Triangle Pays Tribute to John F. Kennedy Jr.
Posted July 22, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh held a service for John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren Bessette. The service, for all denominations, was held at Sacred Heart Cathedral Friday morning.
People of different backgrounds and races arrived from different cities to honor a man most of them have never met. Most of the standing-room-only crowd felt they knew him, though.
"I'm old enough that I remember the funeral vividly, when President Kennedy was buried, and I remember John John standing there and saluting," says Seth Hawkins. "It was one of the most touching things I've ever seen in my life."
Hawkins feels he has known the younger Kennedy his entire life. He showed up in church to pay respect to the entire family.
"The Kennedy family is historic," Hawkins says. "Whether you like them or not, they're a historic family in this country."
Prayers and songs are helping Triangle residents say their last goodbyes. They are relying on faith, the same way the Kennedys have relied on it for generations.
"His whole family, in general, represents a real commitment to faith," says mourner Christine Harrison, "something that we have sort of wavered away from."
"When something like this happens, and gets the publicity that it does, it makes the rest of us stop and look at our own lives and what helps us get through that: prayer, friends, church, whatever it might be," says Father Tim O'Conner.
Church leaders hope the service will provide some closure.