinnacles of achievement. “Undoubtedly, one of the greatest names in this respect is president John F Kennedy, whose great-grandfather left New Ross for the US in 1848.”


JFKkissFather JOHNNY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE, by Kenny O'Donnell & Dave Powers
...Our talk with Jackie beside the casket that evening during the flight back to Washington was like the talk at an Irish wake, filled with warmly sentimental reminiscences.... Jackie listened, entranced, while Dave described to her President Kennedy's last visit to his father at Hyannis Port on Sunday, October 20, afer he had appeared at a Democratic fundraising dinner in Boston the night before....Dave and I both talked with Jackie about our visit on the Saturday afternoon of that same weekend to Patrick's grave in Brookline and told her how the President had said to us, looking at his baby son's burial place, "He seems so alone here". Jackie listened, nodded slowly, and said, "I'll bring them together now." Dave and I looked at each other wondering if she was thinking of burying President Kennedy in Boston, but she had already decided on Arlington National Cemetary across the Potomac from the White House, and she was planning to move Patrick's body to his father's gravesite.

JFKbalconyFamily JFKCarolineJJ Jackie talked with us that night on the plane about our trip to Ireland with the President late in the previous June. "How I envied you being in Ireland with him," she said. "He said it was the most enjoyable experience of his whole life." Jackie remembered how impressed the President was by the drill performance of a group of Irish military cadets at Arbour Hill in Dublin when he placed a wreath on the graves of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Week Rebelliion. "I must have those Irish cadets at his funeral," she said. "And he loved the Black Watch pipers. They must be at the funeral, too." A band of pipers from the Black Watch of the Royal Highlander Regiment, who had performed for the President only nine days before his death, marched in the funeral procession from the White House to St Matthew's Cathedral. The cadets from Ireland were at his grave at Arlington Cemetary...

JFKcousinIrish President Kennedy being greeted by his cousin Mary Kennedy Ryan of County Wexford (Looking on, his sisters Jean Smith and Eunice Shtirver. "Cousin Jack came here like an ordinary member of the family. He crouched at the fire and blew the bellows. He asked about the family and the farm. He said, 'the fire feels wonderful'. Oh, he cared -- he really gave you the feeling he cared. "Cousins came from miles around. He shook hands with each of them, and he said, 'I'm glad some of the Kennedys missed the boat and didn't all go to Washington'. We had tea from a silver pot and cold boiled salmon. The sisters were lovely too. Not a bit of false pride in them, for all their money. They sprang up and down to help with the servin'. The government men with him kept telling him he had to go -- that he must be on schedule. His last words were, 'Cousin Mary, the next time I come I'll bring Jackie and the children'. Do you know that angel woman wrote back and thanked me for being so kind to her Jack?

GraveJFK/Jackie/Babies The site for the President's grave was to be the hillside just below Arlington House. The site was chosen because the President and his friend, architect John Carl Warnecke, had happened to visit the site in March 1963 and the President had admired the peaceful atmosphere of the location. The enlarged site was due to the wish of Mrs. Kennedy to inter her two deceased children next to their father. She had read that President Abraham Lincoln had been buried next to his deceased son, Willie Lincoln, and she recalled her husband's desire to be buried with his family. Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, the couple's son who had been born prematurely in August 1963 and died two days later, and an unnamed daughter had been stillborn in 1956. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was buried at the site alongside her husband following her death from cancer in May 1994.

LincolnIllustrated LincolnWillieDie The death of William Wallace ("Willie") Lincoln at the age of 11 in February 1862 was a tragic blow to both his parents. The photograph which bears his nickname in Mrs Lincoln's writing was taken at Springfield in 1860. The portrait of his mother, made in 1863, shows her still wearing mourning black. The photograph of Lincoln was taken in Washington by Mathew Brady during the months following the boy's death. The third of Lincoln's four sons (one died in 1850), Willie was described as his father's favorite.

JFK'S LAST FULL DAY ON EARTH (...It began on Thursday, November 21st, 1963 when JFK and Jackie left from Washington, DC and was to end on Saturday, November 23rd when they would be returning home to the White House. The trip to Texas was the first time Jackie had travelled with JFK since the death of their 2-day-old baby, Patrick on August 9th....The night before leaving for Texas JFK and Jackie stayed home after hosting a reception in the East Room for the Supreme Court judges and staff from the Justice Department. Afterwards there was a 38th-birthday party for JFK's brother Bobby at his home in Hickory Hill but JFK and Jackie didn't go because JFK wanted her to rest up for the trip which he knew would be gruelling. JFK was so happy about Jackie accompanying him to Texas that in the previous week he'd even helped her pick out the clothes she'd wear - so good did he want her to look and so proud of her was he. At departure on Thursday morning JFK took 3-year-old John-John with them in the helicopter from the White House lawn (6-year-old Caroline was in school) to Andrews Air Force base where he kissed him goodbye and boarded Air Force One (John-John had been crying because he wanted to go too).

