He came to the Lone Star State as the leader of all 50 states. He came as the man who had finished first in America’s second-largest city. He came to Dallas in 1963 as he had come to Chicago in 1960, like a bronze warrior for peace.
He left as the first president to have been killed in 62 years. He left as the last president to die in office, not by an act of God but by the will of a lone gunman.
He was laid to rest in a hillside grave, beside an eternal flame, equidistant to a monument in honor of the father of our country and a memorial for the savior of freedom.
With respect toward Washington, with reverence for Lincoln, lies a profile in courage.
His name is John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
As his brother Ted said of their brother Robert, let us say the same for Jack: He saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
The world saw the best of America in the aftermath of one of the worst days for America, when President Kennedy’s fellow Americans—men and women of every party and of almost every point of view—answered the call to service.
The mourners represented all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics.
They gave testimony to their loyalty by going forward together.
They praised the president’s widow and prayed for the wife of his successor.
They were former presidents; they were future presidents. They were members of the House; they were members of the Senate. They were Democrats; they were Republicans.
They heard the bugler’s call; they lived to hear the drum major’s summons to justice, peace, and righteousness.
They were Americans.