JBKO Funeral Service

Research by Steven L. Brawley

Jackie's Funeral Service and Burial

Order of Service

St. Ignatius Loyola Church, New York City

May 23, 1994

  • Musical Prelude: Faure Requiem; Suite, Opus 5-Maurice Durufle; Two monets-Maurice Durufle; "Blessed is the Man Who Lives Rightly"- Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Processional Hymn: "We Gather Together"
  • Funeral Readings and Song:
  • Isaiah 25: 6A, 7-9 (New American Bible) - John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Responsorial Psalm: 23rd Psalm (King James Version) - Jane Hitchcock
  • Revelation 21: I-5A, 6B-7 (New American Bible) - Mike Nichols
  • Gospel: John 14: I-8 - Father Walter F. Modrys, S.J.
  • Homily: "Ithaka" by C.P. Cavafy - Maurice Tempelsman
  • Prayer of the Faithful - responsorial prayer with readings by Nancy Tuckerman, Sydney Lawford McKelvy, Anna Christina Radziwill, Edwin Schlossberg
  • "Memory of Cape Cod" by Edna St. Vincent Millay - Caroline Kennedy
  • Eulogy by Senator Edward M. Kennedy
  • Offertory Song: "Panis Angelicus" by Cesar Franck - Jessye Norman
  • Communion Song: "Ave Maria" by Franz Shubert - Jessye Norman
  • Recessional: "America the Beautiful" by Katharine L. Bates

Eulogy by Edward M. Kennedy

Last summer, when we were on the upper deck of the boat at the vineyard, waiting for President and Mrs. Clinton to arrive, Jackie turned to me and said, ``Teddy, you go down and greet the President.'' I said, ``Maurice is already there.'' And Jackie answered: ``Teddy, you do it. Maurice isn't running for re-election.''

She was always there, for all our family, in her special way. She was a blessing to us and to the Nation, and a lesson to the world on how to do things right, how to be a mother, how to appreciate history, how to be courageous. No one else looked like her, spoke like her, wrote like her, or was so original in the way she did things. No one we knew ever had a better sense of self.

Eight months before she married Jack, they went together to President Eisenhower's inaugural ball. Jackie said later that that's where they decided they liked inaugurations. No one ever gave more meaning to the title of First Lady. The Nation's capital city looks as it does because of her. She saved Lafayette Square and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Jackie brought the greatest artists to the White House, and brought the arts to the center of national attention. Today, in large part because of her inspiration and vision, the arts are an abiding part of national policy.

President Kennedy took such delight in her brilliance and her spirit. At a White House dinner, he once leaned over and told the wife of the French Ambassador: ``Jackie speaks fluent French. But I only understand one out of every five words she says--and that word is `de Gaulle.' ''

And then, during those four endless days in 1963, she held us together as a family and a country. In large part because of her, we could grieve and then go on. She lifted us up, and in the doubt and darkness, she gave her fellow citizens back their pride as Americans. She was then 34 years old.

Afterward, as the eternal flame she lit flickered in the autumn of Arlington Cemetery, Jackie went on to do what she most wanted--to raise Caroline and John, and warm her family's life and that of all the Kennedys. Robert Kennedy sustained her, and she helped make it possible for Bobby to continue. She kept Jack's memory alive, as she carried Jack's mission on.

Her two children turned out to be extraordinary, honest, unspoiled and with a character equal to hers. And she did it in the most trying of circumstances. They are her two miracles. Her love for Caroline and John was deep and unqualified. She reveled in their accomplishments, she hurt with their sorrows, and she felt sheer joy and delight spending time with them. At the mere mention of their names, Jackie's eyes would shine brighter and her smile would grow bigger.

She once said that if you ``bungle raising your children nothing else much matters in life.'' She didn't bungle. Once again, she showed how to do the most important thing of all, and do it right. When she went to work, Jackie became a respected professional in the world of publishing. And because of her, remarkable books came to life. She searched out new authors and ideas. She was interested in everything.

Her love of history became a devotion to historic preservation. You knew, when Jackie joined the cause to save a building in Manhattan, the bulldozers might as well turn around and go home. She had a wonderful sense of humor--a way of focusing on someone with total attention--and a little girl delight in who they were and what they were saying. It was a gift of herself that she gave to others. And in spite of all her heartache and loss, she never faltered.

I often think of what she said about Jack in December after he died: ``They made him a legend, when he would have preferred to be a man.'' Jackie would have preferred to be just herself, but the world insisted that she be a legend, too.

