Generations of Americans have seen thousands of pictures of Jacqueline Kennedy, but they seldom heard her voice after her time as first lady. "She gave very few interviews, so we had very little insight into what she was really thinking behind those incredible photographs," says ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer. On September 13, in the two-hour special Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words, Sawyer unveils recorded conversations between the iconic and often mysterious former first lady and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
The audiotapes were made just four months after the assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963. "I think her respect for the responsibility you have when you've been in the White House was so profound that she willed herself to do this," says Sawyer. While she can't reveal the contents (the unedited tapes will be released the day after the broadcast on CDs contained in a Hyperion book, published with a foreword by daughter Caroline Kennedy), Sawyer believes viewers will be startled by the intimacy and wit displayed in the interviews. "It's like sitting next to Jacqueline Kennedy in a room and hearing her confide in you," she says.
The special is part of a big week for ABC News, which will also air four hours of coverage commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. New arrival Katie Couric is expected to be part of it. "I don't know if they've plotted out where we're going to sit," says Sawyer. "But we're all going to be there together, I hope."