Just a few days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in a motorcade of open cars on the streets of Dallas while on a campaign tour of Texas, President John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on this day in the history, Nov. 25, 1963.
According to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, President Kennedy and two Kennedy babies are buried today in Lot 45, Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery.
“The permanent graves are located approximately 20 feet east of where the president was temporarily buried on November 25, 1963,” the library’s website also says.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, NOV. 22, 1963, JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35th PRESIDENT, IS KILLED
“Each is marked by a simply engraved gray slate tablet.”
The funeral of the slain president, just 46 years old when he was assassinated, followed a somber and nationally broadcast funeral procession.
According to History.com, JFK had not specified where he wanted to be buried.
“Most of his family and friends assumed he would have chosen a lot in his home state of Massachusetts,” the site also notes.
JFK “qualified for a field of honor at Arlington National Cemetery, but he also deserved a special location befitting his presidential status.”
As a World War II veteran, he was “eligible for a field of honor at Arlington National Cemetery, but he also deserved a special place befitting his presidential status.”
The spring before he died, President Kennedy “made an unscheduled tour of Arlington and … remarked to a friend about the view of the Potomac from the Custis-Lee Mansion, reportedly saying it was ‘so magnificent that I could stay forever’,” the same site points out.
After Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, the friend who accompanied JFK to Arlington that day “passed the comment to the president’s brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who suggested the site to Jacqueline Kennedy, the president’s widow.” .com also reports.
“Jackie, who was responsible for the final decision, visited the site on Nov. 24 and agreed. ‘He belongs to the people,’ she said,” the site also notes.
Jackie Kennedy “lit the first eternal flame and a few days later the grave was enclosed by a white picket fence.”
The then-first lady also reportedly asked if workers at the cemetery could set up “some kind of eternal flame at the grave site,” says History.com.
“Cemetery officials raced to assemble a makeshift Hawaiian torch under a wire dome, covered in dirt and evergreen branches. The flame was fed through copper pipes from a propane tank 300 feet away.”
Then, after the military ceremony at the tomb on November 25, Jackie Kennedy “lighted the first eternal flame and a few days later the tomb was enclosed by a white picket fence.”
The eternal flame “now burns from the center of a five-foot round flat granite stone at the head end of the president’s tomb.”
The following month, in December 1963, “Jackie Kennedy returned to the grave and was photographed kneeling in prayer among a sea of wreaths and bouquets left by recent visitors.”
Today’s eternal flame “burns from the center of a 5-foot-tall round flat granite stone at the head end of the president’s tomb,” notes the JFK Library site.
“The burner, a specially designed device made by the Institute of Gas Technology of Chicago, consists of a nozzle and an electric ignition system.”
The library also notes: “A constantly flashing electrical spark near the tip of the nozzle re-ignites the gas if the flame is extinguished by rain, wind or accident. The fuel is natural gas mixed with the correct amounts of air to change the color and shape of the flame.”
The library also says, “The entire site, totaling approximately 3.2 acres, was set aside by the Secretary of the Army with the approval of the Secretary of Defense to honor the memory of the President.”
It also says, “The land is retained for the nation as a whole and has not been transferred to the Kennedy family.”
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“The area has now been appropriately landscaped with new plantings mixed in between some of the historic trees.”
“While magnolias predominate, crabapple, willow, hawthorn, yellowwood, American holly and cherry trees are interspersed among flowering plants and shrubs.”
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More than three million people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year.