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Remembering JFK Junior’s death 15 years later

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NEW YORK (PIX11)-- An artists age progression photo provided to PIX 11 News reveals an incredibly good looking JFK Junior, who this year would have marked his 53rd birthday. The image, produced by artists at Phojoe.com, show a more mature looking Kennedy, a few wrinkles and streaks of gray in his hair.

At 38, he was so full of life, vibrant, so much in the image of his father. But on July 16, 1999 the dream of what could have been vanished. It was another day America cried over the mourning of the loss of another Kennedy.

Kennedy, his wife Caroline Bisset and her sister Lauren were flying to Martha's Vinyard for a family wedding when Kennedy, not familiar with flying in fog under instruments, became disoriented and crashed into the darkened sea. For days America's eyes were focused once again on the Kennedys. They prayed for a miracle. But there was none. After five days of searching, Navy divers located the wreckage of the plane and the three bodies on the ocean floor. The bodies were cremated and ashes spread over the sea.

Over the years we have often asked what might have been had the young Kennedy lived. His longtime personal assistant RoseMarie Terenzio told PIX11 News, "In my opinion, it's not what might have been, it's what would have been. He would have run for governor and won. He would have run for president and won."

Terenzio, who wrote a memoir--Fairytale Interrupted---said Kennedy talked very carefully about politics and saw it as something in his future, but in 1999 when he was publisher of George magazine, he felt the timing wasn't right. She said people wanted him to run for the Senate and he was encouraged to seek the office of mayor. When she asked why he wasn't interested in the latter, she quoted him as asking,"Have you ever heard of a mayor becoming president?"

Since his death, Terenzio has been asked what Kennedy might have thought of President Obama. "I tell them there wouldn't be an Obama, because John would be President."

15 years after his death, we continue to mourn for a national icon who will always be remembered as one of America's favorite sons. As he late Senator Ted Kennedy said in his eulogy for his nephew, "Like his father, he had every gift but length of years."