John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s legacy was honored in a commemoration ceremony Wednesday, marking the end of a yearlong centennial celebration of the president’s birth.
The free event, organized by the National Park Service, ran until 4 p.m. at the JFK National Historic Site, the house JFK grew up in, at 83 Beals St. in Brookline. The remembrance falls on the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the 35th president’s birthday on May 29, 1917, and the National Park Service has been pulling out all the stops to celebrate, including a slew of special festivities with community organizations and the town of Brookline.
Jason Atsales, a lead park ranger at the site, said 2017 has been one of the “busiest years at the site since it opened in 1969.”
“With JFK’s centennial celebration, and the release of the JFK files just a few weeks ago, it may have sparked some new interest,” he said.
Wednesday’s ceremony drew around 60 visitors, Atsales said, from Brookline locals to tourists to JFK enthusiasts from around the state.
Visitors had the option to roam the Kennedy house at their leisure, or listen to a guided tour from a recording of Rose Kennedy, JFK’s mother.
There was a short honor ceremony at 2 p.m., which included a wreath-laying, speeches from local dignitaries such as former governor Michael Dukakis, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of taps.
Atsales said the festivities Wednesday were a fitting way to close the celebration of JFK’s 100th birthday, which kicked off in the end of May and has since been emphasizing the respect people have for Kennedy.
“He’s one of our best remembered presidents,” he said. “All presidents have their fair share of admirers and critics, but Kennedy was quite popular when he was president. He offered the country a lot of hope.”