JOHN F. KENNEDY AND THE AMERICAN FLAG
The Flag of the United States of America
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Every President of the United States, from George Washington to Barack Obama, is associated with the American Flag, but this is especially so for John Fitzgerald Kennedy.*
*The Continental Congress adopted the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by stipulating that...
"the flag of the United States shall be 13 alternate stripes red and white" and"that the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
John F. Kennedy was born when our flag had 48 stars, on May 29, 1917 and just after the United States entered the First World War.
When he was enlisted in the United States Navy in WWII, Lt. j.g. John F. Kennedy took the oath of allegiance facing the American Flag and the flag was flown proudly from the deck of the PT109 he commanded in the South Pacific.
John F. Kennedy Library Photo
^This flag flew on PT109 during JFK's command from April-August 1943. It was removed by crew member Charles Harris in Tulagi Harbor when the boat was being overhauled in July 1943. Souce: JFK Library.
As President of the United States, the American Flag as well as the Presidential Flag were always positioned behind him at his desk in the oval office or at the podium of his news conferences and speeches.
In his first year as President, JFK issued a proclamation directing that the flag of the United States be "displayed on all government buildings on (Flag Day) June 14, 1961."
The proclamation reads....
"The American flag is emblematic of a Nation indivisible although its people are of diverse ethnic strains, races and religions; and
Our flag symbolizes the ideals of freedom, justice and brotherhood which are deeply rooted in our political and spiritual traditions and which have helped our country become a land of progress and a rampart of liberty; and
In combat our flag has always been a guide and inspiration to our armed forces...".
As he rode through the streets of Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, an American Flag flew at the front of his car, and when his casket arrived at the White House in the early morning hours of November 23, 1963, an American Flag covered it.
It was that American Flag that thousands of people saw as they paid their respects in the rotunda of the Capitol on November 24, 1963, and which millions more saw around the world on television.
And it was that American Flag which was carefully folded by the Honor Guard and presented to Mrs. Kennedy "in behalf of a grateful Nation" on November 25, 1963 in Arlington National Cemetery.
When visitors come to to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, they see a 26 x 45 foot American Flag hanging in the Pavilion.^^
^^The Star Spangled Banner which flew over Ft. McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812 is 30 x 42 feet.
The American Flag
at the JFK Library
JFK Library Photo