60 years since JFK: Places to visit around the world that honour the US President

On the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, we take a closer look at some of the landmarks in the USA and around the world that were created in memory of the 35th President…

Jessica Reid
21 November 2023

On the 22 November 1963, the 35th President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy, was riding in a roofless vehicle through downtown Dallas when he was shot and killed in broad daylight, sending shockwaves across the world. On the 60th anniversary of this tragic event, we explore the places across the USA – and some other unexpected destinations – that commemorate JFK, from a Presidential library to moving memorials.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, Dallas, Texas

The white cube-shaped John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza (Shutterstock)

Created in 1970 by architect and friend of JFK, Philip Johnson, the JFK Memorial Plaza was constructed just around the corner from Dealey Plaza, the location where JFK lost his life. The white, cube-shaped structure, made up of 72 ‘floating’ concrete columns, is now considered a key cultural landmark in the city. The cenotaph was designed to represent President Kennedy’s free spirit, and a large slab of granite has been placed in the centre reading his name. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the only place in Dallas featured on our list.

The Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, Texas

Inside The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (Shutterstock)

A single memorial didn’t feel like enough to honour President Kennedy in Dallas, especially as so many people were visiting the city to learn more about the historic day. That’s why on President’s Day in 1989, The Sixth Floor Museum opened on Dealey Plaza. This cultural centre has photography and artefact exhibits, detailed first-hand accounts and short video clips that focus on the assassination and legacy of JFK. The main exhibit, John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation can be found on the sixth floor.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, Brookline, Massachusetts

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site is the President’s childhood home (Shutterstock)

John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, just outside Boston, on the 29 May 1917 and spent his first three years there before the family moved to a bigger house nearby. Now, visitors to Brookline can visit his childhood home at 83 Beals Street and be transported back in time to his early years, and get an insight into his upbringing, and how this inspired him to have a life in public service. His mother, Rose Kennedy, bought back the house in 1966 and recreated the home as it was in the 1960s to reflect her son’s childhood memories growing up. The property was designated a National Historic Site in 1967 and is open seasonally or by arrangement.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, Boston

Outside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum (Shutterstock)

There are 15 Presidential Libraries in the USA, and the John. F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum is one of them. Based in Boston, which is so associated with JFK’s life, the museum is home to exhibits that document the 35th President’s legacy, with high-quality projections, interactive displays and physical artefacts telling the story of his early life, plus his 1,000 days in office. There’s also a permanent exhibit on his wife titled First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Little is mentioned of that fateful day in 1963, but this thoughtful quote appears on one of the museum’s walls –  “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”

The Kennedy Homestead, Ireland

The entrance to Kennedy Homestead in Country Wexford (Alamy)

Places to honour JFK outside the USA

The Runnymede Memorial, Windsor, UK

The Runnymede Memorial (Alamy)

The USA has close links with the Irish, and that’s no less true for the 35th President of the United States of America. JFK’s four grandparents were all children of Irish immigrants escaping the devastating potato famine in Ireland – one of which was Patrick Kennedy. Born in 1823, his home in County Wexford has now transformed into a unique cultural museum, with exhibits which provide understanding of Patrick Kennedy as he embarked on his journey to Boston in 1848, and celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty who went on to become America’s most famous family. The land is still owned and farmed by descendants of the Kennedy family today.

There are several memorials for President Kennedy in the UK, but by far the most prominent is Windsor’s Runnymede Memorial. This large Portland stone plaque was designed by landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and erected on a symbolic area of land donated to the United States of America by the late Queen Elizabeth II, in memory of JFK. The Queen inaugurated the site in in 1965 in the presence of Prime Minister Harold Wilson and First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy. Runnymede was the selected site for the memorial due to the signing of the Magna Carta taking place here, and its connection to the American constitution. It’s now maintained by the Kennedy Memorial Trust and the National Trust, and is free to visit.

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