State funeral of John F. Kennedy

The state funeral of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, took place in Washington, D.C., during the three days that followed his assassination on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.[1]

The body of President Kennedy was brought back to Washington soon after his death and placed in the East Room of the White House for 24 hours.[2][3] On the Sunday after the assassination, his flag-draped coffin was carried on a horse-drawn caisson to the U.S. Capitol to lie in state.[4] Throughout the day and night, hundreds of thousands lined up to view the guarded casket.[5]

Representatives from over 90 countries attended the state funeral on Monday, November 25.[6] After the Requiem Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral, the late president was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.[7] Kennedy is the most recent president to have died in office.

Preparations for the state funeral

After John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, his body was flown back to Washington,[8] and on arrival, it was taken to Bethesda Naval Hospital for the autopsy.[9][10] At the same time, military authorities started planning his state funeral.[11] Army Major General Philip C. Wehle, the commanding general of the Military District of Washington (MDW) (CG MDW), and retired Army Colonel Paul C. Miller, chief of ceremonies and special events at the MDW, planned the funeral.[12][13]

They headed to the White House and worked with the president's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, also director of the Peace Corps, and Ralph Dungan, an aide to the president.[12][14] Because Kennedy had no funeral plan in place, much of the planning rested with the CG MDW.[12] House Speaker John W. McCormack said that the president's body would be brought back to the White House to lie in the East Room the following day and then taken to the Capitol to lie in state in the rotunda all day Sunday.[15]

The day after the assassination, the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, issued Presidential Proclamation 3561, declaring Monday to be a national day of mourning,[16][17] and only essential emergency workers to be at their posts.[18][19] He read the proclamation over a nationwide radio and television broadcast at 4:45 p.m. from the Fish Room (currently known as the Roosevelt Room) at the White House.[16][20]

Several elements of the state funeral paid tribute to Kennedy's service in the Navy during World War II.[21] They included a member of the Navy bearing the presidential flag,[21] the playing of the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," and the Naval Academy Glee Club performing at the White House.[22] The hymn "The God of Loveliness" was played as the casket was brought down the Capitol steps; "The Barren Rocks of Aden" as it was brought to the White House, and "Ave Maria" when it arrived at St. Matthew's Church.[23][24]

White House repose

President John F. Kennedy lies in repose in the White House East Room.

After the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Kennedy's body was prepared for burial by embalmers from Gawler's Funeral Home in Washington, who performed the embalming and cosmetic restoration procedures at Bethesda instead of the funeral home.[25][26][27][28] Then Kennedy's body was casketed, for which purpose a new casket was used. In Dallas, Kennedy's body had been placed in a solid bronze casket - a double-lid "Handley" model (nowadays produced as the more urn-shaped VerPlank "Winchester"), a slightly tapering round corner design with a transparent amber (reddish) colored "Britannia"-finish (i.e. a partially "brushed" bronze-surface) and lined with a velvet interior. The casket had been manufactured for Vernon O'Neal's funeral home by the (former) Elgin Metal Casket Company of Elgin, Illinois, which had provided the bronze casket of President Calvin Coolidge before. After an ornamental mounting-cover of one swing-bar handle and an ornamental tip of another handle had been damaged during the loading / unloading process of the up to 700 lbs heavy casket,[29] the bronze casket (which was disposed of by the Air Force in the Atlantic Ocean on February 18, 1966 so that it would not "fall into the hands of sensation seekers") [30] was replaced with a hardwood casket: Joseph Gawler's Sons provided a Marsellus 710 (still produced under the Marsellus Brand by Batesville Casket Company as the "710 President" model) - a plain and unpretentious looking, yet expensive understatement-design with heavily rounded corners. The (former) Marsellus casket company of Syracuse, New York, which provided also the mahogany caskets of President Truman and of President Reagan, made its "Seven-Ten" model from solid 1-1/4" and 2-1/2" planks of African mahogany trees up to 500 years old. The company had acquired the reputation of following extraordinarily high manufacturing standards in the production of its luxury caskets, involving a high percentage of hand-crafting by expert craftsmen, as detailed in the footnote.[31] President Kennedy's non-ornamental, yet highly elegant and stylish mahogany casket had a brownish stain of wood and a semi-gloss finish; at its sides it had wooden swing-bar handles with bronze tips, and it featured a shirred champagne interior of non-crushable premium velvet and a moisture-absorbing bed of pure white spun rayon. The high price of Kennedy's casket [32] as well as the less common "hinged-cap" design of its lid (of which only the uppermost part of the - divided - top is opened for viewing) seem to indicate that, probably, Kennedy's casket had been equipped with a hermetically sealing inner bronze liner including a full-length oval glass top, raising the weight of the (empty) casket from 260 to about 500 lbs. Due to the fact that the Marsellus # 710 model was also chosen for the burial of President Ford and Pres. Nixon, this design has become almost synonymous with "the presidential casket" in the US.

