Posts Tagged ‘The White House Peace Vigil’

John F. Kennedy's Homes in D.C.

John F. Kennedy’s Homes in D.C.

Because he was so young when he was assassinated in 1963, it is difficult to picture John F. Kennedy as anything but a relatively young man.  But had he lived, John F. Kennedy would have turned 97 years old today. To mark the occasion, I decided to go on a JFK-themed bike ride.

I could have ridden back out to Arlington National Cemetery to see The Eternal Flame at his gravesite. Or I could have ridden to Dallas where he was assassinated, although that would have taken more time than I had. But instead of allowing the emphasis to be on his death, I wanted the ride to focus on his life.  So I decided to ride to where he lived, or at least where he lived while he was in D.C.

Prior to being elected President, Kennedy served for six years in the House of Representatives, and then eight years in the U.S. Senate.  During those different times living in the nation’s capital, he lived in six different houses. On today’s ride I tracked them all down to see the places where he lived. It was a great day for a ride, and worth the trip to see these historical houses.

Kennedy had a preference for living in Georgetown, so all of his residences were in that neighborhood except his last one, which was downtown at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  His first D.C. home, as seen in the photo above, was at 3307 N Street (MAP).  His subsequent homes, depicted in order in the photographs below, were located at 1528 31st Street (MAP), 2808 P. Street (MAP), 3321 Dent Place (MAP), and at 1400 34th Street (MAP).

And, of course, his last and most famous residence in D.C., and where he was living at the time he died, was located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (MAP), and is named The White House.

JFKhouse02     JFKhouse01     JFKhouse04     JFKhouse05

JFK06

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ProtestWhiteHouse01

The White House Peace Vigil

The national capital city routinely hosts a variety of protests.  Some are one-time events, while others are ongoing.  And they range in size from hundreds of thousands to just a few.  From marches down Pennsylvania Avenue to crowds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building, there is almost always multiple protests taking place in D.C. on any given day.  Currently the longest-running protest in the city, and perhaps the longest-running protest in United States history, is The White House Peace Vigil.

Located in Lafayette Square Park (MAP) across from the northern portico of the executive mansion, the White House Peace Vigil, also sometimes referred to as 1601 Pennsylvania Avenue, is an anti-nuclear weapons peace vigil started by William Thomas Hallenback Jr., better known simply as Thomas, in June of 1981.   Concepción Picciotto, known as Connie, joined Thomas in the protest in August of the same year.  At times over the years, various other activists have helped man the vigil.  And despite Thomas’ death in 2009, the vigil still continues to be maintained around-the-clock by the tiny and weather-worn 77-year-old Conchita, along with other volunteers.

Over the last 33 years the protest display has been a fixture outside the White House, but there have been two incidents when the anti-war protest display that is a fixture outside the White House has been temporarily removed.  It is routinely moved back from the White House and further into Lafayette Park during Presidential inaugural parades, as well as during times of heightened security and other limited occasions.  But it was actually shut down twice last fall after volunteers abandoned the watch during the night and the display was left unattended in violation of the laws that regulate protest efforts on Federal land.  U.S. Park Police dismantled the small, makeshift encampment and seized the protest materials after the volunteers walked away during the night.  When other volunteers arrived to man it during the morning shifts, the vigil was gone.  Both times the materials were retrieved from the Park Police, which had placed them in a Park Police storage facility for safekeeping, and he vigil was continued.

And it still does today.

UPDATE (1/26/2016):  Sadly, Connie passed away at the aged of 80 on January 25, 2016, at N Street Village, a non-profit organization that supports homeless women in D.C.  However, others have vowed that the White House Peace Vigil will go on.