Photo of the Week: Kennedy Memorial

Kennedy Memorial, 1965, v1988.12.4; Otto Dreschmeyer Brooklyn slides,

Kennedy Memorial, 1965, v1988.12.4; Otto Dreschmeyer Brooklyn slides, v1988.012; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Monday was Memorial Day, a federal holiday remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. While Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971, its origins can be traced back to the years after the Civil War. Today, thousands of parades and events take place throughout the country . We hope you took a moment to honor those who have died in service.

The photo of the week depicts the unveiling of the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Grand Army Plaza on May 31, 1965.  You can see the monument behind the red balloon (it looks like a large white box). Kennedy was the thirty-fifth President of the United States. He served as a naval officer during World War II before becoming a United States Congressman from Massachusetts, and later defeating Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. He was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Shortly after, NYC Mayor Robert F. Wagner and Parks Commissioner Newbold Morris moved forward on a proposal for a Kennedy memorial.

Morris Ketchum, Jr. and Associates designed the monument and it was unveiled in a solemn ceremony with Robert F. Kennedy, Mayor Robert F. Wagner, and Borough President Abe Stark in attendance. The monument has undergone some renovations over the years to protect it from weather and vandalism, but it is still standing today. The inscription, “Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country” is featured prominently at the base of the monument. To learn more about the history of the monument, check out this NYC Parks page.

This photograph comes from the Otto Dreschmeyer Brooklyn slides collection comprised of 157 color slides taken by Dreschmeyer between 1965 and 1968. Dreschmeyer was a lifetime resident of 2014 Stanhope Street in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens. Many of the images in this collection document Brooklyn landmarks including Grand Army Plaza and Coney Island attractions, as well as events such as fireworks displays and parades. To view more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m.


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