Monday, November 21, 2011

The Sixth Floor

11/22/63 will always be day of infamy for those who lived through it. That day is the earliest memory I have; when your mom cries all day, that tends to stick with you. At the time, I didn’t have any idea what was going on, but I still remember that day clearly – even though I was only 3 years old.

During my Super Bowl trip to Dallas, I had the opportunity to visit The Sixth Floor Museum, the museum housed in the former Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald (assuming, of course, that you are not a conspiracy theorist) fired the shots that killed President John F. Kennedy. Perhaps because of that first memory, I’ve always been fascinated with the presidency of Kennedy, as well as the assassination. And although the concept of housing a museum on the floor where the shots were fired (at one point during the tour, you walk past the windows where Oswald was perched, and can look down to see the view that he had on that fateful day) might be considered morbid by some, it is very well done, presenting a chronicle of Kennedy’s life and times as well as the circumstances of the assassination. It’s hard not to be moved by the experience.

These photos were taken outside, and confirmed what I remember reading once – the site of the assassination is something that you expect to be much bigger than it actually is. In fact, when you see the road where the motorcade was proceeding, it’s hard to imagine that the President of the United States was allowed to ride in an open limousine through such a small space. I suppose that times were simpler then, but on that day those times changed forever.

What is somewhat morbid is the fact that a large “X” is painted on the street at each of the points where a bullet struck the President (see above photo, at roughly the spots where people are standing). Which, of course, makes it easy to have someone take a picture of you “on the spot.” Why you would want to do such a thing is beyond me, but it was very popular on that day. And the shot where the ground is shrouded in snow? That is the infamous Grassy Knoll, also much smaller than I had pictured it in my imagination.

48 years ago. R.I.P.

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