On Nov. 22, 1963, three award-winning writers died: one in Dallas, one in Los Angeles and the other at his home just outside Oxford, England.
John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis all died within hours of each other.
All had been award-winning writers. However, when they died, they had become more than that, and, subsequent to Nov. 22, 1963, their lives gained even greater significance.
At 5:20pm local time at his home, The Kilns, just outside the university city of Oxford, C.S. Lewis collapsed in his bedroom. He had been ill for a number of months with nephritis. On the wall of his bedroom where he lay dead was a portrait of the face of Our Lord as depicted in negative on the Turin Shroud.
Born in Ireland in 1898, Lewis was baptized into the Anglican Church of Ireland and was educated subsequently in England. It was there, he later related, that he had lost his Christian faith. After fighting and being wounded in World War I, he was elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, lecturing in medieval and Renaissance literature. He returned to his childhood faith in 1930, describing himself as “a most reluctant convert.” He was, however, to prove an effective apologist for his refound faith. Through his fiction and nonfiction, talks and radio appearances, Lewis was to become one of the major Christian figures in the English-speaking world.
On that Nov. 22, John F. Kennedy died some 55 minutes after Lewis. The then-president of the United States, while campaigning for much-prized reelection, was gunned down while being driven through the late-autumn sunshine of a Dallas afternoon.
Born Catholic in 1917 into an Irish-American family, Kennedy’s life was one of wealth and privilege. After his service in the U.S. Navy in World War II, his political career began in earnest: congressman, senator and then the 35th president of the United States. At his Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, he talked of a “New Frontier.” His presidency seemed to symbolize a break with the past and an embrace of a more hopeful future.
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