Monday, May 26, 2014



"The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it.  And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission."
                                                                                                                               John F. Kennedy
Arlington, Virginia (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy, accompanied by 2 1/2 year old John F. Kennedy, Jr. attended a Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1963, 51 years ago.

Tragically, it would be President Kennedy's last Memorial Day.

The President laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and also paid his respects at the grave of the first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal*.

       JFK at Arlington National Cemetery
                              May 30, 1963
                   Photo by Cecil Stoughton
                          JFK Library Image

The Tomb of the Unknowns contains the remains of unknown American soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.

                   Tomb of the Unknowns
             Arlington National Cemetery
                 Photo by Raul654 (2004)

The Tomb is guarded every day of the year by members of the United States Army, 3rd Infantry Division.  

The main tomb has the following inscription:

"Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

            Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
            Arlington National Cemetery

*James Forrestal (1892-1949) was born in Matteawan, New York.  He was educated at Dartmouth College and Princeton where he was voted 'Most Likely to Succeed.'

Forrestal was a naval aviator in WWI and became FDR's administrative assistant in 1940.  He later served as undersecretary of the Navy and was appointed the 1st secretary of the newly christened DEFENSE DEPARTMENT by Harry S Truman.

JF died from a fall from his room in the high tower of Bethesda Medical Center where he was undergoing treatment for mental depression.

                             James Forrestal
                        1st Defense Secretary