The Funeral and Procession

Published: 1963
ORIGINAL CAPTION: John F. Kennedy Jr., who turns three today, salutes as the casket of his father, the late President John F. Kennedy, is carried from St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, DC. (Stan Stearns/UPI)

Herbert Gordon: Less than two hours after President Kennedy died in Parkland Hospital, in the shocked city of Dallas, his body was placed aboard Air Force One, and flown home. It lay in repose in the black draped White House.

Outside, the skies sobbed softly. Then a tide of mourners poured slowly into Washington town. Presidents, Prime Ministers and Kings and people; just people who had learned to love him in such a terribly shot time. His body was taken to the Great Rotunda of the United States capital and lay in state.

Senate majority leader, Mike Mansfield, eulogized the young President. He told how Mrs. Kennedy, majestic in sorrow, had placed her wedding band in her husband's coffin.

Mike Mansfield: There was a sound of laughter, and in a moment it was no more. And so she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hands.

There was a wit in a man, neither young nor old, but a wit full of an old man’s wisdom and of a child’s wisdom, and then, in a moment it was no more. And so she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hands.

There was a man marked with the scars of his love of country, a body active with the surge of a life, far from spent, and in a moment, it was no more.

Herbert Gordon: The drums of death rolled across Pennsylvania Avenue. At St. Matthew's Cathedral, Richard Cardinal Cushing said mass for this first Roman Catholic President.

Richard Cardinal Cushing: [Pontifical Requiem Mass.]

Herbert Gordon: The black caisson was drawn by six white horses, a seventh was a guide. Behind the caisson pranced a black horse, its saddle empty, a pair of cavalry boots, pointed backwards, were in the stirrups. The march from St. Matthews to Arlington National Cemetery was lined with tears.

At Arlington, the ceremonies were poignant. A squad of rifleman fired the last volley. Taps rolled across the wooded hillside, where only a few weeks before the President had called it such a beautiful spot, he could stay there forever.


A saddened First Lady lighted an everlasting flame at his grave, and there we, the world buried John Fitzgerald Kennedy, born May 29th, 1917, died November 22nd, 1963, at 1 o'clock, on a Texas afternoon.