BOSTON -- An 8-foot bronze likeness of President Kennedy, striding with one hand in his suit pocket, will become the first formal Statehouse tribute to Massachusetts' slain native son, officials said Thursday.
The sculpture, designed by Concord artist Isabel McIlvain, was selected from among hundreds of proposals received during a nationwide competition. It will be formally dedicated on May 29, 1989, the 72nd anniversary of Kennedy's birth.
The finished version will stand on the Statehouse's west lawn, ironically in full view of a statue of Henry Cabot Lodge Sr., the grandfather of the man Kennedy defeated to win his Senate seat in 1952.
'There are many memorials to my father in this country and around the world. But of all of them, this one, from the people of the state he loved, would have meant the most,' said Caroline Kennedy, 30, who represented the family in the lengthy effort to select a winning design.
The plaster model unveiled depicts a classic Kennedy pose -- walking with one hand in his suit coat pocket, his other arm held close to his side.
Longtime Kennedy aide Dave Powers told a Statehouse audience the sculpture 'captures the spirit, the style and the grace of President John F. Kennedy. 'I'll always picture him striding through history bareheaded and confident.'
Gov. Michael Dukakis, who hoped to follow Kennedy's successful path to the White House, reflected on the inspiration the nation's youngest president provided to future public servants.
'It was an exciting era for those of us who at least had an opportunity to be in his presence,' Dukakis said. 'His example, his inspiration, his commitment to people is something that sustains me.'
Thousands of memorials have been erected to Kennedy since his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. The tributes range from flagpoles, schools and streets to four airports and a performing arts center.
In Massachusetts, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library rises alongside Boston Harbor reflecting Kennedy's love for the sea. But except for a plaque on rostrum in the Masschusetts House chamber, there has been no official state memorial.
That prompted creation of the special legislative commission which commissioned the work and formed the foundation of a fund-raising effort that will be concentrated within Massachusetts.
Fund-raising chairman Donald Dowd said $150,000 will be sought through creation of committees in each of the state's 351 cities and towns. Excess funds will be used for maintenance and the possible creation of a government intern program with the balance.