JFK's first event of the day was in San Antonio where they landed at the International airport at 1:30 pm and went by motorcade (in the presidential Lincoln which had been flown ahead) to the Brooks Army Air Force Base. Over a hundred-thousand people lined the route shouting and waving and throwing confetti. JFK dedicated a new Aerospace Medical facility and made a speech in front of twenty-thousand people (where only nine-thousand chairs had been set up). Then, interrupting the schedule (only two hours had been allotted to San Antonio), JFK walked with the base Commander to a building housing an experimental oxygen chamber that simulated air pressure 30,000 feet up. JFK looked through the glass of the tank and put on earphones to speak to the four volunteers inside. He asked the scientists if this type of research could lead to knowledge about how to keep premature babies alive. JFK was no-doubt thinking about the breathing problems that caused the death of his own premature son three months previously. After leaving Brooks AFB there was another massively-attended motorcade on the way to Kelly Air Force base where they departed for Houston....

The Death of Willie Lincoln (...In an elegant White House guest room, the 11-year-old son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln lay ill in a huge carved rosewood bed, now known as the Lincoln Bed. At five p.m. on February 20, 1862, William Wallace Lincoln died. Elizabeth Keckly, the former slave who designed Mrs. Lincoln's beautiful wardrobe, washed and dressed him. When the president gazed at him, he mourned, "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!" She watched him bury his head in his hands, "his tall frame convulsed with emotion." At the foot of the bed she stood "in silent, awe-stricken wonder," marveling that so rugged a man could be so moved. "I shall never forget those solemn moments -- genius and greatness weeping over love's idol lost." President Lincoln then walked down the hall to his secretary's office. He startled the half-dozing secretary with the news: "Well, Nicolay, my boy is gone -- he is actually gone!" John Nicolay recalled seeing his boss burst into tears before entering his own office....

After President Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, Willie's coffin was removed and placed on the funeral train. Both father and son are permanently buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Willie's death left deep marks on the Lincoln family. Elizabeth Keckly said Mary "was an altered woman.... she never crossed the threshhold of the Guest's Room in which he died, or the Green Room in which he was embalmed."

The artist Alban Jasper Conant noticed something different about Lincoln following Willie's death, saying, "ever after there was a new quality in his demeanor -- something approaching awe. I sat in the fifth pew behind him every Sunday in Dr. Gurley's church, and I saw him on many occasions, marking the change in him." John Hay, another White House secretary, wrote that the president "was profoundly moved by his death, though he gave no outward sign of his trouble, but kept about his work the same as ever. His bereaved heart seemed afterwards to pour out its fulness on his youngest child." On the day President Lincoln was assassinated, he told Mary, "We must both be more cheerful in the future. Between the war and the loss of our darling Willie we have been very miserable."

watch PRESIDENT KENNEDY IN IRELAND (New Ross, County Wexford, Kennedy Homestead)

watch KENNEDY'S HISTORIC TRIP TO IRELAND, JUNE 26-29, 1963 (THE BIRTHPLACE OF HIS ANCESTORS), 1993 documentary (...He was overwhelmed by the was from the time he stepped off that plane -- it was love at first sight -- he fell in love with Ireland more and more after four days -- and the Irish people fell in love with him. We talked about it, riding home in the plane -- we talked about it that summer out in the boat in July and August relaxing. Jackie didn't make the trip -- and everytime we were together he'd say, "Tell Jackie more about Ireland, how the nuns were dancing on the street, and about the wonderful Irish ladies holding up rosary beads and saying "God Bless you" and the men with children on their shoulders". You know, it was such a proud day because he was one of theirs and he knew it and they knew it....


*photos scanned from books:
THE JOHN F KENNEDYS: A FAMILY ALBUM, Mark Shaw, Personal Photographer, 1964
THE KENNEDY YEARS, New York Times, Viking Press, 1964
JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY...AS WE REMEMBER HIM, family/friends/intimate associates, Columbia Records, 1965
LIFE IN CAMELOT, Little/Brown/Time Inc, 1988
JACKIE'S TREASURES: THE FABLED OBJECTS, Dianne Condon, Cader Books, 1996
THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE, Carl Anthony, Touchstone Books, 2002
JOHN F KENNEDY BIOGRAPHY, Joyce Milton, AE/DK Publishing, 2003
JFK & JACKIE: UNSEEN ARCHIVES, Tim Hill, Parragon Publishing, 2003


Jackie Jura
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