Anniversary of Kennedy Crash Marked

Monday, July 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) — It was one year ago that a late night plane crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard killed one of America's favorite sons, and left an entire nation to grieve.

But the first anniversary of the deaths of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren Bessette, passed quietly as relatives and friends mourned in private.

``We don't need to be reminded or have a memorial,'' said Anne McGhee, a Harvard University professor who has a home on Martha's Vineyard. ``We just know.''

A small driftwood memorial was erected Sunday on the Vineyard's Philbin Beach, closest to the area where the plane went down July 16, 1999.

Aside from the wooden cross, bearing the names ``John, Carolyn and Lauren,'' little else was done to mark the anniversary.

No Kennedy fanatics camped out in front of the political family's compound in Barnstable's Hyannis Port section. No flowers were left on the stoop of the New York apartment where Kennedy lived.

``It's been very, very quiet,'' said Barnstable Police Officer James Ellis. ``We've had patrols out all week and we haven't had a problem yet.''

Ann Freeman, mother of Carolyn, 33, and Lauren, 34, released a statement from her home in Greenwich, Conn., last week saying the family would not mark the anniversary publicly.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., an uncle to Kennedy, 38, planned to spend the weekend at the family compound.

John Kennedy's single-engine Piper Saratoga fell into the waters late at night, seven miles south of the Kennedy home on Martha's Vineyard as he was flying from New Jersey to attend his cousin Rory Kennedy's wedding. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the crash was pilot error and said Kennedy likely became disoriented in the night sky.