It was November 23, 1963 when Jacqueline B. Kennedy changed the bloodied clothes she was wearing – not November 22nd. In her early 30’s, the wife of American President John F. Kennedy had become a fashion icon around the world. Many women imitated the ‘Jackie look’ including her clothes, glasses and hairstyles. Styles come and go and people have long since moved on to newer fashions and current styles. But the Pink Chanel suit she wore to Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 is still remembered, talked about and the subject of news stories, even though so many years have slipped by.
The late Mrs. Kennedy Onassis’ two piece pink suit and the pillbox hat are not memorable in themselves. What makes them memorable is the person who wore the clothes and what happened the day she wore them.
President JFK had picked out the pink suit for her to wear to Dallas on that fatefully historic day. At 12:30pm, November 22nd, sitting in the back of the presidential limousine, shots were fired. President Kennedy slumped over on to Jackie’s knees. Lady Bird Johnson, who was traveling in the same motorcade looked back and recalled this: “I …. saw in the President’s car, a bundle of pink lying on the back seat. I think it was Mrs. Kennedy lying over her husband’s body.”
Later, in Lady Bird Johnson’s biography she wrote: “Mrs. Kennedy’s dress was stained with blood. One leg was almost entirely covered with it and her right glove was caked; it was caked with blood – her husband’s blood. Somehow that was one of the most poignant sights – that immaculate woman exquisitely dressed and caked in blood.”
The shocked and grieving 34 year old widow, wearing her pink blood-stained suit stood beside Lyndon B. Johnson as he was sworn into office as the 36th president of the United States. Flying back to Washington, people pressured the young grief-stricken Jackie to change her clothes. There was tension on the plane as people became more concerned about the widow’s appearance. Lady Bird Johnson advised her to change her blood stained clothes. Jackie’s mother counseled her to change but the widow refused. When the plane landed officials attempted to have her make a secret exit so reporters would not see the blood stained clothes. She refused. In fact, she refused all entreaties to change her clothes. She said: “I want them to see what they have done to Jack.”
Later that day Mrs. Kennedy stood in the East Room of the White House with her pink suit on. Her shoulders hung heavily. Smeared blood covered a leg and her gaze was fixed on the casket as it was lowered on to the catafalque. It wasn’t until the next day, November 23 that Mrs. Kennedy shed her bloodied clothes.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis died on May 19, 1994. Jackie Kennedy’s pink pill-box hat and white gloves have long since disappeared but the blood stained pink suit is stored in archives and will not be available for public display until 2063. That blood was precious blood to Mrs. Kennedy. It was the blood of her husband. Her blood caked suit was a horrific reminder that her husband tragically died at the hand of a gunman.
It was 2000 years ago when Jesus died just outside of Jerusalem. Christians today still fondly remember His precious blood. There was nothing unique about the chemical composition of His blood. What makes His blood eternally valuable and memorable is because of Who He was and is. God’s beloved Son. God in human flesh! His face was covered in blood. His cheeks were bruised and long, sharp thorns pierced deeply into His forehead. His back was whipped until it was a mass of torn bloodied flesh. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. A soldier pierced his side and blood and water gushed out to the ground below.
Jesus’ blood was shed voluntarily for our sins. There was no other way for our sins to be forgiven. The Bible tells us “Christ died for our sins.” 1Corinthians 15:3. “We have redemption (salvation, deliverance) through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14.
The Apostle John wrote: “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from ALL (every) sin.” 1John1:7. There is not one sin that cannot be washed away and cleaned from God’s record of your life. Isn’t that great news?
To every true, genuine, authentic Christian the blood of Christ is precious. I will be in heaven because of His precious blood. He died for me. What value do you place on His blood?
1. National Post, Nov. 22, 2003, Page SP7
3. The Holy Bible