The body of President Kennedy was returned to the White House at nearly 4:30 a.m., Saturday, November 23.[33] The motorcade bearing the remains was met at the White House gate by a Marine honor guard, which escorted it to the North Portico. The pallbearers bore the casket to the East Room where, nearly one hundred years earlier, the body of Abraham Lincoln had lain.[27][34] Kennedy's casket was placed on a catafalque previously used for the funerals of the Unknown Soldiers from the Korean War and World War II at Arlington.[35] Jacqueline Kennedy declared that the casket would be kept closed for the duration of the viewing and funeral. The shot to Kennedy's head left a gaping wound,[36] and religious leaders said that a closed casket minimized morbid concentration on the corpse.[37]

Mrs. Kennedy, still wearing the blood-stained raspberry-colored suit she wore in Dallas, had not left the side of her husband's body since his death.[38] Only after the casket was placed in the East Room, draped with black crepe,[39] did she retire to her private quarters.[40]

Kennedy's body lay in repose in the East Room for 24 hours,[3][41] attended by an honor guard that included troops from the 3rd Infantry and from the Army's Special Forces (Green Berets).[42][43] The Special Forces troops had been brought hurriedly from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, at the request of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was aware of his brother's particular interest in them.[43]

Mrs. Kennedy requested that two Catholic priests remain with the body until the official funeral. A call was made to The Catholic University of America, and Msgr. Robert Paul Mohan and Fr. Gilbert Hartke, two prominent Washington, D.C., priests, were immediately dispatched for the task.[44] A Mass was said in the East Room at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 23.[45] After the Mass, other family members, friends, and other government officials came at specified times to pay their respects,[46] including former U.S. Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. The other surviving former U.S. president at the time, Herbert Hoover, was too ill to attend,[47] and was represented by his sons, Herbert Hoover Jr. who also attended the funeral, and Allan Hoover went to the services in the rotunda.[48][49]

Outside the White House and in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, crowds stood in the rain, keeping a vigil and paying quiet respects.[50][51] It rained all day in Washington, befitting the mood of the nation.[52][53]

Lying in state

President Lyndon B. Johnson placing a wreath before the flag-draped casket of President Kennedy, during funeral services held in the United States Capitol Rotunda, November 24, 1963.

On Sunday afternoon about 300,000 people watched a horse-drawn caisson, which had borne the body of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Unknown Soldier, carry Kennedy's flag-covered casket down the White House drive, past parallel rows of soldiers bearing the flags of the 50 states of the Union, then along Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol Rotunda to lie in state.[54] The only sounds on Pennsylvania Avenue as the cortège made its way to the Capitol were the sounds of the muffled drums and the clacking of horses' hooves, including the riderless (caparisoned) horse Black Jack.[55]

The widow, holding her two children by the hand, led the public mourning for the country.[56][57] In the rotunda, Mrs. Kennedy and her daughter Caroline knelt beside the casket, which rested on the Lincoln catafalque.[58] Three-year-old John Jr. was briefly taken out of the rotunda so as not to disrupt the service.[57] Mrs. Kennedy maintained her composure as her husband was taken to the Capitol to lie in state, as well as during the memorial service.[57]

Brief eulogies were delivered inside the rotunda by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Speaker McCormack.[59]

Kennedy was the first president in more than 30 years to lie in state in the rotunda, the previous one being the only president to ever serve as chief justice, William Howard Taft, in 1930.[60] He was also the first Democrat to lie in state at the Capitol.[61]

Public viewing

In the only public viewing, hundreds of thousands lined up in near-freezing temperatures to view the casket.[62] Over the span of 18 hours, 250,000 people, some waiting for as long as 10 hours in a line up to 10 persons wide that stretched 40 blocks, over nearly 10 miles,[63] personally paid their respects as Kennedy's body lay in state.[64] Capitol police officers politely reminded mourners to keep moving along in two lines that passed on either side of the casket and exited the building on the west side facing the National Mall.[55][62]

The original plan was for the rotunda to close at 9:00 p.m. and reopen for an hour at 9:00 the next morning.[65] Because of long lines however, police and military authorities decided to keep the doors open.[65] At 9:00 p.m., when the rotunda was supposed to close, both Jacqueline Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy returned to the rotunda again.[66][67] More than half the mourners came to the rotunda after 2:45 a.m., by which time 115,000 had already visited.[55] Military officials doubled the lines, first to two abreast, then to four abreast.[62]

NBC broadcast uninterrupted coverage of the people passing through the Capitol rotunda during the overnight hours.[68][69] While anchoring the Today show from an NBC Washington studio the next day, Hugh Downs said that the mass numbers made it "the greatest and most solemn wake in history."[70] CBS Washington correspondent Roger Mudd said of the mass numbers: "This outpouring of affection and sympathy for the late president is probably the most majestic and stately ceremony the American people can perform."[71] Jersey Joe Walcott, a former heavyweight boxing champion, passed by the bier at 2:30 a.m.[71] and agreed with Mudd, saying of Kennedy, "He was a great man."[72]

Arrival of dignitaries

Nations that attended the funeral (blue) or whose dignitaries arrived too late (pink), but attended Lyndon B. Johnson's reception on November 25.

