JFK Memorial Service, 1963-11-25
[speaker]: When the procession gets back to the white house, then the heads of many, many foreign lands dignitaries paying a sad, but honorable call to this country from throughout the 4 corners and the edges of the world. Men who will go down through history remembering in their own personal lives, his duty and honor said so sadly befell them today, will be the man who bore the president's casket out of Capitol Hill just a few moments ago.
For the Army, they were Sergeant James Felder of Sumter, South Carolina, Specialist Fourth Class Douglas Mayfield of San Diego. Representing the Navy, Seaman Hubert Clark of New York City and Seaman Larry Smith of Ransom, Kentucky. For the Marines, Lance Corporal Timothy Cheek of Ocala, Florida, Private first Class Jerry Diamond at Stow, Ohio. For the Air Force, Staff Sergeant Richard Gadro of Ashby, Massachusetts. For the Coast Guard, Yeoman Second Class George Barnam of s- Lake City, Minnesota. And in command, Army First Lieutenant Samuel Burd of Wichita, Kansas. Now the procession
moves along Pennsylvania Avenue. [new speaker]: From Riverside Church, WRVR brings you a memorial service for our late President John F. Kennedy. Participating in this service will be Eugene Laubach, minister of Christian education and Jesse Lyons, pastro minister. [organ]
[organ continues] [organ] [organ] [organ] [organ] [speaker]: In this service,
we honor the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of our country. Cut off in the prime of his life without compassion or mercy. He was a man who understood the power of words used, he used them and loved them. So we will use words to honor him today. The words of testimony which have come to us from men of all ages, about the faithfulness of God. He was a lover of fine music too and so we will use music in this service. We will let it come to us and speak to us its message of faith and affirmation. And because this was a man who gave a place of honor in his life to faith and to worship, we shall together enter into periods of prayer and guided meditation. And thus, in this service we
will honor his memory. Let us worship God by the singing of hymn number 1. [hymn begins]
[hymn continues] [hymn] [speaker]: In- stinctively and in- tuitively, inevitably we turn to the scriptures. When you find your place for psalm 90, responsive reading page 529. [clears throat]
We will read this together after the scripture sentences by the minister. Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth on me though he were dead, yet shall he live and he that liveth and believeth on me, shall never die. The lord is my light in my salvation whom shall I fear. The lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid. The righteous live forever and the care of them is with the most high with his right hand shall he lead them and with his arm shall he shield them.
Lord, though hast been our dwelling place in all generations. it's Thou turnist man back to the dust and say us turn back, oh children of men. Thou does to sweep men away, they are like a dream, like grass which is renewed in the morning. For we are consumed by thy anger, by thy wrath, we are overwhelmed. you
For all our days pass away under thy wrath, our years come to an end like a sigh. the pittsburgh Who considers the power of thy anger and I wrath according to the fear of thee. Return, oh lord, how long. Have pity on thy servants. Make us glad as many days as thou has to flick the dust and as many years as
we have seen evil. Let the favor of the lord our God be upon us and establish thou the work of our hands upon us. Let us pray together. Eternal God, lord of life and death, we acknowledge thee in all our ways and in all the events that befall us. In sorrow of heart but in quietness and confidence of faith, we have gathered for these last offices of love and respect. Lift us, above
the shadow of mortality, into the light of thy presence. Speak to each of us the word of peace that even in the presence of death we may worship thee and living may put our whole trust in thee who art are strength and our redeemer through Jesus Christ our lord, who taught us when we pray to say, our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debters and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us
from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory forever. Amen. the position requests [speaker]: When a person old and full of years slips to a quiet death, it is not hard to take comfort in the mercy of God who has called a loved one to his rest. But when a tragedy cuts down one young and full of promise, whose life has not fully been lived, we are stunned by the waste. By the irrationality of it all. It is particularly hard today because for most of us, John Fitzgerald Kennedy had become more than just an honored leader. He had become almost the symbol
of the modern American ideal. He was the image of the successful 20th century man. His ancestors had come as immigrants to America and by their skill and their initiative and their drive, they had won a place of honor and position. Mr. Kennedy through his skills and his energy had become a leader in his party. He had become an important power in the American political scene. He was a man of culture interested in the arts without apologizing for his tastes. He was a man of action filled with restless energy that drove him to accomplish fantastic piles of work. He was a man capable of making high decisions and living within their consequences. He was a man who knew the meaning of power. Who knew how and when to use it. He knew when to request
and he also knew when to demand. And in all of this, he was a man who treasured the family ties, home and family and he never lost sight of these values. And for many of us who looked, it seemed that here was the image of the idealized man of our time, the man of the 20th century. It is this I believe that makes it so hard for us to accept the fact that he has been killed so suddenly. Everywhere there was a stunned silence and an unbelief. People's minds could hardly grasp that this could happen to an heroic figure. It was almost as if something within us had been cut down. As if some portion of us had been shut off. Almost as if we too had in some strange way also been attacked.
