Posted by: Paul | 09/24/2010

JFK and Dallas

I toured the John F. Kennedy assassination site today.

It was remarkable to finally see it in person after years of reading about it. It’s a cliche, yes, but I was struck by how small the place seemed. Somehow, places of great historical significance always seem bigger in your mind; the Texas School Book Depository seems to be a skyscraper, and Dealey Plaza is bigger than a football stadium. Instead, it’s all very modest — a simple building, an unassuming city intersection. It’s amazingly ordinary.

And — another cliche — it honestly gave me the chills. No exaggeration. Indeed, viewing the photographs, watching the films, and listening to voices from that sad, shocking day brought me close to tears a couple of times.

Then again, I’m enough of a history buff that I walked around in 6th grade carrying my father’s paperback copy of the Warren Commission report. (Can’t say I read every word of it then, but a good chunk of it, yes.) I even got some of my classmates to help my stage a small class play about it. So my experience may not be typical, especially for someone who wasn’t even born when the assassination occurred.

I look forward to poring over my JFK books again — armed with the fresh perspective of someone who has stood only a few feet away from the “sniper’s nest.”

The website for the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is at http://www.jfk.org/.

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