As Kennedy lay in state, foreign dignitaries—including heads of state and government and members of royal families—started to arrive in Washington to attend the state funeral on Monday.[73] Secretary of State Dean Rusk and other State Department personnel went to both of Washington's commercial airports to personally greet foreign dignitaries.[74][75][76]

Some of the dignitaries that arrived on Sunday to attend the funeral included Soviet First Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan,[77] French President Charles de Gaulle, Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, the Duke of Edinburgh (representing Queen Elizabeth II), British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Irish President Éamon de Valera, and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.[78]

Queen Frederika of Greece, and King Baudouin I of the Belgians were just some of the other members of royalty attending. Some law enforcement officials, including MPDC Chief Robert V. Murray, later said that it was the biggest security nightmare they ever faced.[74][79]


As people were viewing the casket, military authorities held meetings at the White House, at MDW headquarters, and at Arlington National Cemetery to plan Monday's events.[80] First, they decided that the public viewing should end at 9:00 a.m. EST and that the ceremonies would begin at 10:30 a.m. EST.[81][82] On Sunday evening the State Department issued its Official Narrative of Events for November 25:

1. Approximately 50 minutes after leaving from the front of the Rotunda, the Marine element of march, which directly precedes the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Caisson, will have arrived on Pennsylvania Avenue directly opposite of the Northeast gate of the White House. At that point, one platoon of the Marine company will detach itself from the main body and enter the Northeast gate and will be followed by all elements in their rear, i.e., the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the Personal Flag, the Caparisoned Horse and the car bearing Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney General.
2. The column that has entered the White House grounds will proceed on the drive, NOT passing under, but keeping to the right of the portico, until the head of the platoon of Marines reaches the Northwest gate, which is on Pennsylvania Avenue. There it will be halted. Mrs. Kennedy's car will pull under the portico roof and halt at the front steps of the White House, at which point she will dismount with the Attorney General. Upon her leaving the car, it should be backed up 10 or 15 yards.
3. It is presumed Mrs. Kennedy will mount the steps with the Attorney General and be met by members of the Presidential staff.
4. The entire driveway in the White House grounds will be cordoned by Navy enlisted men, bearing State and Territorial Flags. They will render the appropriate honors upon the passage of the Caisson.
5. It is presumed that the Presidential Military Aides will remain in column behind the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If the Aides decide they wish to enter the White House, it is their responsibility to position themselves back in the column prior to Mrs. Kennedy's leaving the White House to follow the Caisson on foot.
6. It is assumed that the foreign dignitaries have been formed in the proper column inside of the White House, extending from the East Room down the hall to te North Entrance. When Mrs. Kennedy mounts the steps and has been met by the Presidential staff, she will be told by a member of that staff when the entire group within the White House is ready to move off. Mrs. Kennedy is then free to move down the steps and to the left along the drive towards the Northwest gate on foot.
7. On descending to the driveway Mrs. Kennedy will find the Caisson followed by the Caparisoned Horse some 20 - 30 yards to the left and on the driveway. As she approaches the Caisson, the Marine platoon, halted at the Northeast gate, will move the column off so that Mrs. Kennedy will not have to halt behind the Caparisoned Horse. The normal distance for marching behind the Caparison Horse is approximately 10 to 15 yards. The dignitaries, already formed at the White House, will move out immediately behind Mrs. Kennedy. It is presumed that Mrs. Kennedy will be escorted by her brother-in-law, the Attorney General. It is further presumed that the other mourners and dignitaries on foot will keep about a five (5) yard distance in rear of Mrs. Kennedy and her escort.
8. The mourners behind Mrs. Kennedy and her escort should maintain a five or six man front.
9. As the Marine Platoon moves out of the Northwest gate the Black Watch will move in following the Marine Platoon and immediately in front of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.
10. The Naval Academy Choir, positioned on the lawn opposite the North portico, will begin to sing as the Caisson enters the Northeast gate. They will sing three hymns only.[83]

Unlike Sunday's procession, which was led by only the muffled drum corps,[84] Monday's was expanded to include other military units.[85][86][87] Military officials also agreed to requests from Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline Kennedy.[80] They agreed that the Marine Band should lead the funeral procession,[80] which would include two foreign military units10 pipers from the Scottish Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) marching from the White House to St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Cathedral, a group of 26 Irish Defence Forces cadetsat the request of Mrs. Kennedyperforming silent drill at the grave site, and placement of an eternal flame at the grave.[88] The cadets came from the Curragh Camp, County Kildare.[87][89] The cadets traveled with Irish President Éamon de Valera, and together they paid tribute to Kennedy's Irish ancestry.[87]