We realized perhaps for the first time how deeply many of us identified with Mr. Kennedy and with his family. And suddenly in the midst of life, we experienced the meaning of death and it made us sober and it made us ask questions, and listen for answers. [speaker]: The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made
lull. The crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plane. And the glory of the lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the lord, hath spoken it, the voice and cry and I said what shall I cry? All flesh is grass and all the goodliness there of is as a flower that that is in the field. The grass whithereth, the flower fadeth because the spirit of the lord bloweth upon it. Surely the
people is grass. And the voice replied, the grass whithereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever. Lift up your eye on high and behold he who hath created us, that bringeth out their host by number and calleth them by names, by the greatness of his might for he is strong in power and not one faileth. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd. He shall gather the lambs in his arm and carry them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young.
Hast thou not known. Hast thou not heard. the everlasting God the lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not. Niether is weary, there is no searching of his understanding. [organ]
[speaker]: Many people have asked both with their lips and with their hearts, why did this tragedy happen? What was it that could cause a man to do something like this? Many have blamed the unrest of our times. The great social upheavals that are causing violence in all parts of the world. Others of us have looked at ourselves and found part of the answer there. We have discovered that inside ourselves, we can find the seeds of such violence and such destruction. We know what this hatred can be because we have discovered the hate that is in us as well. We are uncomfortable with such violence because we see the violence in ourselves, in our thoughts and perhaps in our actions day by day. We know
how prone we are to attack others if only with words for censure or criticism. We know how much we act out of fear and frustration. We know how much we have fallen short of the image of God. And we are penitent. to end [speaker]: Our prayer of confession is in your hands on page 505. Prayer at the top of the page, number 18.
Let us pray together. Remain bound for a moment of silent prayer and for a prayer of pardon. Let us pray. Almighty and most merciful father, we have erred and strayed from the highways like a lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. But thou oh lord have mercy upon us. Spare thou those oh God who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus, our lord. And grant oh most merciful father for his sake, that we may
hereafter live a godly, righteous and sober life to the glory of thy holy name. Amen. as Oh lord we besieged thee. Absolve thy people from their offenses. That through thy bountiful goodness, we may be delivered from the bonds of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this oh heavenly father,
for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. [speaker]: We remember John Fitzgerald Kennedy and we remember the tragedy of his death. It is well to remind ourselves why it is we see this death as a tragedy. It is not because it is a violent death. For the papers are full of these and they are not called tragedies in the same sense. A death is a tragedy because of the quality of life that has been lived. It is the living, not that dying, that puts meaning into the life of a man. This is as true for us, as it was for John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
At Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln pleaded with his country to act in such a way that these hollow dead shall not have died in vain. These are words that are as valid today, as the day Mr. Lincoln spoke them. John Fitzgerald Kennedy has given what he could, his life. It is the Christian affirmation that God in his eternal working out of his purposes, can use that life and that death to create something of meaning and value. Within those purposes, if that death is not in vain, then all of us are called upon to use the tragedy for some positive end. All of us are called to act in such a way that for each of
us, something shall be brought to pass that would not otherwise have been possible. I think the Congress of the United States will be making this effort. That they will experience from this moment a new willingness to work together without compromising their individual integrity to try to work together so that this death may not have been in vain. For each one of us, there comes this same personal imperative to turn our personal sorrow into constructive action. I don't know what that constructive action would be for each of you. We could determine that we would work with more abounding energy for some cause of peace or brotherhood. We could determine that we could be more
responsible as neighbors or as citizens. We could decide that here and now we would seek to root out of our lives that which is narrow and limiting and vindictive. We could hear vow that we could seek in every relationship to bring about that which is healing and supporting. In this service, we honor the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and in this moment of silence we stand in awe before the meaning of life and death. We stand at the beginning of a new era in our nation's life and perhaps in each person a life. In this moment of silence, will you ask yourself what you will do. What you will be.
