Irish Cadets Honor Guard - JFK 50th Memorial
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Saturday, October 05, 2013
By Jim Rode Dallas Photographer
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In November, we remember the 50th year since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He had visited Ireland earlier that year...and loved it. He promised to return in the Spring, which of course would not happen.

During the visit, he laid a reef of honor and was witness the Irish Cadet brigade performing the Queen Anne's Drill for his visit. He reviewed the cadets with their vintage Lee Enfield rifles and paused and told Lieutenant that it was the finest honor guard he had ever seen.

The day after JFK's death, Jackie Kennedy called the State Department and asked if the Irish cadets could come to Washington to be guard of honor at the grave site.

Never before in American history has a foreign army unit been invited to perform guard duties or a ritual salute for an American presidential funeral in place of the U.S. Army Old Guard.

There are six 8-minute youtube videos that cover this story. It is from the Irish point of view and quite quaint as 17 and 18 year old cadets, many of whom have never been on an airplane, let alone out of the country are recalled to from their monthly 1 day pass to return to barracks and prepare to accompany Ireland's President Eamon de Valera to President Kennedy's funeral. Some of the audio is in english and some is in the Gaelic with english subtitles.

The Old Guard from Ft. Meyer (who provide honor guard duties at Arlington National Cemetery) sent a large photograph of the cadets performing their drill at graveside back to Ireland. It hangs today at the Cadet School in Curragh, Ireland. The 37th cadet class became known as "Kennedy's Class".

If you've got an interest in Arlington National Cemetery, the Old Guard who guards the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Kennedy funeral, or all things Camelot, I think you would enjoy this visit to 1963.

Here are the links:

Video One: 

Video Two:

Video Three:

Video Four:     My recommendation is to start here at Video Four ...then return to Video One.

Video Five:

Video Six: