Jacqueline Kennedy's newly released candid recordings on Diane Sawyer Special

Roz Zurko's picture

Jacqueline Kennedy, the First Lady who captivated the world in the 1960’s and continued to do so until her death in 1994, is the subject of Diane Sawyer’s special on Tuesday night.

The name of Diane Sawyer's special is, “Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words,” and it is created around a set of unheard interview recordings from this First Lady, which were just recently released.

The recordings are very revealing about the type of woman Jacqueline was in her days in the White House as a young wife and mother, they are especially revealing on how much she loved her husband, the late President John. F. Kennedy. The recordings are released just as the new book, “Jacqueline Kennedy” Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” is due in the bookstores, according to RadarOnline,

The Kennedy Library had these interviews sealed. These were all recorded with Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. who was a White House Aide, but more importantly, a friend of the family. They were done just four months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The never-before-heard recordings reveal Jacqueline recalling how she pleaded with her late husband to stay close together during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said she wanted to be by his side during this tense time, with nuclear war a very real and scary possibility. She was very clear on what she wanted, saying if they were to die, she wanted them to all die together; she included her children in this conversation.

During the missile crisis, this gracious first lady pleaded with her husband not to send her and the children away. “I just want to be on the lawn when it happens -- you know -- but I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do too -- than live without you," Jacqueline can be heard saying on one of the segments of these interviews.

These recordings were done almost fifty years ago and they are as fascinating today as they would have been if released at the time they were recorded. Sawyer says one of the first striking things from these interviews is the way that Jacqueline pronounced her name. She did not pronounce it as the rest of the world did. She actually pronounced it exactly as it was spelled. Most people said her name as if it were “Jac-o-line,” while others called her “Jackie.”

Sawyer proceeded to pronounce her name the way the First Lady did saying, “after all, these are her interviews so let’s pronounce her name as she did.” Sawyer says she believes people will be stunned on what she had to say. “Jacqueline is brilliant, funny and at times an unsparing observer of human nature."

The interviews came about when the First Lady, or the former First Lady at the time, decided to make these tapes for an oral history project for America. Sawyer says that the tapes still have John F. Kennedy’s life, love and marriage fresh in Jacqueline’s heart, since these interviews were done only four months after his assassination and you will hear this come through on the interviews.

You get a glimpse of what life was really like at the White House. The everyday mundane occurrences, like when J.F.K.’s advisers had to go in and use the bathroom at the White House. Yes, this former first lady really talked about this in these very candid interviews for their time.

She talked about J.F.K.’s rituals in the morning, reading all the newspapers from around the country and before leaving, “he would come into my room,” she said, which sounds as if they had separate rooms in the White House. She went on to say that she would be half asleep as he would say good bye to her for the day before leaving to conduct presidential business.

Jacqueline gives a wonderful verbal portrait of her marriage on these tapes, with her Long Island accent very strong and precise as she speaks. This was just the beginning of a long and eventful life for the former First Lady, but she had no way of knowing this at the time.

She would go on to marry again, continue to be adored by the public, set fashion trends and stay in the headlines the rest of her days. She died in 1994 in her New York home after battling cancer.

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