The Kennedy assassination, 50 years later

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Clare Myers, Staff Writer

 

A painted "X"  marks the exact spot where John F. Kennedy was hit by a bullet fired from the Texas School Book Depository, shown above.  –CopyRight iStock/MikeyLPT
A painted “X” marks the exact spot where John F. Kennedy was hit by a bullet fired from the Texas School Book Depository, shown above.
–CopyRight iStock/MikeyLPT

On Nov. 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy on the streets of Dallas while the president and first lady were riding in a motorcade past Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was declared dead soon after at the nearby Parkland Hospital.

On Nov. 24, Oswald was shot by Dallas strip-club owner Jack Ruby, setting off a firestorm of suspicion and speculation. Who was Oswald, and did he really act alone? The world would never know. The conspiracy theories that sprang up about the Kennedy assassination have fascinated America ever since.

With the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death coming up this Friday, events commemorating the president are taking place across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The most high-profile event will be a public memorial to be held in Dealey Plaza itself, hosted by the President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Foundation. Church bells around the city will toll to mark the beginning of the ceremony at 11:45 a.m. Friday morning. The memorial ceremony will last one hour, in order to encompass the moment the assassination occurred, at 12:30 p.m. Features of the afternoon will include presentations by local religious leaders, a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough and various musical performances.

Although only 5,000 of the over 13,000 people who requested the free tickets will be able to attend, those without tickets can witness the commemoration as it is broadcast live at several outdoor locations in the city and on the event website.

Throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, people have come together to memorialize a tragedy that shocked the world. Many have compared their reactions to hearing the news about the assassination to their reactions upon hearing about the 9/11 attacks.

Commemorative events range from a lecture at Texas Christian University that will highlight the experiences of journalists who witnessed the assassination to the unveiling of a statue of JFK in downtown Fort Worth. The Allen Public Library in Allen, Texas, will be hosting a “JFK Assassination Symposium” this Wednesday, and Poor David’s Pub in Dallas held “An Evening of Remembrances” last Friday.

The University of Dallas memorialized the catastrophe that made its mark on a generation with a Dallas Year trip to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Housed in the former Texas School Book Depository, the building from which Oswald allegedly fired the fatal shots, the museum houses memorabilia and contemporary cultural works that depict the life, assassination and legacy of John F. Kennedy.

“I was so grateful that Dallas Year scheduled a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum … because it was so close to the date of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination,” said senior Mary Jones, who participated in the DY event. “I had been there right before I started as a UD student and being able to go as a senior was a very meaningful and memorable experience.”

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