We have a long-forgotten aide of John F. Kennedy’s to thank on this day as JFK is remembered.
This is why the iconic US President’s grave being open for us to pay pilgrimage.
Kennedy had spoken to the aide from Robert E Lee’s house looking down on Arlington Cemetery in the weeks ahead of his assassination.
He said, with some prescience, that he would like to spend eternity looking down on this view of Washington DC and the Potomac River.
Jackie Kennedy had wanted to bury her husband in the Kennedy family homestead of Hyannis Port in Massachusetts.
The sentry never sleeps
Sentinels have continued to stand watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
There at Arlington House throughout the pandemic, albeit without tourists.
For history tourists it is a must as part of a visit to General Lee’s house.
You can see the recreated office where he contemplated on whose side to fight on during the Civil War.
The Arlington grounds on which the cemetery now stands was used as a military camp.
It served as a resting place for soldiers by Union forces.
A family affair
Kennedy’s grave is a simple. solemn stone, beside the eternal flame and his family￼￼
And movingly his and Jackie’s still-born child Arabella and their infant son Patrick, born in the months before his death.
Jackie is buried here too.
She lies near his brothers Robert and Edward, and all are tended too beautifully and respectfully by the groundsmen.
And all resonant to the man and his legend.
But today I will be reflecting on gardener Old Jorge tending the graves the day I visited.
And how Kennedy would have come to represent his champion.