President Kennedy’s Burial - Nov 25, 1963

On November 25, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlingon National Cemetary.
Here is some info on the funeral and burial site from the Arlington National Cemetary website (see link below).

On Nov. 25, 1963, at 3 p.m., the state funeral of President Kennedy began. Earlier that day cemetery employees at Arlington, along with personnel from the Military District of Washington, conducted 23 funerals. All were conducted with appropriate dignity and military honors.

Among the mourners at Kennedy’s grave site were President Charles de Gaulle of France, Chancellor Ludwig Erhard of the Federal Republic of Germany, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom. Overhead, 50 Navy and Air Force jets flew past the gravesite followed by the president’s plane, Air Force One, which dipped its wing in final tribute.

A contingent of the Irish Guard stood opposite the grave, and the Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cardinal Cushing, performed a Roman Catholic committal service. The body bearers folded the interment flag, and Metzler presented it to Mrs. Kennedy. She and Robert Kennedy then used a torch to light the eternal flame.

The initial plot was 20 feet by 30 feet and was surrounded by a white picket fence. During the first year often more than 3,000 people an hour visited the Kennedy gravesite, and on weekends an estimated 50,000 people visited. Three years after Kennedy’s death, more than 16 million people had come to visit the Kennedy plot.

Because of the large crowds, cemetery officials and members of the Kennedy family decided that a more suitable site should be constructed. The architectural firm of John Warnecke and Associates was tasked to design and build the grave area. Construction began in 1965 and was completed July 20, 1967. During the period of construction, President Kennedy and his two deceased children were quietly reinterred to the permanent grave, and Archbishop Cushing formally blessed the new site in a private service, which was attended by Mrs. Kennedy, Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson.

The grave area is paved with irregular stones of Cape Cod granite, which were quarried around 1817 near the site of the president’s home and selected by members of his family. Clover, and later, sedum were planted in the crevices to give the appearance of stones lying naturally in a Massachusetts field.

Lighted by Mrs. Kennedy during the funeral, the Eternal Flame burns from the center of a five-foot circular flat-granite stone at the head of the grave. The burner is a specially designed apparatus created by the Institute of Gas Technology of Chicago. A constantly flashing electric spark near the tip of the nozzle relights the gas should the flame be extinguished by rain, wind or accident. The fuel is natural gas and is mixed with a controlled quantity of air to achieve the color and shape of the flame.

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