JFK Assassination: 50th Anniversary tributes in D.C.

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - Arlington National Cemetery was a place Friday to reflect on a day that most Americans of a certain age will never forget.

Friday marked 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the streets of Dallas, and a great many Americans can tell you exactly where they were when they learned the news.

"The teacher left the classroom for a moment, came back in and said he'd been shot," Ohio resident Fred Foust, who visited Kennedy's grave at Arlington, said.

President Barack Obama ordered that flags be lowered at government buildings to mark the 50th anniversary of the president's assassination. Later in the morning, Kennedy's gravesite.

A second ceremony was then held in the afternoon at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Kennedy's sole surviving sibling, Jean Kennedy Smith, prayed alongside relatives and left roses at the gravesite and eternal flame. For her and so many others, Friday was just as much about ordinary Americans stopping to pay their respects.

Some remember not just the shock of losing their charismatic, young president, but also the dramatic aftermath. What resonated with so many people at the cemetery, though, is what would have happened had the shooting never come.

"It would have changed the whole country," New York resident Larry Clark opined. "It wouldn't have gone downhill, like I see now it is."

And as another caisson rolled through Arlington for another funeral, America, once again, said goodbye to Camelot.

"It's a time when you just want to reflect," Maryland resident Jerry Quinn said. "Fifty years is a long time. I think he still resonates as a great president."

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