Within two months of JFK’s death, more than 800,000 Americans wrote letters to Jackie Kennedy. A new book from Ellen Fitzpatrick, Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation (Ecco), shares 250 of those letters, capturing the nation’s psyche after the tragedy.
A few excerpts follow:
January 12, 1964
Please allow me, a cab driver, to offer my condolences to you & your children.
The day this terrible thing happened — I think about 90% of the people of Denver cried a little bit — Everyone who got in my cab — People on the street — In the stores — patrons — clerks — cops — I saw people just standing on the corner— Just — Just unbelieving.
Well, I guess we can all shed tears — Mrs. Kennedy.
I might add — Since this tragic day I have heard so many comments on how well Mrs. Kennedy stood up under it all.
You have more strength than most of us American People! You are admired for this.
All I can say is — May God Bless you, “John John” & “Carolyn.”
My heart goes out to you all — !
Why! Why! I’m still asking myself why — ! God Bless You & Yours!
Miller A. Alley
University of Massachusetts
Dear Mrs. Kennedy:
I have never seen our football players cry. .. but today, they did.
Martin Rosenberg ’65
U of Mass
Dear Mrs. Kennedy,
I’m nobody special, just a student who, I’m afraid hasn’t seen a great deal of life.
But I’ve been told that if someone is in love and has been in love, he will have enough memories to last the rest of his life. It might be true.