JFK had joked about “going to the theater” like Lincoln

B. Nash at Kennedy Head Sculpture, Mt. Clemens, Michigan

B. Nash at Kennedy Head Sculpture, Mt. Clemens, Michigan



There are several references to Abraham Lincoln in Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Kennedy. This was bound to happen, I guess, in any book written about John F. Kennedy- as there are so many parallels between Lincoln and JFK. Of course, that they both were assassinated while in office stands out as the greatest parallel between them. Apparently, Lincoln was in Kennedy’s thoughts shortly after the conclusion of the Cuban missile crisis. O’Reilly notes the following interesting tid-bit concerning Kennedy conversing with his brother Bobby:


“Now with the crisis successfully defused, John Fitzgerald Kennedy is elated. He sees a comparison between the successful outcome of the Cuban missile crisis and Abraham Lincoln’s stable leadership that brought about the end of the Civil War.

“Maybe this in the night I should go to the theater,” JFK jokes to Bobby, remembering that Lincoln attended a play as the war ended-only to be assassinated.


It is a bold joke, a playful joke at a fellow president’s murder, almost tempting fate. And it is out of character for John Kennedy, a man with echoes of Lincoln everywhere in his life: from sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom on the night of his inauguration, to having a secretary surnamed Lincoln, to being driven in a bubble-top convertible Lincoln Continental limousine. But after the nail-biting tension of the recent crisis, John Kennedy feels he is allowed a touch of black humor. Even such a morbid joke feels lighthearted after the darkness that has enveloped his life after these lat thirteen days and nights.” 



So there is the obvious irony in the account-Kennedy jokes about the Lincoln assassination-only to be assassinated himself a short time later. History is full of such odd twists and ironies. Thanks Mr. O. for this anecdote.




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