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Vandals try to remove stones at JFK gravesite

JFK's grave December 20, 1997
Web posted at: 11:17 p.m. EST (0417 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vandals tried, and failed, to remove granite paving stones from the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery.

The damage was discovered Saturday morning by cemetery officials, who found landscaping disturbed around both the gravesite and the Eternal Flame commemorating the president.

The tombstones of Kennedy, his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and their two infant children buried at Arlington were not disturbed. Nor was there any damage to the eternal flame.

Officer Alan Griffith of the U.S. Park Police said the vandals dug into the grass around the paving stones that ring the graves, apparently trying to remove them.

"When they discovered how big they were, they just gave up," Griffith said. The vandals have not been apprehended.

The stones extend several feet down, weight 500 pounds each and are anchored to each other, Griffith said.

The nearby gravesite of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the president's slain brother, was undisturbed.

The Kennedy graves are the most visited site in the 612-acre military cemetery, located across the Potomac River from Washington.


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