It’s hard to believe that 2018 will mark the 55th anniversary of an American tragedy: the assassination of an American president in Dallas, Texas. On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was killed by a sniper during a parade. It really shook the country, if not the world, as he was young, 46, and popular with a wife and small children.
It turns out that the site was not far from where our summit meeting was last week. So after the meeting was over on Thursday, a group of us made the several block walk down to Dealy Plaza where it happened.
Here is the former Texas School Book Depository where the sniper, Lee Harvey Oswald, did the shooting. He was on the sixth floor and shot from the window on the far right. There is a small white piece of paper to show his exact spot. This building is still some local government building. But on the sixth and seventh floors is a museum about the event. Good call. I couldn’t imagine working on the sixth floor after that.
This is at the place called Dealey Plaza. There is a description of what took place on the marker behind the guys. The others are on the edge looking out on the street where the car was.
This is where it happened, X marks the spot. He was shot twice. There is another X a little ways away. Real Kennedy assassination students will recall the Zapruder film. That is a video shot by parade watcher Abraham Zapruder that caught the bullets impact. It was widely studied as evidence after the assassination took place. He was actually standing on that white block extending outward on the left of that tall door-looking space. And this is also the so-called “grassy knoll” where it was thought that there was a second shooter. All these years later it has never been totally resolved to everyone’s satisfaction that Oswald acted alone. I think this is where the term “conspiracy theory” started. Or took off.
So of course we had to go through the museum. Unfortunately you can’t take pictures on the sixth floor. It has a pictorial history of the Kennedy election and events leading up to the assassination, and then the aftermath. They actually have the corner where Oswald acted walled off with glass, and left exactly as it was. This picture was taken from the same corner of the building, but on the seventh floor where you can take pictures. So the parade procession came from the street on the left between the two red brick buildings, and turned this way onto Houston Street. Then a short distance to that crosswalk, where they turned left onto Elm Street. That brick building back on the left and the lighter one next to it is the county jail where they took Oswald after he was arrested that same day. And two days later he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in that building as he was being taken to county jail. It too was caught on film. And this all added to the conspiracy theory. That white fountain across the street is Dealey Plaza where we were earlier.
And this is looking down Elm Street where Oswald aimed and sent his lethal shots. You can see an X on the street. Of course the trees are much larger now. But this is the view. Immediately after, the limousine convertible sped ahead to a nearby hospital.
This is an actual flag that flew at half staff over the U.S. capitol. They had a picture of it flying back then. It is a large flag going nearly from floor to ceiling in this tall room.
So that was an interesting visit into history. I was 7 years old when that happened. I really don’t remember much other than the quiet sorrow it put over everyone around. Of course I knew all about it later growing up. But I never thought I would actually ever be where it happened. There were a number of people at the plaza and in the museum, so it’s still something important even now. And the Agro group I was with was aware of what happened here and who it was, even though most were born years later. So that’s good. Even Zouheir, who was a youngster in Syria when it happened was familiar with this part of American history. Interesting. That picture of Jack and Jackie Kennedy at the top was from the seventh floor and also went from floor to ceiling. It was a very moving experience to see this place.