Patrick, the forgotten Kennedy, at 60

It is the denial of potential which knaws, and in this landmark year for JFK a thought for Patrick, the forgotten Kennedy, at 60.

Patrick Bouvier Kennedy is for the most part a footnote in the Kennedy family history presented to the world.

But for Caroline, the last remaining child of President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, he was her kid brother.

View of Washington: From Arlington

Who, alas, survived but two days in the August of 1963.

But has rested in peace for 60 more alongside his father, mother and uncles in the family plot in Arlington Cemetery.

And it is Patrick’s little headstone where my eye is averted and the dates August 7, 1963 – August 9, 1963.

On my visit to the Kennedy graveside in Virginia.

Because of the proximity of his gravestone to his parents and that of his passing and his father.

A double grief

The Eternal Flame: JFK and the flame

For me, and maybe others who care to absorb that JFK’s passing was a whole family’s loss, Patrick’s little headstone is also instructive.

As it reminds us that Jackie Kennedy was at the time of John’s death still in grief for the loss of her son barely three and a half months prior.

We can only speculate that it played a part in the decision for her to accompany JFK on his November visit to Dallas.

A day in Dallas: The ill-fated journey

To garner support for the 1964 Presidential race.

We can say too that privately JFK might have persuaded his wife that the trip, with its attendant fanfare and social networking, might help her grief process.

In truth, it proved to be so, judging by the outpouring of love for the First Lady from the public and from the luminaries.

The First Couple

Jackie and Jack: The Kennedys

With this being a First Couple visit to Texas we are told that it had a sense of Hollywood about it.

And that this informed the decision for JFK and Jackie to make themselves so accessible to their fellow Americans and employ an open-roof car.

Without his wife, we can imagine the visit would have been more businesslike and he’d have had the hood down on Dealey Plaza.

Because in the President’s own words at the business brunch that day, November 22, on waiting for his wife he opined:

‘Nobody wants to see what myself or Lyndon (VP Johnson) is wearing.’

Of course, the rest as they say is history.

And so when we reflect and mark six decades since JFK’s assassination later this month.

The family plot

Speaking out: Kennedy

We might also ponder on Patrick, the forgotten Kennedy, at 60.

And who he might have been today.

And that those thoughts might not just be for now.

But when you stand at the Kennedy family plot in Arlington Cemetery.




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