Approximately one million people lined the route of the funeral procession, from the Capitol back to the White House, then to St. Matthew's Cathedral, and finally to Arlington National Cemetery.[90][91][92] Millions morealmost the entire population of Americafollowed the funeral on television.[90][93] Those who watched the funeral on television were the only ones who saw the ceremony in its entirety.[94] The three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, used at least 50 cameras for the joint coverage in order to allow viewers to follow the proceedings in their entirety from the Capitol to Arlington.[95] In addition, the networks' Washington bureau chiefs (Bob Fleming at ABC, Bill Monroe at NBC, and Bill Small at CBS) moved correspondents and cameras to keep them ahead of the cortège.[95][96]

The day's events began at 8:25 a.m.,[97] when the MPDC cut off the line of mourners waiting to get into the rotunda. They did so because a large group tried to break into the line and the MPDC were not able to sort out those who had already been in line, many of whom had waited for five hours.[62][98] Thirty-five minutes, later, the doors closed, ending the lying in state; the last visitors passed through at 9:05 a.m.[97]

At 10:00 a.m., both houses of Congress met to pass resolutions expressing sorrow.[99][100] In the Senate, Maine Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith laid a single rose on the desk Kennedy had occupied when in the Senate.[101]

Earlier that morning the State Department also issued the following directive:

Funeral Services of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, late President of the United States - 25 November 1963
Procession departs the Capitol at 11:00am
Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney General in an automobile will join the military formation to proceed to the White House.
Members of Congress who will participate in the funeral ceremonies (except "The Leadership") proceed directly to St. Matthews Cathedral to be seated by 11:45am.
The military formation will proceed down Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House and pause in the intersection of 17th and Pennsylvania. In the meantime, the caisson will have entered the North Gate and proceed to the North Portico followed by Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney General. They will leave the automobile at this point and be joined by other dignitaries who will proceed with them on foot behind the caisson. The caisson will move forth and the procession will proceed to St. Matthew's via Connecticut Avenue.
The following will assemble at the White House at 11:15am preparatory to joining Mrs. Kennedy and Family on the walk from the White House to the Cathedral:
The President
Chiefs of State
Heads of Government and Chiefs of Special Delegations.
The Chief Justice
Former Presidents
Justices of the Supreme Court
Members of the Cabinet
Congressional Leadership
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
Personal Assistants to President Kennedy
Close friends
Those that are not in the procession but who have been invited to attend the requiem Mass at the Cathedral should proceed directly to the Cathedral and be in their place at approximately 11:45am.
Upon the conclusion of the ceremonies at the Cathedral, those attending the Mass enter their cars and join the procession from the Cathedral to Arlington National Cemetery in the following order of precedence:
Mrs. Kennedy and Members of the immediate family
The President and his Party
Chiefs of State, Heads of Government and Chiefs of Special Delegations.
The Chief Justice and the Supreme Court
Members of the Cabinet
Leadership of the Senate
Governors of the States and Territories
Leadership of the House of Representatives
Joints Chiefs of Staff
Personal Staff of President Kennedy
Close Friends of the Family
Others attending the funeral mass are invited to Arlington Cemetery
The procession upon arrival at the site of interment will halt and passengers will leave their automobiles and proceed to the grave site. After the interment ceremonies, those participating will return to their cars and return to the city. [102]

Procession to cathedral

The riderless (caparisoned) horse named "Black Jack" during a departure ceremony held on the center steps at the United States Capitol Building.
A limbers and caissons bearing the casket of President John F. Kennedy seen moving down the White House drive on the way to St. Matthew's Cathedral on November 25, 1963. A color guard holding the presidential colors, the flag of the President of the United States, and the riderless horse "Black Jack", follow behind.

After Jacqueline Kennedy and her brothers-in-law, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, visited the rotunda, the coffin was carried out onto the caisson.[82] At 10:50, the caisson left the Capitol.[103] Ten minutes later, the procession began,[97] making its way back to the White House. As the procession reached the White House, all the military units except for the Marine company turned right off Pennsylvania Avenue and onto 17th Street.[104] A platoon of the Marine company turned in the northeast gate and led the cortege into the North Portico.[104]

At the White House, the procession resumed on foot to St. Matthew's Cathedral, led by Jacqueline Kennedy and the late president's brothers, Robert and Edward (Ted) Kennedy. They walked the same route that John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy often used when going to Mass at the cathedral.[105] This also marked the first time that a first lady walked in her husband's funeral procession.[106] The two Kennedy children rode in a limousine behind their mother and uncles.[107] The rest of the Kennedy family, apart from the president's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., who was ill,[108] waited at the cathedral.[109]

The new president Lyndon B. Johnson, his wife Lady Bird, and their two daughters Luci and Lynda also marched in the procession.[72] Johnson had been advised not to do so because of the potential risk in the wake of Kennedy's assassination.[110] Johnson recounted his experiences in his memoirs, saying, "I remember marching behind the caisson to St. Matthew's Cathedral. The muffled rumble of drums set up a heartbreaking echo."[111]

