top of page

President Kennedy Pays Respects to Military Dead

May 30, 1963 - President Kennedy, like many another American, went to a cemetery to pay his respects and remember the nation’s military dead. President Kennedy, himself a veteran of sea fighting in a great war, silently led the country’s annual Memorial Day observance by placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Ceremony. Then, following the formal ceremonial at the tomb, the President motored a quarter mile to the grave of James Forrestal, first Secretary of Defense. A multitude who had come to the cemetery to decorate the graves of their own dead or who were tourists stood nearby to watch the brief ceremony at the tomb. They saw the President, but four persons met him. By chance, they happened to be near the Forrestal grave. As he left the grave, Mr. Kennedy stopped and shook hands with each of the surprised four, three of them in a family from Mexico City, the other a man from Detroit, Roland Leader.


bottom of page