During our visit last week to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we visited the Sixth Floor Museum in the book depository in downtown Dallas. The museum is dedicated to a rather grim event — the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We arrived before opening and were expecting to be two of just a handful of visitors. We were wrong. The vestibule was crowded and getting more full as opening time approached.  The loss of this man and the mysteries and theories surrounding his death seemed to have universal appeal. In the group around us, we heard soft conversations in Spanish, Portuguese and German.

The museum was both somber and informative, with the specter of Kennedy’s death relieved by videos and displays dedicated to the life of this vibrant president and his family.

Outside, people wandered the grassy knoll and around Dealey Plaza. A couple of shade tree assassination experts hawked tip sheets and gave impromptu tours. In the street, a half-erased white X purportedly pointed out the spot where there the fatal shot found its mark. And there was the most disturbing sight, watching tourists take turns running into the street, dodging cars, and taking selfies or photos of each other, smiling and waving where the president drew his last breath.

RIP JFK inscribed on a picket fence.
Atop the grassy knoll was a fence on whose pickets were inscribed various graffito, including some dedicated to the slain president.
Structure atop the grassy knoll.
Structure atop the grassy knoll.
Front of the book depository in Dallas.
The book depository at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. The building where the assassin was said to have shot the fatal bullet. It now houses the Sixth Floor Museum.

9 thoughts on “Remembering JFK

  1. I don’t know if you are a big reader, but I would recommend Stephen King’s book called 11.23.63, in which someone well-meaningly goes back in time to stop the assassination happening, to make his future world a better place. But of course nothing ever goes according to plan and it’s a love story, too.
    Just saying!
    The depository in your picture is iconic – and looks as if it is just a facade!
    All the best 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation! Both of us like Stephen King and history, so this should be a good read. The day we were there was nearly cloudless — a typical August day in Dallas (temps topped out at 105 F/40.5 C) and that building does look like it has stood still in time.

    2. And you being a journalist too, would appreciate the museum’s exhibit on how the story broke. The exhibit included an old M-80 teletype machine (whose clatter will forever be associated with news) and a yellowed section of yellowed teletype roll paper of bulletin and flash that crossed the wire from UPI.

  2. Gosh, that’s a blast from the past – UPI – it was one of the agencies our “wire room” had stories from when I was a “copy taster” in the 1980s. The stories always appeared out if the machine all in capital letters and on slightly yellowed paper (even then it wasn’t pure white). I used to save all the science or space exploration ones. I may still have some of them somewhere…
    News is so much more instant these days, isn’t it?
    All the best 🙂

    1. I worked for AP for almost 10 years after working in newspapers and radio and seeing the copy clatter out of the machines. News may be more instant now, but I think a lot of reporters are more worried about being first rather than being right.

  3. Interesting to know you are a journo too! I think you are probably correct on what you say when it comes to the national papers. We are perhaps a bit more ethical on regional/local papers here. We are also now in a situation where we are “online first”, so all our stories go on to our WalesOnline website as soon as they are ready, before they go into the print newspapers. As long as we ensure a steady flow of new news we are not quite so limited by the “daily” deadlines. Although the newspaper production process is still a produciton line and we still have to hit the press slots…
    All the best 🙂

    1. Thank you! The picket fence was my favorite — the personal remembrances of JFK and his family and the fact that the single picket reminded me of a tombstone. It worked at many levels.

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