Not a few people snapped photos with their smartphones -- a device unimaginable a half-century ago -- then turned around to take in the panoramic view across the Potomac River to the Lincoln Memorial.
In doing so, they could reflect on quotations from Kennedy inscribed in granite around the elliptical plaza where a gas-fueled eternal flame burns in his memory.
Buried next to Kennedy is his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and their youngest child Patrick, who died two days after his premature birth. A space marked "daughter" remembers the couple's stillborn baby Arabella.
Nearby are the simple graves of Kennedy's brothers -- Robert Kennedy, assassinated in 1966 while campaigning for the presidency, and Ted Kennedy, who died aged 77 in 2009 after close to 47 years in the Senate. (AFP)