From the Archive: Jackie Kennedy Letter

November 3, 2023

Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, people around the world mourned the fallen president. Many states, including Billy Graham’s home state of North Carolina, held their own memorial services to pay tribute.

Billy Graham with John F. Kennedy in 1961

Billy Graham gave the sermon at the service held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in May 1964, and following the event, he received a letter of thanks from John F. Kennedy’s wife, Jackie Kennedy. The letter reads:

Dear Dr. Graham:

I do want to thank you more than I can ever say, for all you did to make last Sunday – at Chapel Hill – such a memorable occasion.

Senator Kennedy has told me, in detail, of your moving tribute to the President, and I am certain your words were the greatest inspiration to all those present. It touched me deeply to hear your remarks – on how much our country benefited from all the President said and stood for – however, I do hope you can understand that such an emotional experience would have been too painful for me at this time.

I remember how much the President admired you, and your wish to perpetuate his memory comforts me beyond words. I shall never forget that you participated in this event, and always be grateful.


Jacqueline Kennedy

Billy Graham was an inspiration and support to many U.S. presidents and world leaders throughout the course of his ministry. You can find out more about how he became “Pastor to Presidents” in The Journey of Faith tour at the Billy Graham Library. Plan your visit today.

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