HOUSTON, TX – As we remember the legacy of John F. Kennedy, the eternal flame at his grave, at Arlinton National Cemetery still burns. Requested by the first lady, Jaqueline Kennedy days before the funeral.
Christopher Layton of the National Museum of Funeral History explains, “Mrs. Kennedy was very, very involved in the plans for her husband`s funeral, and she wanted an eternal flame on his grave much like the eternal flame that marks Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris. And so the first eternal flame was one they had to put together rather quickly, that was lit by Mrs. Kennedy and the President`s brother Robert Kennedy.”
The original flame was very rudimentary, and needed to be modified.
“They realized they were going to have to come up with a better plan, to make sure that the eternal flame was indeed eternal, that it would stay lit.” said Layton
Spark plugs would ensure the flame keeping JFK`s memory alive wouldn`t dim, it burned at his grave site from 1967 t0 1998. Now it rests in Houston, at the National Museum of Funeral History.
A light bulb represents the eternal flame, but the message is still strong.
“His death is one of those things, that no matter where you were, you remember exactly where you were the minute you found out. I think we lost some of our innocence on that day.” recalls Layton
A new design keeps the flame alive at Arlington Cemetery, while we get to keep a little bit of history right here in Houston.