Red Roses For Jackie Kennedy

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the day that for ever changed America. The day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated set in place a new course of events that has forever marked the American landscape and continues to touch our lives to this day.

It is no wonder that roses have been markedly present during the events of that day. After all, roses are meant to bring joy. Joy to the giver and to the receiver. Roses are present as an act of kindness and generosity to bring a little extra beauty and charm and grace to the world. I think the same can be said of the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. All throughout her husband’s administration, she seemed to be on a mission to restore the beauty and grace of the White House and the diplomatic reputation of the nation. An unlikely political wife in many respects, having very refined sensibilities and a great love of privacy no one though she would make much of a contribution. She proved them all wrong…..

In all the photos of the period that I have seen, we see Mrs. Kennedy immaculately dressed, getting off planes, trains and inevitably, being presented with roses as a symbol of welcome and hospitality….

credit: Kennedy Archives

credit: Kennedy Archives

That fateful day in Dallas was no different. In fact, everywhere they went in Texas Mrs. Kennedy was presented with beautiful bouquets of yellow roses. In Dallas, Elizabeth Cabell, wife of the Mayor of Dallas presented Mrs. Kennedy with a bouquet of red roses. Which by the way, she thought was odd, having been given yellow roses all along the way….. How stunning they looked alongside her watermelon pink suit.

credit: Kennedy Archive

credit: Kennedy Archive

Little did she know she would carry them to the end of Camelot.  They rode in the car on her lap as she smiled and waved to the crowds that day. They sat on her lap as an assassins bullet took the life of her husband along with the dreams and innocence of a nation.

Jackie Quote

At least two roses from the bouquet have survived. Dallas police Chief Jesse Curry removed two of the blooms from the blood soaked car and took them home. His daughter still has them still…….more

In life and in death, witnessing our triumphs and failures, roses are so much a part of our lives……

Thank you Mrs. Kennedy for setting the standard of dignity and elegance in this country that we still strive to uphold to this day…..


About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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5 Responses to Red Roses For Jackie Kennedy

  1. Pingback: Red Roses For Jackie Kennedy | All Things Rose ...

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  3. roseman7stan says:

    The video tribute is excellent along with your article Chris. I can still hear his voice in some of the most awesome speeches. A sad and world changing day that was…


  4. Pingback: Red Roses For Jackie Kennedy | Marie Abanga's Blog

  5. Brandon Wolf says:

    After all these years, finally the answer as to why the roses were red.

    “They were Baccara roses, a hybrid tea variety introduced in 1954 by French grower Francis Meilland, which became popular for cutting, Keffer said. One variant of the deep red rose was named Jacqueline.”


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