Friday, November 30, 2007
Where Kennedy Died
I walk through the past and my eyes well with tears as I hear and see CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite deliver the unbelievable to the American people: “From Dallas, Texas, the flash - apparently official - President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central standard time, 2 p.m. Eastern standard time, some 38 minutes ago.” ... His words interrupt a ''soap opera, "As The World turns," on Nov. 22, 1963. And they resonate through Nov. 29, 2007.
I hear his words as we explore the Sixth Floor Museum at the Dallas Book Depository (bought in 1977 by Dallas County), where an extensive interactive display carries us through John F. Kennedy's life, his death in Dallas and his legacy. It is here, on the sixth floor, alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald crouched behind a sixth-floor window and fired on the Kennedy motorcade, bringing an end to Camelot and to the life of our 35th president.
That window is preserved in accurate detail. Because of security glass, I stand about 20 feet away from the original sniper's nest and feel the coolness of the brick with my hand. (See a Web cam from that window ... odd, though, that the camera angle is wrong. Kennedy was shot AFTER the motorcade turned the corner at the right ... see these pics Allen and I took from the spot Kennedy was shot ... no pics were allowed inside the museum.)
As I stand on the infamous grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, I pause and consider the few hours I am spending in Dallas before I leave. Imagine blowing into one of the biggest metroplexes in the country (population 6 million) and leaving after a mere few hours. Now imagine a resident of Dallas on a cross-country tour sweeping through Syracuse for lunch at the Dinosaur. Not a bad memory, eh?