John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
Arlington, Virginia July 2003 3rd Visited

On a trip to Arlington National Cemetery in
1963, John F. Kennedy looked out from the
hill near the Custis-Lee Mansion toward the
capital. Amazed, he commented that he could
stay there forever. Eight months later, the
president was buried at the bottom of the hill.

My first visit to President Kennedy's grave
occurred in 2003, but it was not documented
with pictures. These photographs were taken
in June 2004 when my father and I returned
to Arlington to see President William Howard
Taft's grave, which we missed the year before.

* Fast Facts * *

- First Lady: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

  - Spouse: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (m. 1953-1963)

- Political Party: Democratic Party

- Term: 1961-1963

- Vice President: Lyndon Baines Johnson

- Born: May 29, 1917

- Died: November 22, 1963

- Age: 46

- Cause of Death: Gunshot Wound to Head

- Last Words: "That's very obvious."

 Cemetery: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

- GPS Coordinates: 38°52'53.6"N 77°04'17.2"W

                                       *** Interesting Facts ***

* While many people think of Jack Kennedy as a strong, robust figure, he was actually very sickly. In his youth, he contracted every childhood malady imaginable and was under the weather most of the time. One constant problem was Kennedy's back spasms, which put him in constant agony. In 1954, Senator Kennedy had a surgical procedure conducted on his back, a procedure that went terribly wrong. The senator became very ill, and the pain in his back grew worse. At one point, it looked so hopeless that last rites were performed. Somehow, Kennedy recovered and was able to resume his political career, although his back problems would plague him for the remainder of his life.

* JFK served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. With the rank of Lieutenant, junior grade, Kennedy was put in command of PT-109, a torpedo boat. On August 2, 1943, PT-109 was out on patrol when it was run down by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Kennedy’s boat was cut in half, and two crew members were killed. Placing injured crewmen and a lantern on a broken timber, Kennedy and the other uninjured men began swimming to a deserted island 3.5 miles away from the site of the shipwreck. There was not enough room on the timber for all of the men. Lt. Kennedy clenched the strap of an injured man’s life jacket in his mouth, and towed him to shore. After 4 hours of pushing and towing in shark-infested waters, the group made it to Plum Pudding Island. After relocating to Olasana Island, the survivors were found by Solomon Islands scouts six days later. Kennedy inscribed a message into a coconut, and the scouts traveled over thirty miles in their canoe to deliver it to the closest Allied base. The PT-109 members were rescued soon after.

* Already noted for being a youthful congressman and the son of the first chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission, John Kennedy's fame grew when he won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1955 book Profiles in Courage. In the book, Senator Kennedy tells of how eight members of the U.S. Senate used their judgement to do what they thought was right, despite what their colleagues and constituents might have felt. For example, one of the people the book focuses on is Edmund G. Ross of Kansas, who voted to acquit Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial in 1868. Since its release the book has been the center of controversy, as many people have maintained that it was not directly authored by Kennedy, but rather ghostwritten. A television series based on the book was made in the 1960's.

* One of the most notable events that occurred during the Kennedy administration was the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. That month the United States Air Force captured photographic evidence that America's Cold War opponent, the Soviet Union, was in the process of constructing missile bases in Cuba, just ninety miles from the USA. On October 22nd, several days after the photographs had been taken, the president announced the situation to the American public, as well as his plan to create a naval quarantine around Cuba. For the next six days the entire world stood still, wondering if nuclear war was about to erupt. On the 25th, a Soviet tanker crossed over the quarantine line established by the U.S. military, but it was not fired upon when it was assessed the ship was not carrying any offensive weapons. After several days, an agreement was reached between the United States and the U.S.S.R.: America promised not to invade Cuba, and the Soviets promised to remove their missiles from the island country. To further defuse the situation, Kennedy ordered U.S. missiles to be withdrawn from Turkey. This Cold War conflict, apart from scaring the entire planet, resulted in the creation of a hotline between Washington, D.C. and Moscow, that way potential future crises could be avoided.

* In anticipation of the presidential election the following year, JFK embarked on a political trip to Texas in November 1963. The president knew Texas would be a key state to win and wanted to end a feud between Democratic leaders in the state to help ensure his victory there. On November 21st, the first day of the trip, Kennedy attended events in San Antonio and Houston before ending his day in Ft. Worth. The next morning, after delivering an address to the Ft. Worth Chamber of Commerce, Kennedy left for a speaking engagement at the Dallas Trade Mart. Upon reaching Dallas, the president and first lady, accompanied by Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, entered the presidential limousine, which did not have its bulletproof roof on. Kennedy declined that option because he did not want to distance himself from the people waiting to see him. Leaving from Love Field, the motorcade made its way onto Elm Street in Dealey Plaza at 12:30 p.m. Shortly after the presidential limo passed by the Texas Schoolbook Depository, a sound thought by many to be a car backfiring rang out. Governor Connally, realizing it was gunfire, turned around to check on the president. Just then, a second shot was fired. It entered through Kennedy’s upper back, exited through his throat, and struck the governor. As Kennedy raised his hands to cover his bleeding neck, the third and fatal bullet was fired. It pierced the president's head, creating a gaping hole the size of a fist. The presidential limousine sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. CST.

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