My view from Dealey Plaza on November 22, 2013

The weather certainly did not reflect the mood that day on Dealey Plaza. It was a bright, sunny day when Kennedy came by in his motorcade. However, fifty years later it seems nature finally got the mood right—frigid and drizzling.

People from across the world came to Dallas to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the tragic assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on Friday. People crowded on the DART train and walked around the city, but few made their way to the Sixth Floor Museum. The remnants of the ceremonies were still around, even at 6:30 p.m. Bright lights and television tents marked the path to the old Book Depository.

There was a modest amount of people on the sixth floor walking around the exhibits. Every race, age group and other demographic markers were exploring the exhibits. Many of the people in the exhibit were not old enough to remember the event or were alive in the 1960’s. However, that did not stop people from going to the museum- to get answers, or just to say they were there fifty years and six hours after President Kennedy died.

After seeing the snipers perch, the museum showed an exhibit of what Oswald did after shooting the president. Approximately thirty people were huddled around a TV showing the events leading up to Oswald’s death when a man in long hair broke the silence by saying “All of this is a lie. It was the CIA… Oswald was a patsy!” He walked away, seemingly satisfied for distracting us.

Next on the tour was the video of JFK’s funeral in Washington, D.C. The famous images of the Kennedy family and the world mourning left the visitors with a startling image of that week.

Surprisingly, the museum talks about most of the conspiracy theories, from the coincidences to even the most unbelievable of circumstances and killers. It seems people are still shocked about just what happened and cannot believe what unfolded fifty years ago.

The seventh floor was open to the public and held massive portraits of John and Jackie made up of thousands of tiny pictures.  The floor previously held interesting exhibits, but now held a podium and a book-signing table. It seemed to be wasted space and could have held a more interesting exhibit on what Dallas was like at the time of the assassination.

The lobby and gift shop of the store almost made me forget about the tragedy, which defeated the purpose of the museum. There was nothing sad about the souvenirs, only that they were there. It was good to have it after so much sadness however, to prepare the visitor for the 21st century waiting outside.

Outside, there were large tents holding news equipment, and ABC tripods were scattered over the grassy knoll. There seemed to be one reporter making his last report from Dealey Plaza for the night. The Plaza sounded like a construction zone with loud noises, flashing lights and men removing the bleachers from the center of it. Off to the side there was a makeshift memorial with a statue of John John saluting- imitating the famous image taken years ago.

The weather was below freezing and it was hard to imagine myself in Dallas, 1963. There was the sun, the crowds and the mostly happy spirit. However, it was easier to imagine myself there after the gunshots- the unconformable panic that set in. While no one can fully imagine being on the grassy knoll moments after the shots, for those who were there, it must have been terrible. How terrible, my generation and future ones will never fully know.

There were cars flying by the grassy knoll, not pausing for a second to look at the ground. There used to be a white X painted on the ground, like a treasure map, where Kennedy was hit. The city of Dallas did not paint the mark, but it did paint over it. While Dealey Plaza has not changed significantly, Dallas has. The assassination of a president has forever changed the city of Dallas.