An acre in Surrey is forever America in memory of president shot 30 ears ago today

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE DEATH of John F Kennedy 30 years ago will be recalled today on a hillside by the river Thames at Runnymede, Surrey, a stone's throw from where Magna Carta was signed.

The British Government and people, as shocked as the rest of the world by his assassination in Dallas on 22 November 1963, erected a plain stone for the president. An 'acre of English ground given to the United States of America by the people of Britain . . . .'. , the inscription reads.

Otherwise, the monument, cracking slightly on the surface and soon to be patched up, lets Kennedy's inaugural address speak for itself, remembering the ideals that inspired people, rather than the slightly tarnished reputation of the man. 'Let every nation know whether it wishes us well or ill that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend and oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and success of liberty.'

Today, Lord Quinton, the chairman of the Kennedy Memorial trustees, will mark the anniversary with the placing of a single wreath, without pomp or ceremony.

Yesterday, one red rose had been placed on the memorial. People were drawn to the spot to stand quietly, reading the familiar words surrounded by light snow on the ground, a constant murmur of traffic in the background and the river meandering past.

'Sarah, look, it says 22 November 1963. Today's date is is 21 November 1993 . . .' Stephen Jones, 43, was pointing out the memorial to his eight-year-old daughter, who stared for a few moments before skipping off to look closer.

He was at Boy Scouts in Kettering when he heard the news. 'It was a Friday night. One boy arrived late and told us all. They talked about it a bit, but went on with the meeting. Then we all went home and watched it on TV.'

Motorcade sped on, page 21

(Photograph omitted)