A Sad Farewell

A brass quintet played the Navy hymn “Eternal Father” on Thursday as the ashes of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and her sister Lauren Bessette were committed to the sea about two miles from where Kennedy’s plane crashed a week ago today. Six clergy-members took turns reading scriptures and prayers at a podium on the stern of the ship, while members of the destroyer crew stood silently behind the mourners. A flag was lowered to half-mast as about 15 darkly-clad mourners, flanked by the sailors in dress whites, gathered on the ship’s fantail. The dead were returned to the sea, and three floral wreaths were tossed into the water to honor them.

  • Kennedy’s sister Caroline and mother-in-law Ann Freeman led the service, which was officiated by the Rev. Charles O’Byrne. Sen. Edward Kennedy and JFK Jr.’s cousins William Kennedy Smith and Maria Shriver were also on board. A Navy honor guard fired a rifle volley for the two women and for the young man who at age 3 saluted the casket of his assassinated father, President John F. Kennedy. Flags were presented to the families.
  • On Gay Head Beach, overlooking the spot where some wreckage was found along the Martha’s Vineyard shoreline, residents erected a 4-foot driftwood cross lashed together with wild grapevines. The names John-John, Carolyn and Lauren were etched into each arm of the cross.
  • For further coverage, including that of Friday’s memorial in New York, click here.
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