Fifty years on from the tragic day in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, some 800,000 letters of condolence sent to his grieving and furious widow will form the basis of a new TLC network movie.
Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy will air later this fall, exactly half a century after Kennedy's killing on November 22, 1963.
The film will explore the aftermath of the shooting and look at the former first lady's courage in helping the nation navigate its grief whilst she experienced her own.
Twenty award winning actors will read the letters including Zooey Deschanel, Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, Mark Ruffalo, Betty White and Michelle Williams.
The heartfelt words of ordinary Americans will be shown alongside never-before-seen home movies and photographs of the Kennedy family.
'Dear Mrs Kennedy, you and your family have our sorrow of the death of your husband, not only because he tried to help us as Negro but all so he was human,' wrote Mrs. Frank Borders of Shelby, North Caroline wrote.
'We loved your husband because he thought Negroes was Gods love and made us like he did white people and did not make us as dogs. Mrs. Kennedy we are praying for you and your family.'
Janis Hirsch of Trenton, New Jersey, offered the First Lady the following advice.
'Dear Mrs. Kennedy, I am only thirteen and I know you are well educated, but I still feel I could give you some advice. I have been operated on four times for polio and I am now recuperating from a broken hip, but I know you have problems too, so I'll tell you my remedy for smiling and happiness. Always sing You Gotta Have Heart from (the musical) Damn Yankee's and I think you'll be happy.'
According to the Daily Mail 45,000 cards, letters and telegrams arrived at the White House within three days of the shooting. Within seven weeks 800,000 had been received. Thousands more arrived arrived after that as the nation's stunned citizens wrote to the first lady about the man many of them felt they knew.
'I have grown up without a father. Last year the head man on my list, my grandfather, passed away. Since then your husband was the man I looked up to. I feel that I knew him,' student Nancy Ashburn of Beacon, New York wrote.
'As I write this letter I burst into tears, over the loss of a great man. His memory will last forever. Thank you for listening. P.S. I wish they would let me get my hands on the assassinator.'
Gabriele Gidion, a German-born Jew who settled in New York, wrote of the profound sense of loss she experienced when JFK was killed.
'Dear Mrs. Kennedy: Twenty-six years after escaping from Hitler — growing up in wartime China fleeing from Communism — watching my father's futile struggle against cancer — seeing my roommate killed in an automobile accident — all these I deemed adequate preparation for some of life's bitter moments. Yet NEVER, until last Friday, have I felt such a desperate sense of loss and loneliness.'
Here’s the movie for the TLC movie:
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