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.

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JFK's Rejected Grave Slab

Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County

Address:
95 Church St., Newport, RI
Directions:
South side of Church St., next to the building entrance steps.
Admission:
Free
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May 21, 2019

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