She never wanted public notice--in part I think, because it brought back painful memories of an unbearable sorrow, endured in the glare of a million lights. In all the years since then, her genuineness and depth of character continued to shine through the privacy and reach people everywhere. Jackie was too young to be a widow in 1963, and too young to die now.

Her grandchildren were bringing new joy to her life, a joy that illuminated her face whenever you saw them together. Whether it was taking Rose and Tatiana for an ice cream cone, or taking a walk in Central Park with little Jack as she did last Sunday, she relished being Grand Jackie and showering her grandchildren with love.

At the end, she worried more about us than herself. She let her family and friends know she was thinking of them. How cherished were those wonderful notes in her distinctive hand on her powder blue stationery.

In truth, she did everything she could, and more, for each of us. She made a rare and noble contribution to the American spirit. But for us, most of all she was a magnificent wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She graced our history. And for those of us who knew and loved her, she graced our lives.

Poem Reading by Caroline Kennedy 

The poem I'm going to read comes from a book my mother kept on a special bookshelf in her room. The front of the book reads `Marie McKinney Memorial Award in Literature, First Prize.'' Presented to Jacqueline Bouvier, June 1946. And the poem is called ``Memory of Cape Cod'' by Edna St. Vincent Millay. 

The wind in the ash tree sounds like surf on the shore at Truro.

I will shut my eyes.

Hush. Be still with your silly pleading sheep on Shilling Stone Hill.

They said, come along.

They said, leave your pebbles on the sand and come along.

It's long after sunset.

The mosquitoes will be thick in the pine woods along by Long Neck.

The winds died down. They said, leave your pebbles on the sand and your shells too and come along.

We'll find you another beach like the beach at Truro.

Let me listen to the wind in the ash. It sounds like the surf on the shore.

Reading by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. 

Before reading a passage from the Book of Isaiah, he said that in choosing the readings for the service, ``we struggled to find ones that captured my mother's essence.'' He said three attributes came to mind. ``They were the love of words, the bonds of home and family, and her spirit of adventure.''

Reading by Maurice Templesman 

``Ithaka'' By C.P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one,full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon--don't be afraid of them:

you'll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon--you won't encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in

front of you. Hope the voyage is a long one. May there be many a summer

morning when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors seen for the

first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading station to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind--

as many sensual perfumes as you can, and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you

reach the island, wealth with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her, you would not have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor,

Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. 

Then, he concluded with his own words:

``And now the journey is over, too short, alas, too short.  It was filled with adventure and wisdom, laughter and love, gallantry and grace. So farewell, farewell.''

Order of Service at Arlington National Cemetery

May 23, 1994

  • Introduction: by Reverend Philip M. Hannan
  • Eulogy by President William J. Clinton
  • Readings and Song:
  • I Thessalonians 4: 13-18 (King James Version) - John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 121 (King James Version) - Caroline Kennedy
  • Recitation of the Lord's Prayer
  • Final Prayer and Benediction - Reverend Philip M. Hannan
  • Responsory
  • Hymn: "Eternal Father" by John B. Dykes - U.S. Navy Sea Chanters

Eulogy by President William J. Clinton

We are joined here today at the site of the eternal flame, lit by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 31 years ago, to bid farewell to this remarkable woman whose life will forever glow in the lives of her fellow Americans.

Whether she was soothing a nation grieving for a former President, or raising the children with the care and the privacy they deserve, or simply being a good friend, she seemed always to do the right thing in the right way.

She taught us by example about the beauty of art, the meaning of culture, the lessons of history, the power of personal courage, the nobility of public service and, most of all, the sanctity of family. God gave her very great gifts and imposed upon her great burdens. She bore them all with dignity and grace and uncommon common sense. In the end, she cared most about being a good mother to her children, and the lives of Caroline and John leave no doubt that she was that and more.

Hillary and I are especially grateful that she took so much time to talk about the importance of raising children away from the public eye, and we will always remember the wonderful, happy times we shared together last summer.

With admiration, love and gratitude, for the inspiration and the dreams she gave to all of us, we say goodbye to Jackie today.

May the flame she lit so long ago, burn ever brighter here and always brighter in our hearts.

God bless you friend, and farewell.

Sources: U.S. Senate Document 103-32 and JFK Library.

Copyright Steven L. Brawley, 2002-2015. All Rights Reserved.