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The Mysterious Sea

A quote came to mind Thursday as I watched the remains of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren go down into the cold waters of the Atlantic.

"The sea never changes. And its works, for all the talk of men, are wrapped in mystery," Joseph Conrad writes in Typhoon.

The sea holds the mystery of how young John and his passengers died - not only how they died, but what it was really like during those last few terrible moments of their lives.

And the sea will hold that mystery forever.

After watching the burial at sea, our attention turned to the church of St. Thomas More - a small Catholic church on Manhattan's East Side - the site of a private mass for mourners of the Kennedy and the Bessette families.

It's a beautiful, yet small church. Intimate and quiet, it is a place where the neighborhood congregates to worship. Jackie Kennedy chose to worship here because she loved its privacy and intimacy, and she brought up her children worshipping here as well.

On the sidewalks of New York City, Thursday was a torrid, sweltering day, with only enough sprinkled rain to make it very humid. Crowds ebbed and flowed in front of the little church, where flowers and poems line the fence.

Appropriate, it seems, as one absorbs the scene. A reporter's thoughts go back to the burial at sea - and how the sea's mighty mysteries have soaked up the remains of three young lives.

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