It looks as though the little boy who saluted is lost. Adopted by the world at a funeral, the funeral, that day in 1963, he grew up into the handsome, adored, underachieving creature of the tabloids who, with a heaping portion of the Kennedy charm, blithely steered that over-scrutinized life into something pleasant. He founded a magazine, not a particularly brilliant one, and by all accounts has had a grand time running it. He dated actress Daryl Hannah and then married a model-like fashion-industry darling, and finally all the girls in New York had to stop daydreaming about catching his eye in a crowded restaurant. He did not seem destined for power, like Jack or Bobby or Teddy, and he did not seem to mind that a bit. Now he may have joined their legacy in another way, as a partner in the tragedy that is the chilling flip side of this family's status as American royalty. It seems it cannot skip a generation.
The most blessed and accursed family in American politics appears to have lost another of its shining stars. John F. Kennedy Jr. was just being a Kennedy on Friday night, jetting off to Martha's Vineyard in clear weather at the helm of his single-engine Piper Saratoga with his beautiful Carolyn at his side, bound for the wedding of his late uncle's daughter. He never arrived. On Sunday morning the U.S. Coast Guard continued its search for the plane in the waters off Martha's Vineyard, having found only bits of the plane and a piece of luggage bearing the name of Lauren Bessette, Carolyn's sister and the third passenger aboard. As time wore on, hopes diminished. Certainly no word has come to or from the waiting family; the wedding of Robert Kennedy's daughter Rory, scheduled for Saturday evening in Hyannisport, has been indefinitely postponed.