The Eternal Flame.
The Eternal Flame

JFK's Eternal Flame and Grave

Field review by the editors.

Arlington, Virginia

The eternal flame at the burial site of John F. Kennedy was First Lady Jackie's idea, supposedly inspired by a similar grave flame that she'd seen in fashionable Paris. She lit the flame herself, with a gas-soaked rag on a stick, at the conclusion of JFK's burial. It was engineered literally overnight from a tiki torch, and for years it remained a relatively crude mound disguising a gas pipe. Millions of mourners and tourists paid their respects at what became a focal point of Arlington National Cemetery.

The grave site was finally upgraded in 1967, and that eternal flame burned until 1998, when it was retired to the National Museum of Funeral History, where it's displayed with a flickering candle bulb. The replacement flame was itself replaced in 2013.

Despite its "eternal" reputation the flame has gone out from time to time, but never for very long.

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JFK's Eternal Flame and Grave

Arlington National Cemetery

Sheridan Drive, Arlington, VA
I-395 exit 8-B (Arlington National Cemetery) to Hwy 27. Stay in the left lane until reaching the traffic circle (on the Virginia side of the Memorial Bridge). Bear right in the left lane around the traffic the circle to Memorial Drive. You will see the Arlington House at the cemetery on the hill ahead. Follow signs to visitor parking. Go to the Welcome Center and get walking directions to JFK's grave.
Daily summer 8-7, off-season 8-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Unheralded Grave of Robert KennedyUnheralded Grave of Robert Kennedy, Arlington, VA - < 1 mi.
Grave of Black Jack, the Riderless HorseGrave of Black Jack, the Riderless Horse, Fort Myer, VA - < 1 mi.
Dark Star ParkDark Star Park, Arlington, VA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
La Plata Tornado Memorial Garden, La Plata, MD - 25 mi.

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August 15, 2020

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