Frank V. Gardner
John Kennedy, Eternal Rest
Poem by Frank V. Gardner
The day John Kennedy was shot,
He bowed his wounded head...
His wife embraced him frantically,
Her lap, a martyr's bed.
Within the hour he was gone....
She kissed a last good-bye.
A world in dismal disbelief
Was heard, softly, to cry.
The final sacrifice she offered
Was her wedding band...
She took it from her finger,
And placed it in his hand.
So, thus began the journey home
For freedom's leader, slain....
Two children there would never see
Their dad alive again.
As line of march began to form,
With caisson, flag, and band,
His little girl brushed back a tear,
And held her mother's hand.
His little boy, three years that day,
Then gave one last salute,
As widow, throng, and nations joined
In wonderful tribute.
A million mourners lined the road;
And whispered last farewells,
As millions more around the world
Would hear the tolling bells.
His grave is 'cross the river now,
On Arlingtons' hillside,
Where burns a soft 'eternal flame, '
A symbol of our pride.
The crowds go there to meditate
On how they loved him best,
To pray that his immortal soul
May have eternal rest.
(Written at my home in Vienna, Virginia,
during the four days we mourned
President Kennedy's tragic death in November 1963.)
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