Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday completed its restoration of the eternal flame at the gravesite of late President John F. Kennedy.
The Associated Press reported that the restoration
began in April, but it took longer than officials had expected. Contractors replaced gas and air lines and installed a new burner assembly and drainage lines below the flame.
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Previously, visitors were able to view a temporary flame at Kennedy's grave.
Kennedy is one of two presidents buried at Arlington National Cemetery and one of only three buried outside of his native state. William Howard Taft was buried at Arlington in 1930, and Woodrow Wilson was buried at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
The eternal flame at the gravesite, which sits at the center of a five-foot circular flat-granite stone at the head of the grave, was originally lit by Jacqueline Kennedy.
There is an electric spark near the tip of the flame's nozzle that relights the gas in case of rain, wind or accidents. Natural gas mixed with a controlled quantity of air creates the color and shape of the flame.
The 3.2-acre site was set aside for Kennedy's grave by the secretary of the Army and is paved with irregular stones of Cape Cod granite, which were quarried around 1817 near the site of Kennedy's home.
Cemetery officials told the Associated Press that new equipment will make it easier for the eternal flame and the gravesite to be maintained.
WRG-TV reported that a temporary flame was used at Kennedy's gravesite
from the November 1963 funeral until the permanent flame was installed in 1967.
Kennedy was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas while riding in a presidential motorcade with the first lady, Texas Gov. John Connally and Connally's wife Nellie through Dealey Plaza.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death.
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