Merle Miller quoted him as having said, "Walking in the procession was especially one of the most difficult decisions I had to make," but it was something he "could do, should do, would do, and did so."[110] When he moved into the Oval Office the next day, there was a letter from Mrs. Kennedy on his desk[110] in which she thanked him for marching in the procession.[110]

Not since the funeral of Britain's King Edward VII, in 1910, had there been such a large gathering of presidents, prime ministers, and royalty at a state funeral.[112][113] In all, 220 foreign dignitaries, including 19 heads of state and government, and members of royal families from 92 countries, five international agencies, and the papacy attended the funeral.[114] Most of the dignitaries passed unnoticed, following respectfully behind the former first lady and the Kennedy family during the relatively short walk to the cathedral along Connecticut Avenue.[6]

As the dignitaries marched, there was a heavy security presence because of concerns for the potential assassination of so many world leaders,[115][116] the greatest being for French President Charles de Gaulle.[117] Under Secretary of State George Ball manned the operations center at the State Department with the goal of ensuring that no incident occurred.[118]

NBC transmitted coverage of the procession from the White House to the cathedral by satellite to twenty-three countries, including Japan and the Soviet Union,[95] allowing hundreds of millions on both sides of the Iron Curtain in Europe to watch the funeral.[119] Satellite coverage ended when the coffin went into the cathedral.[120] In the Soviet Union, their commentators said that "the grief of the Soviet people mingles with the grief of the American people."[120] There was no coverage in East Germany, where television audiences had only a soccer match to watch.[120]

The widow, wearing a black veil, led the way up the steps of the cathedral holding the hands of her two children, with John Jr., whose third birthday fell on the day of his father's funeral,[107] on her left, and Caroline on her right.[112] Because of the funeral and the day of mourning, the widow postponed John Jr.'s birthday party until December 5, the last day the family was in the White House.[121]

Funeral Mass at cathedral

About 1,200 invited guests attended the funeral Mass in the cathedral.[122] The Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cardinal Cushing, celebrated the Pontifical Requiem Low Mass at the cathedral where Kennedy, a practicing Catholic, often worshipped.[123] Cardinal Cushing was a close friend of the family who had witnessed and blessed the marriage of Senator Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953.[124] He had also baptized two of their children, given the invocation at President Kennedy's inauguration, and officiated at the recent funeral of their infant son, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy.[124]

At the request of the First Lady, the Requiem Mass was a Low Mass[125]—that is, a simplified version of the Mass, with the Mass recited or spoken and not sung.[125] Two months later, Cardinal Cushing offered a pontifical Solemn High Requiem Mass at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston, with the city's orchestra and choir singing Mozart's Requiem setting.[126]

There was no formal eulogy at the Low Requiem Mass. (The first presidential funeral to feature a formal eulogy was that of Lyndon Johnson in 1973.)[127][128] However, the Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, the Most Reverend Philip M. Hannan, decided to read selections from Kennedy's writings and speeches.[127] The readings included a passage from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes: "There is an appointed time for everything...a time to be born and a time to die...a time to love and a time to hate...a time of war and a time of peace."[124] He then concluded his remarks by reading Kennedy's entire Inaugural Address.[129]

Jacqueline Kennedy requested that Luigi Vena sing Georges Bizet's "Agnus Dei", as he had at her wedding to John F. Kennedy ten years prior. Instead, he was told to sing Pie Jesu and Franz Schubert's Ave Maria after the offertory.[130] For a few moments, she lost her composure and sobbed as this music filled the cathedral.[6]


John F. Kennedy, Jr. salutes his father's coffin while standing next to Jacqueline Kennedy, who is holding Caroline Kennedy's hand; Senator Ted Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy are seen behind them.

The casket was borne again by caisson on the final leg to Arlington National Cemetery for burial.[131] Moments after the casket was carried down the front steps of the cathedral, Jacqueline Kennedy whispered to her son, after which he saluted his father's coffin;[132] the image, taken by photographer Stan Stearns,[133] became an iconic representation of the 1960s. The children were deemed to be too young to attend the final burial service, so this was the point where the children said goodbye to their father.[134]

Virtually everyone else followed the caisson in a long line of black limousines passing by the Lincoln Memorial and crossing the Potomac River. Many of the military units did not participate in the burial service and left just after crossing the Potomac.[135] Because the line of cars taking the foreign dignitaries was long, the last cars carrying the dignitaries left St. Matthew's as the procession entered the cemetery.[131][136] The burial services had already begun when the last car arrived.[122] Security guards walked beside the cars carrying the dignitaries, with the one carrying the French president having the most10.[91][117]

A detachment of 26 cadets from the Irish Defense Forces, performed, at the request of Jackie Kennedy, a silent solemn graveside drill known as the Queen Anne Drill. This is the first, and only, time that a foreign army has been invited to deliver honors at the graveside of a US President.[137][138]

At the end of the burial services, the widow lit an eternal flame to burn continuously over his grave.[122] At 3:34 p.m. EST, the casket containing his remains was lowered into the Wilbert "Triune" grave vault, a more than 3.000 lbs heavy air- and water-tight copper-lined concrete burial receptacle in the Arlington ground, as "Kennedy slipped out of mortal sightout of sight but not out of heart and mind."[131] Kennedy thus became only the second president to be buried at Arlington, after William Howard Taft, which meant that, at that time, the two most recent presidents to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda were buried at Arlington.[60][139] Kennedy was buried at Arlington exactly two weeks to the day he last visited there, when he came for Veterans Day observances.[139][140]


See also


Inline citations
  1. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, pp. 35
  2. Raymond, Jack (November 23, 1963). "President's Body Will Lie in State". The New York Times. p. 1.
  3. 1 2 Associated Press 1963, pp. 3637, 5657, 68
  4. Associated Press 1963, p. 79
  5. Healy, Robert L. (November 25, 1963). "All Night Long They Came". The Boston Globe. p. 1.
  6. 1 2 3 Wicker, Tom (November 26, 1963). "Kennedy Laid to Rest in Arlington". The New York Times. p. 1.
  7. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine, pp. 122127
  8. Associated Press 1963, pp. 2930
  9. Associated Press 1963, pp. 3031
  10. Heymann 1998, pp. 349350
  11. NBC News 1966, pp. 22, 26
  12. 1 2 3 Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 188
  13. Chapman, William (November 27, 1963). "Tense Hours of Planning Assured Kennedy Rites' Flawless Precision". The Washington Post. p. A5.
  14. "Shriver Decided Funeral Details". The New York Times. November 26, 1963. p. 8.
  15. NBC News 1966, pp. 28, 38
  16. 1 2 Associated Press 1963, p. 40
  17. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, pp. 5253
  18. Kenworthy, E.W. (November 24, 1963). "Johnson Orders Day of Mourning". New York Times. p. 1.
  19. "Government Offices Closed by President". The Washington Post. November 24, 1963. p. A15.
  20. NBC News 1966, pp. 7273
  21. 1 2 Chapman, William (November 25, 1963). "217-Man Cortege Takes Body to Hill". The Washington Post. p. A2.
  22. Lowens, Irving (December 1, 1963). "Accurate Listing of Funeral music". The Washington Star. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  23. The day America watched a son's final salute, New York Daily News November 17, 2013.
  24. John F. Kennedy Fast Facts: Funeral Music
  25. Associated Press 1963, p. 31
  26. Raymond, Jack (November 24, 1963). "Kennedy's Body Lies in the White House". New York Times. p. 1.
  27. 1 2 Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 190
  28. Kinney, Doris G.; Smith, Marcia; Moser, Penny Ward (November 1983). "4 days that stopped America; the Kennedy assassination, 20 years later". Life. 6 (24): 48.
  29. Estimations: comparative 48oz double lid bronze caskets weigh between 300 and 500 lbs; Kennedy's body weight was somewhere between 150 and 200 lbs.
  30. "JFK's Coffin Dumped At Sea",, June 1, 1999
  31. E.g. only 20% of the wood was accepted as meeting the "select grade" standard of the company for ribbon-grained mahogany. All casket parts were assembled with copper nails and brass screws exclusively. The company claimed that the amount of mahogany used in each "Seven-Ten" casket was about 140 board feet - an equivalent of almost 3.700 square feet of veneer, enough for some 200 dining tables. The finishing process, which took about three weeks, consisted of 12 different operations and included the application of at least 5 layers of sealer and lacquer as well as 3 to 4 hours of hand-rubbing. See: information sheet of the Marsellus casket company, filed in the JFK-Library archive
  32. Gawler charged 2460 $ for the casket, which had a wholesale price of about 500 $ at that time, respectively of some 800 $ including an inner solid bronze inner liner; the current successor to the Marsellus 710, Batesville's "President", is offered at prices between 6.000 and 13.000 $ (the latter figure including a highly ornamental carved top) according to the price-quotations of several funeral homes and online-casket shops in 2014; inner bronze liners are not available for the "President" model
  33. Associated Press 1963, p. 36
  34. Associated Press 1963, pp. 3637
  35. Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 189
  36. Associated Press (November 28, 1963). "Closed Coffin Explained by White House". The Washington Post. p. B8.
  37. United Press International (November 27, 1963). "Mrs. Kennedy's Opposition To Open Coffin Explained". The New York Times. p. 18.
  38. Robertson, Nan (November 24, 1963). "Children Learn Father Is Dead; Mother Returns to White House". The New York Times. p. 3.
