Senator Edward Kennedy, his wife and Ethel Kennedy
visit the grave of President John F. Kennedy
November 22, 1998
On the 35th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, hundreds of people came to Arlington National Cemetery Sunday to visit his grave site.
The late president's brother, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, his wife Vickie, and Ethel Kennedy, the wife of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy arrived at the grave in midmorning to pay their respects.
About 200 people stepped aside as the senator walked forward and lifted the metal chain that keeps the public from getting too close to the president's grave and the eternal flame that has burned since he was buried.
The family prayed and placed white roses and purple flowers on the graves of the president, who would have been 81 this past May, his wife, Jacqueline who died in 1994, and two of their children. The John F. Kennedys had a daughter on August 23, 1956 who was stillborn and a son, Patrick, who lived for only two days after his birth on August 7, 1963.
They also walked to the nearby grave of Senator Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 while running for president, where they also placed flowers and prayed.
Afterward, senator Kennedy thanked the crowd for coming and said he appreciated that so many people still remembered his brothers.
More than one thousand people had filed past President Kennedy's grave by mid-morning.
Mary Hall, aged 62 from Baton Rouge, La., braved the cold autumn weather to pay her respects.
“I'm surprised at the dedication after all these years,” she said.
“Everybody liked him,” said Andrea Garcia, a 17-year-old high-school senior from San Antonio, Texas.
Some of those visiting the grave site left their own flowers and personal messages.
One handwritten note read: “It broke our hearts to lose you, but did not go alone. Part of us went with you the day God called you home.”
Kennedy was murdered on Nov. 22, 1963, as he was driven in an open-top limousine through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, accompanied by his wife.
A commission, chaired by U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald alone killed Kennedy with rifle fire from a sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository at one corner of the Plaza.
However, a poll released on the anniversary of the his death, found that 73 percent of those questioned believed that a conspiracy was either definitely or probably behind Kennedy's assassination.
Of the 216,000 graves at Arlington Cemetery, president Kennedy's is one of the most visited by the four million people who come to the cemetery annually.
From the grave, there is a sweeping view of Washington across the Potomac River, overlooking the Lincoln Memorial and the Memorial Bridge over which many world leaders walked to Kennedy's funeral.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard