ARLINGTON, Va. – The temporary flame that has been operating at the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy and his family since this spring was transferred to the permanent Eternal Flame in a ceremony here, Oct. 29, 2013. The temporary flame was in place while upgrades and testing took place for the Eternal Flame.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District and its contracting partners replaced the burner assembly and the supporting infrastructure including gas, electric, and compressed air lines for the flame as well as installed new drainage lines below the flame. They also relocated gas pressure regulators from inside to outside the chamber to provide easier maintenance and access.
This is only the second time in history that a temporary flame has been used at this site. The first time was when Mrs. Kennedy lit a temporary flame during her husband’s interment service on Nov. 25, 1963. That flame was then transferred to the permanent Eternal Flame in March 1967.
“As we approach the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, it is fitting that we once again transfer the flame from a temporary one, to the permanent Eternal Flame, a flame that is more modern and efficient, ensuring the light continues to remain a beacon of hope and remembrance for all who see it, a reminder of the President’s legacy to our nation,” said Patrick K. Hallinan, executive director, Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery.
There are a number of remembrance events planned at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death and burial.
• Starting November 15, a special pictorial exhibit honoring President Kennedy's legacy will be on display in the basement of the Memorial Amphitheater. This exhibit will be on display through Dec. 1, 2013.
• On November 22, Arlington National Cemetery will conduct a wreath laying remembrance ceremony at President Kennedy’s gravesite.
• On November 25, the Irish Defence Forces 37th Cadet Class will conduct a remembrance ceremony at President Kennedy’s gravesite. The 37th Cadet Class flew to Washington to provide an honor guard during President Kennedy’s funeral service.
All events are free and open to the public. For additional information, please go to www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/events.