  39. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, p. 45
  40. Hamblin, Dora Jane (December 6, 1963). "Mrs. Kennedy's Decisions Shaped all the Solemn Pageantry". Life. 55 (23): 4849.
  41. NBC News 1966, pp. 30, 35
  42. Associated Press 1963, p. 68
  43. 1 2 Mossman & Stark 1971, pp. 190191
  44. Santo Pietro, Mary Jo (2002). Father Hartke: His Life and Legacy to the American Theater. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press.
  45. White 1965, p. 14
  46. Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 191
  47. Spivak, Alvin (November 23, 1963). "Kennedy body lies in repose in East Room". United Press International. Former president Herbert Hoover, who has been ill in recent months, will not be able to attend.
  48. "Hoover Jr. Will Represent Father at Funeral Service". The New York Times. November 24, 1963. p. 11.
  49. United Press International (November 24, 1963). "Hoover's Sons to Pay Honors for Father". The Chicago Tribune. p. 11.
  50. Doolittle, Jerry (November 24, 1963). "Those Who Knew Him Best Throng To White House Under Somber Skies". The Washington Post. p. A4. Outside the White House the sidewalk, kept clear by police, glistened empty in the rain. A scattering of sodden watchers stood across Pennsylvania Ave.
  51. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, p. 58
  52. Lardner Jr., George (November 24, 1963). "People Appear Puzzled, Lost As They Wander in the Rain". The Washington Post. p. A4.
  53. Associated Press 1963, pp. 5657
  54. Friendly, Alfred (November 25, 1963). "300,000 Join in Tributes to Kennedy As Notables Arrive for Funeral Today". The Washington Post. p. A1.
  55. 1 2 3 Wicker, Tom (November 25, 1963). "Grieving Throngs View Kennedy Bier". The New York Times. p. 1.
  56. White 1965, p. 16
  57. 1 2 3 Hunter, Marjorie (November 25, 1963). "Mrs. Kennedy Leads Public Mourning". The New York Times. p. 1.
  58. Associated Press 1963, p. 81
  59. Mudd 2008, p. 131
  60. 1 2 United Press International (November 26, 1963). "Kennedy is 6th President to Lie in Capitol Rotunda". The New York Times. p. 7.
  61. Warden, Philip (November 24, 1963). "Body to Lie in State Today at Capitol". The Chicago Tribune. p. 3.
  62. 1 2 3 4 Franklin, Ben A. (November 26, 1963). "250,000 Mourners File Silently Past Coffin in Capitol's Rotunda During 18 Hours". The New York Times. p. 10.
  63. Associated Press (November 25, 1963). "Thousands Pass Bier at Night Despite the Cold and Long Wait". The New York Times. p. 2.
  64. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, pp. 94, 97, 99
  65. 1 2 Associated Press 1963, p. 91
  66. Heymann 1998, p. 352
  67. Associated Press (November 25, 1963). "Mrs. Kennedy Revisits Bier". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1.
  68. NBC News 1966, pp. 122123
  69. Adams, Val (November 26, 1963). "Back to Normal for Radio and TV". The New York Times. p. 75. NBC...for five hours yesterday morning (2 to 7 a.m.)...televised only one scene. It came from a stationary camera focused on the thousands filing past the bier of President Kennedy in the Capitol rotunda.
  70. NBC News 1966, p. 131
  71. 1 2 Mudd 2008, p. 132
  72. 1 2 Cornell, Douglas B. (November 26, 1963). "Kennedy Laid to Final Rest". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. p. 1.
  73. Frankel, Max (November 25, 1963). "Officials of Nearly 100 Lands in U.S.They Will Meet Johnson". The New York Times. p. 1.
  74. 1 2 Duscha, Julius (November 25, 1963). "Kings, Presidents and Premiers Here". The Washington Post. p. A1.
  75. Rusk, Dean (1990). Rusk, Richard; Papp, Daniel S., eds. As I Saw It. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 321322. ISBN 0-393-02650-7.
  76. Ball, George W. (1982). The past has another pattern: memoirs (1st ed.). New York: Norton.
  77. Tanner, Henry (November 25, 1963). "Mikoyan Flies to Washington As Russians Praise Kennedy". The New York Times. p. 7.
  78. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, pp. 140141
  79. Franklin, Ben A. (November 25, 1963). "Dignitaries Pose Big Security Risk". New York Times. p. 7.
  80. 1 2 3 Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 198
  81. Associated Press (November 25, 1963). "Funeral Processtion to Begin at 10:30 a.m.". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1.
  82. 1 2 Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 205
  83. State Department 1963, p. 1
  84. Pakenham, Michael (November 25, 1963). "President's Body Lies in the Capitol". The Chicago Tribune. p. 1.
  85. Mossman & Stark 1971, pp. 200, 203
  86. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, p. 139
  87. 1 2 3 Raymond, Jack (November 26, 1963). "Riderless Horse an Ancient Tradition". The New York Times. p. 10.
  88. Mossman & Stark 1971, pp. 201, 202, 205
