Together, Side by Side

updated 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

LIKE JACKIE HERSELF, IT SEEMED flawlessly tasteful, without fanfare or ceremony. When workers at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia laid a headstone for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on Oct. 7, there was no public ceremony marking the occasion. But, as in life, Jackie couldn't escape attention for long. Last week, hundreds called at the grave site she shares with President John F. Kennedy and two of their children (an unnamed stillborn daughter delivered in 1956 and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who died of respiratory problems two days after his birth in August 1963). "We admired and loved her," said visitor Pat Fitzpatrick of Pittsburgh.

Arlington superintendent John Metzler Jr. estimates that 4.5 million tourists will visit the site this year, a half a million more than in 1993.

Jackie's marker—a 54-by-30-inch plaque of starkly black Maine slate—is identical to the one atop JFK's grave. Both slabs were created by Rhode Island stonecutter John Benson. Observed visitor Martha Jenkins of Reston, Va.: "The simplicity of it makes it even more impressive. I think that's the kind of life they wanted to live—with a lot of dignity." Jackie once said she decided to have JFK buried at Arlington because "he belongs to the people." Now, so does she.

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