Skip to Main Content

JFK's rejected grave slab.

JFK's Rejected Grave Slab

Field review by the editors.

Newport, Rhode Island

In 1965, stone carver John E. "Fud" Benson of Newport was commissioned to surround the grave of John F. Kennedy with quotes from his famous 1961 inaugural address, engraved in granite. He eventually carved them into a wall that still encircles the grave, but earlier he had tried breaking up the speech into five separate slabs. That approach was rejected, and, somehow, one of the slabs ended up here.

Kennedy's speech is best known for its ringing, "My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." This slab is inscribed with the less-memorable follow-up line: "My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you." (Followed by, "But what together we can do for the freedom of man.") The wall at JFK's grave was restored in 2010, but the obsolete slab in Newport has stained and weathered, apparently the last survivor of a tribute to a speech that went on a little too long.

Roadside Presidents
Roadside Presidents App for iPhone. Find this attraction and more: museums, birthplaces, graves of the Chief Execs, first ladies, pets, assassins and wannabes. Prez bios and oddball trivia. Available on the App Store.

JFK's Rejected Grave Slab

Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County

95 Church St., Newport, RI
South side of Church St., next to the building entrance steps.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Mystery Tower of NewportMystery Tower of Newport, Newport, RI - < 1 mi.
Newport Tower MuseumNewport Tower Museum, Newport, RI - < 1 mi.
Bronze Organ Grinder and MonkeyBronze Organ Grinder and Monkey, Newport, RI - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Narragansett Rune Stone, Wickford, RI - 9 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Rhode Island

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Rhode Island.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Rhode Island Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana (May 20-26, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Favorite Quirky City Sights