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Claudine Skeat’s Letter to Jackie Kennedy

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Claudine Skeats, a 45-year-old widow and secretary at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, met the Kennedys when they visited the base on November 21, 1963.
Photograph by Johnny Miller

Mrs. John F. Kennedy
White House
Washington, D.C. 

Dear Mrs. Kennedy,

You and President Kenney were in my office a week ago yesterday.

I am secretary to General Bedwell at Brooks Air Force Base, and I will forever be haunted by how handsome and healthy and happy you two looked – and how gracious you were to me. We loved you here at Brooks and feel your loss especially deeply.

You have every reason to be consumed with bitterness, but I hope you can find it in your heart not to be. I have learned through the years that you can live with sadness but you cannot live with bitterness. It destroys you and those dear to you. My husband, a B-29 pilot, was killed during World War II when I was three months pregnant with our first baby.

Everyone marvels at your courage. You are indeed worthy of being a President’s wife – and President Kennedy’s wife in particular. You make us all proud to be Americans.

May God be with you, my dear Mrs. Kennedy.

Very Sincerely,
Claudine R. Skeats
(Mrs. A. E. Skeats)

414 Burkdale Blvd.
San Antonio, Texas 78223
November 29, 1963

Read another letter to the first lady here.

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