Thousands turn out in Washington for Kennedy-Bessette memorial
July 25, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The huge Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation's capital was filled to overflowing Sunday for a Mass in memory of John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette.
Bishop William E. Lori, auxiliary bishop of Washington, described young Kennedy as a man of "easy grace and elegance," who was "a symbol of a generation coming into its own."
Church spokesmen said 4,500 people filled the church, which Lori called an unusually large gathering.
The bishop said the nation will mourn well into the future the loss of Kennedy and the Bessette sisters, "lives that were bright with promise and embedded in our national conscience."
Kennedy, his wife, Carolyn, and her sister Lauren were killed July 17 in a private plane crash off Martha's Vineyard.
"With easy grace and understated elegance," Kennedy "wore the mantle of his unique heritage," Lori said.
Lori praised Kennedy as gifted, charitable and humble, despite the media glare that followed him wherever he went.
Lori added that Carolyn and Lauren, "while not completely in the spotlight, were women of accomplishment in their own right, and their passing is mourned not only by those who knew them, but by millions of people the world over."
Celebrating the Mass in their honor, Lori prayed "eternal life" for Kennedy and the Bessettes.
Mayor Anthony Williams and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington's delegate to Congress, attended the Mass.
NTSB: JFK Jr.'s plane shows no in-flight break-up or fire
Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, MA, Cape Cod's Daily Newspaper
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