Intruders Disturb John F. Kennedy Gravesite At Arlington

Saturday, 20 December 1997

One or more intruders tried unsuccessfully to dig up granite paving stones at the gravesite of President Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery, U.S. Park Police said Saturday, December 20, 1997..

Authorities said whoever was involved in the incident Friday night or early Saturday probably gave up when they found the stones, near the eternal flame at Kennedy’s grave, weigh several hundred pounds each and are anchored together.

Police spokesman Leonard Chertoff said gaining access to the cemetery after daylight visiting hours is difficult, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

John F. Kennedy Gravesite Disturbed

December 21, 1997

President John F. Kennedy’s grave site was disturbed overnight by someone who tried, but failed, to dig up some of its granite paving stones, officials reported yesterday.

Neither the Arlington National Cemetery site’s eternal flame nor the tombstones of Kennedy, his wife, Jacqueline, and two of their children were damaged. “Someone attempted to remove stones that ring the site,” said Officer Allan Griffith of the U.S. Park Police, which is responsible for law enforcement at the cemetery. He said the culprit or culprits gave up after finding the stones were much bigger than they appeared. He said they extend several feet down, weigh about 500 pounds each and are anchored to one another. “What they had tried to do was dig down, and when they discovered how big they were, they just gave up,” he said.

The nearby grave site of Robert F. Kennedy, the former president’s slain brother, was undisturbed. The site is marked by a white-painted wooden cross.

The Kennedy Memorial Grave is the most visited at the 612-acre cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington.

The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 225,000 military heroes and other war veterans and their closest kin.

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