John F. Kennedy is being remembered in Dallas 50 years later. The weather in the city could not have been more opposite than it was 50 years ago when President Kennedy was assassinated. It was windy, cold and gray, nothing like the warm sunny days five decades ago which would change history forever.
People stood around Dealey Plaza waiting for the beginning of a ceremony memorializing the president’s death. When it began, there was a giant screen in which photographs of Kennedy were shown. Streets around the area were closed off by fences and there were numerous police officers both in vehicles and on foot.
The service, which was within viewing range of the previous Texas School Book Depository, was scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. CST. Dallas planned to have church bells ring all through the city.
A moment of silence was planned for 12:30 p.m. That was the time when the first shot was fired 50 years ago when the president’s motorcade passed by.
This ceremony is just one of numerous ones planned all over the United States on Friday. Back in Dallas, the movie theater in which Lee Harvey Oswald sneaked into was planning to show parts of the movie “War Is Hell. That was what was playing when he was arrested.
Police investigators did criminal background checks on every one of the 5,000 guests who got tickets to the Dealey Plaza ceremony. Anyone who did not have a ticket or proper credentials would not be able to get near the area on Friday morning.
A group of researchers who are critical about the Warren Commission and what they found about Kennedy’s assassination have performed a moment of silence ceremony at the grassy knoll each year on this date since 1964. However, this year, they were not allowed to gather at the site while the observance was being held. They stated that they would meet at a location that was close by instead.
This year has been the first that Dallas has actually done anything really big to mark Kennedy’s assassination. In the past, the city has attempted to avoid getting involved with any events. There was even a stout desire back in the 1970’s to tear down the School Book Depository.
The Book Depository and the plaza itself have stayed seemingly frozen in time for five decades as Dallas and its skyline quickly changed. The plaza’s 1940’s appearance and the picket fence located near the notorious grassy knoll each helped served as memorials. Although Dallas intended to reveal a monument to honor John F. Kennedy, the city’s most long-lasting gift ended up being the conservation of the very place where its darkest day unfolded, a long while before the man-made memorials were erected.
There are very few cities in America which have had to endure the disgrace which has attached itself to Dallas for half a century. For the first decade after the president’s death, when people that lived in Dallas traveled around the country, even the world, they encountered resentment and rage when they even mentioned where they were from.
One man told the story that he was ordered to get out of a taxi, in blowing snow, in New York City a couple of months after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. All he did was tell the cab driver he lived in Dallas.
The shadow of John F. Kennedy will probably still cover Dallas five decades from now.
By Kimberly Ruble