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Obama Opens JFK Tribute with Freedom Medals

Wreath laying at John F. Kennedy gravesite at Arlington National Cemetary
Wreath laying at John F. Kennedy gravesite at Arlington National Cemetary (Twitter)

President Barack Obama has paid tribute to former President John F. Kennedy’s legacy, joining former President Bill Clinton to lay a wreath at Kennedy’s grave.

President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey
President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Obama and Clinton held the hands of Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert F. Kennedy, as they made their way up the stairs at Arlington National Cemetery. First lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined the two presidents as they placed a wreath near the eternal flame that marks Kennedy’s gravesite.

Obama and Clinton placed their hands over their hearts as a bugler played “Taps” near an American flag at half-mast. Obama made no public comments, but greeted Kennedy relatives gathered to honor his legacy ahead of the 50th anniversary of his assassination on Friday.

The daylong tribute began earlier at the White House, where Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on prominent Americans including Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. Kennedy established the modern version of the medal, but was assassinated two weeks before he planned to honor the first group of recipients.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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