  89. Malin, Brendan (November 26, 1963). "Why Irish Guards Were Invited". The Boston Globe. p. 15.
  90. 1 2 United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, p. 99
  91. 1 2 Baker, Russell (November 26, 1963). "Silence Is Everywhere as Thronged Capital Bids Farewell to President Kennedy". The New York Times. p. 4.
  92. "1 Million Line District Streets". The Washington Post. November 26, 1963. p. A2.
  93. Gould, Jack (November 26, 1963). "TV: A Chapter of Honor". The New York Times. p. 11. In every way but physical presence, untold millions of persons joined in yesterday's final rites for President Kennedy.
  94. White 1965, pp. 1617
  95. 1 2 3 Shepard, Richard F. (November 26, 1963). "Television Pools Camera Coverage". The New York Times. p. 11.
  96. Mudd 2008, p. 130
  97. 1 2 3 "Timetable of the Kennedy Funeral and Procession". New York Times. November 26, 1963. p. 4.
  98. Jackman, Frank (November 25, 1963). "Quarter of a million people file past Kennedy bier". United Press International.
  99. NBC News 1966, p. 133
  100. Morris, John D. (November 26, 1963). "Both Houses of Congress Meet to Adopt Resolutions of Sorrow on Kennedy Death". The New York Times. p. 7.
  101. Warden, Philip (November 26, 1963). "Red Rose Marks Kennedy's Senate Desk". The Chicago Tribune. p. A6.
  102. State Department Protocol 1963, p. 1
  103. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, p. 100
  104. 1 2 Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 206
  105. NBC News 1966, p. 139
  106. NBC News 1966, pp. 126, 139
  107. 1 2 United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, p. 114
  108. Falacci, Frank (November 25, 1963). "Only Solemn Father Remains in Hyannis". The Boston Globe. p. 4.
  109. NBC News 1966, pp. 139140
  110. 1 2 3 4 Miller, Merle (1980). Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: Putnam.
  111. Johnson, Lyndon (1971). The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  112. 1 2 NBC News 1966, p. 140
  113. Duscha, Julius (November 26, 1963). "Mighty World Rulers Pay Humble Tribute". The Washington Post. p. A1.
  114. Associated Press 1963, p. 93
  115. Lewis, Alfred E. (November 26, 1963). "Net of Security Blankets Washington". The Washington Post. p. A12.
  116. Associated Press (November 26, 1963). "Maximum Security At Funeral". The Boston Globe. p. 20.
  117. 1 2 "Security for de Gaulle Is Tightest in Big Four". The Washington Post. November 26, 1963. p. C13.
  118. The Dallas Morning News (1990). November 22: The Day Remembered. Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 0-87833-711-3.
  119. United Press International (November 26, 1963). "Satellite Puts Rites On All-Europe TV". The Boston Globe. p. 26.
  120. 1 2 3 Reuters (November 26, 1963). "Telstar Carries Rites". The Chicago Tribune. p. 10.
  121. United Press International (December 6, 1963). "Mrs. Kennedy Gives Son A Delayed Birthday Party". The New York Times. p. 18.
  122. 1 2 3 Smith, Merriman (November 26, 1963). "America Buries a Martyred President". The Boston Globe. United Press International. p. 1.
  123. Cassels, Louis (November 26, 1963). "Cardinal Buries a Dear Friend". The Boston Globe. United Press International. p. 1.
  124. 1 2 3 Associated Press 1963, p. 94
  125. 1 2 NBC News 1966, p. 126
  126. Fenton, John H. (January 20, 1964). "Boston Symphony Plays for Requiem Honoring Kennedy". The New York Times. p. 1.
  127. 1 2 Spivak, Alvin (November 26, 1963). "Eternal flame burns at Kennedy gravesite". United Press International. At the mass, the Most Reverend Philip Hannan, auxiliary bishop of Washington, read from the fallen president's inaugural address and from his favorite biblical passages. This was the closest approach to a eulogy in the funeral service.
  128. Johnson, Haynes; Witcover, Jules (January 26, 1973). "LBJ Buried in Beloved Texas Hills". The Washington Post. p. A1.
  129. United Press International & American Heritage Magazine 1964, p. 142
  130. Manchester, William (1967). The Death of A President. New York: Harper & Row. p. 548.
  131. 1 2 3 Associated Press 1963, p. 96
  132. Andrews, Robert M (November 25, 1963). "A little soldier's salute". United Press International.
  133. Flegenheimer, Matt (March 5, 2012). "Stan Stearns, 76; Captured a Famous Salute". The New York Times. p. B10.
  134. Lewis, Anthony (November 26, 1963). "Mrs. Kennedy Maintains a Stoic Dignity Throughout Final Hours of Public Grief". The New York Times. p. 5.
  135. Mossman & Stark 1971, p. 210
  136. United Press International (November 26, 1963). "Funeral Traffic Delays Leaders". New York Times. p. 8.
  139. 1 2 NBC News 1966, p. 149
  140. Associated Press (November 26, 1963). "Kennedy Visited Arlington Nov. 11". New York Times. p. 10.

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