The eternal flame at the gravesite of former President John F. Kennedy is undergoing repairs at Arlington National Cemetery.
Before the repairs began, workers used a torch Monday to carry the flame and pass it to a temporary burner that will be visible to tourists at the site while work is underway.
Cemetery officials say the work will take about three weeks and should be completed by late May, when the flame will be passed back to the original site.
A temporary flame was used from the time of Kennedy's November 1963 funeral until the permanent flame was established in 1967. Officials said repairs are needed after more than four decades of use and will include new gas lines and more efficient burners.
The Eternal Flame at the JFK gravesite, which was installed in 1967, is now undergoing significant upgrades to make the flame system more modern, energy efficient and easier to maintain.
--Installing new gas lines, automated controls, new electrical conduit and cable, and an energy-efficient system
--Relocating gas pressure regulators from inside to outside the vault to provide easier maintenance and access, and
--Fabricating new burner assemblies that are naturally aspirated to reduce maintenance and utility costs.
Underground work is now underway.
From approximately the last week of April through the third week of May, visitors to the site will see white fencing to cordon off the work area. During this timeframe, a temporary flame will be installed while the original burner is replaced. This is only the second time a temporary flame has been used at the site. The first time was Nov. 25, 1963, when President Kennedy was laid to rest.
The markers for President Kennedy and his family will be visible during the work; no changes are being made to the gravesites. Once the upgrades are complete, the flame will look as it did previously.
Upgrades are expected to be complete by mid-to-late May 2013.
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