That will mean that the death of the man whom we honor today, shall not have been in vain. Let us pray. [organ] [organ continues]
Almighty God our heavenly father, who's nature it is both to bless and to heal, in every age our fathers have experienced thy mercies and born witness to thy power to save. Thou art our refuge and strength and without thee we are not able to stand against the storms of life. Grant us in this hour that we may be enabled to put our whole trust in thee. That our spirits may grow calm and our hearts be comforted. We pray thy tender love upon the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, whom we this day commit to thy loving care. We thank thee for what he has meant to our nation and our world. And for those
qualities of his leadership that have brought us nearer to peace and brotherhood, we are grateful for those things about him which have been an inspiration to all. His courage, his determination, his eagerness to serve his country. Inspire us oh lord that we too may become servants. Oh God of infinite compassion, look down in tender love and pity upon this family circle now broken by death. Pour out thy love upon them. Be their stay, their strength and their shield. That they may know thy presence near them and that thy grace may deliver them out of all their distress.
We pray, oh father for our nation. As thou ?inaudible? thy chosen people through trials into the promised land, solo lord do thou lead us through dissension and division into new cooperation and new trust. Deliver our country from dishonesty and corruption. Help our leaders to be less concerned with personal triumph and prestige and to be more concerned with freedom, justice and the rights of all. We pray for the new president of the United States and for the heavy demands which are now laid upon him. Give him strength to help our nation move forward. Raise those who will work with him above petty selfishness and political preferment
into new heights of responsibility. May our president and all who work with him know who's ministers they are, that they may work for thy honor and thy glory in all that we do. We pray for all of us who are gathered here in humility and respect. We acknowledge the frailty and uncertainty of our lives. Waken in each of us the claims of thy holy will. For we know not what the morrow may bring, but only that the hour for serving thee is now at hand. Lift us above unrighteous anger to faith and hope that grow from a firm trust in thy holy will. Remind us
again of thy son whom thou hast raised from the dead. And of th- y promisess fulfilled in him which are made to all who love and serve thee. In all things draw us into the mind of christ. That thy lost image may be traced again in us and in all men. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our lord. Amen. May we sing together hymn number 43- 9. [hymn begins]
[hymn continues] [speaker]: We know who we have believed. We are persuaded that he is able to keep that which we commit to him, against any day. May the grace of the lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, fellowship of the holy spirit, the be with you all forever more. Amen. [organ begins]
- JFK Memorial Service, 1963-11-25
- Producing Organization
- WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
- Contributing Organization
- The Riverside Church (New York, New York)
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- Program Description
- A memorial service for John F. Kennedy performed at Riverside Church.
- Recorded at Riverside
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Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
Publisher: WRVR (Radio Station : New York, N.Y.)
Speaker: Laubach, Eugene E.
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The Riverside Church
Identifier: cpb-aacip-10ac12df1dc (Filename)
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- Chicago: “JFK Memorial Service, 1963-11-25,” 1963-11-25, The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 2, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-528-jw86h4f07q.
- MLA: “JFK Memorial Service, 1963-11-25.” 1963-11-25. The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 2, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-528-jw86h4f07q>.
- APA: JFK Memorial Service, 1963-11-25. Boston, MA: The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-528-jw86h4f07q