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Presidents day, Movie Monday, and Grief in the White House.

Throughout history we’ve always looked to our Presidents in times of a national tragedy, to help us mourn those lost. But loss has also come from within the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. In commemoration of President’s day and on this Movie Monday, we feature three films that bring to light the grief that some presidents and first ladies have had to endure, due to the loss of a spouse or child.

The first is ‘The President’s Lady’. In this film Andrew Jackson’s wife dies before her husband’s inaugural. At the end of the film, we watch as Jackson grieves over the loss of his beloved spouse. In one of those scenes, a reviewer describes Jackson’s bittersweet actions like this: “Having become the leader of his young nation, and looking at the miniature portrait of his dead wife… he mentally talks to her about how they have arrived”.
The next movie is Spielberg’s “Lincoln” In this movie we witness both the loss of a child and the loss of a spouse. In one scene Mary, Lincoln’s wife, is discovered by Lincoln sitting on the bed of their dead son. With Lincoln now at her side they begin to discuss her grief, and recollect how he died during a White House reception. In a later scene, comes the shooting of Lincoln while attending a performance. The scene then cuts to a dying President laying on a bed in a house near Ford’s Theatre where he was shot. Members of the government and the president’s family gather around him as he dies at 7:22 am.
Finally ‘Letters to Jackie’, a Documentary, tells the tragic Kennedy story of the loss of her infant son and her husband through a hand-picked sampling of the 1.5 million condolence letters Jackie received after her husband’s death. The film, directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Bill Couturie, has each letter read by a different actor. It was touching to watch the reactions from Jackie, as well as to listen to the outpouring of a grieving nation. An ABC article is quoted as saying “You could actually see the teardrops on some of these letters, some 50 years later, and the handwriting, all of that was really revealing,”
These three movies are just a few of the many instances where Presidents and their spouses were stricken with personal grief. Not even the White House walls could protect them from that.
See Movie reviews below:
‘The President’s Lady’
Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

‘Letters to Jackie’
Rotten Tomatoes

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