Yesterday I gave a brief book review at the Sherick, a residence for senior ladies, where I serve as one of the board members. This year as librarian, I get to choose books to read and recommend––books available in large print.
History I lived through as well as the recommendation of a fellow board member led me to read Mrs. Kennedy and Me, written by Clint Hill, the former Secret Service agent who for four years was assigned to protect Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of the 34th President of the United States. Timely.
Clint Hill is the agent in film footage and still shots seen jumping on the back of the president's limousine in Dallas, attempting to shield the First Lady.
An Infamous Date in History
An Insider's Story
Because Agent Hill accompanied the First Lady, almost like her shadow, once when Jackie asked, “Doesn’t anything ever impress you, Mr. Hill?” he writes,
I wanted to say, “You know what impresses me, Mrs. Kennedy? You. Everything you do impresses me. The way you handle yourself with such grace and dignity, without compromising your desire to enjoy life and have fun. You don’t even realize the impact you have, how much you are admired, how you just single-handedly created bonds between the United States and two strategic countries far better than any diplomats could have done. And you did it just by being curious and interested and sincere and gracious. Just by being yourself. No politics. No phoniness. Just you being you.” But I was there to do my job, and my job did not entail saying things like that to her. So all I said was, “I guess it takes a lot to impress me, Mrs. Kennedy.”
An Impressed ReaderAs a reader, this memoir impressed me for its candor as well as restraint. This book is no tantalizing, tell-all account of the inner-workings of the Kennedy family.
As a Secret Service agent willing to sacrifice his life for the person he was assigned to protect, Clint Hill, now 81-years-old, continues to protect the memory of Jackie Kennedy, a woman he not only admired but also grew to love.