Former First Lady's Achievements Noted Americans Visit Kennedy Library to Pay Their Respects to Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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THE only way I can describe her is: `a lady,' a woman who carries herself with dignity, her own flair, with no scandal attached," said James Guldner.

"I saw her as a great mother," offered Elizabeth Veeser.

"She certainly was a role model for me. She had all the conventional womanly attributes; she didn't let others dictate to her, yet she fulfilled her own family obligations," commented Mariam Cronin.

On Friday, these visitors and many others at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Mass., spoke fondly about the former first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who died the night before. Though many who converged at the I.M. Pei-designed structure on Boston Harbor said they felt saddened by her death, the mood here was not entirely one of gloom. Boisterous students and adults paying tribute, amid scattered TV reporters, seemed to prevent a pall from settling in at the library that Onassis, herself a book editor, helped found in 1964.

Ms. Veeser, of Farmington Hills, Mich., had no trouble explaining the mood she felt. "People are just in awe of who she was and what she stood for."

Ironically, the sunny sky and brisk air brought to mind another clear day last October, when a stunning Onassis - wearing a dark suit, sunglasses, and gold jewelry - stepped out of a shiny blue sedan to join a happy Kennedy clan and President Clinton for a rededication of the revamped museum.

Despite her passing, the museum was open to the public on Friday. For many who came, the timing of their visit added something special to the experience. Middle school teacher Kevin Keaveney brought his eighth-graders. "I want my students to focus on the mood of the exhibit, but {Onassis's death} will add to that mood. Hopefully, they'll remember this day," he said.

Marilyn Butner, traveling with five friends from Brea, Calif., said:"It makes it more meaningful for me to be here today." Coincidentally, they had come from Onassis's home in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. …