Remembering JFK Jr.
Thursday will mark the 10-year anniversary of John F. Kennedy Jr’s death in a plane crash. We look back at a life cut short and think about what might have been
When John F. Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash on July 16, 1999, it was more than the death of a president’s son. It marked the loss of a man who, like Michael Jackson, had grown up before our eyes and become part of our collective memory.
Whether you recalled a 3-year-old John-John saluting his father’s coffin, or sighed over the shirtless hunkiness that led to him being named the Sexiest Man Alive long before Brad Pitt or Hugh Jackman, or were consumed by jealousy when he married the perfectly put-together Carolyn Bessette, you had to admit it – there was just something about the guy.
“People really loved him,” his friend Sasha Chermayeff told People magazine, adding that in the lead-up to his death at the age of 38, John was preparing to assume the mantle of the Kennedy legacy. “He was really poised for the next part of his life-and then he was gone.”
The New York Post reports that John was strongly considering a run in 2000 for the New York Senate seat occupied by the about-to-retire Daniel Patrick Moynihan. After John’s death, the spot was taken by Hillary Clinton.
It’s interesting, and more than a little sad, to ask the question What If? What if John hadn’t died in the plane crash, what if he’d won the New York Senate seat, what if instead of Hillary, it had been John Jr. running for the Democratic Presidential nomination against Barack Obama. Would we have seen another Kennedy in the White House?
During a public memorial held a week after John died, his uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, put it best: “We dared to think… that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But, like his father, he had every gift but length of years.”