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Mrs. Kennedy Visits JFK’s Grave on St. Patrick’s Day

Mar. 17, 1964 - Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy placed a sprig of shamrock on her husband’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery today. She plucked the shamrock from her coat and placed it on the President’s resting place during a visit to the windy, sunswept hillside.

Mrs. Kennedy chose today, St. Patrick’s Day, as the “appropriate” time to acknowledge the messages of sympathy she received after her husband’s death. She mailed 900,000 black-bordered prayer cards and letters reading: “Mrs. Kennedy is deeply appreciative of your sympathy and grateful for your thoughtfulness.”

Nancy Tuckerman, Mrs. Kennedy’s social secretary, said the prayer cards were sent only to those who had requested them. Roman Catholics usually keep such cards in missals as a reminder to pray for the dead person during mass.

More than 1,000 letters a day still reach the White House for the Kennedy family. Some are for 6-year-old Caroline and her brother, John Jr., 3.

The Irish Ambassador, Thomas J. Kiernan (right), accompanied Mrs. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on today’s visit to the grave.

The Ambassador knelt near the plot to plant a cross of shamrocks and sod from Ireland. Earlier, he gave Mrs. Kennedy a Waterford crystal vase engraved with the image of Commodore John Barry, the American naval hero who was born in County Wexford, Ireland. President Kennedy visited Wexford, the home of his ancestors, last summer.


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