The day is stuck fresh in the mind of those that had to live through it, and it has become fresh in the mind that visit Dealey Plaza even today. The day, November 22nd, 1963 has had much meaning for those that were alive during the year 1963, and for those not quite old enough to have been around for this event. If you have never been to this spot, it is not as big as it might look on television, and it is a very high traffic area. On my recent visit to Dallas, I took my own children to visit this historic place. My children were ready to learn about everything that I have been studying since I was 8 years old. As we approached the plaza, there was hundreds of people who were taking pictures of the old Texas School Book Depository, pictures of the grassy knoll and selfies in front of just about anything they thought had meaning. As I was standing there explaining things to my children, I could not help but look out in the distance and find, families having picnics, people playing football, and others who seemed liked they were just dragged there by their significant other. Were these people disrespecting the site I thought? Were they not appreciating the history that was right in front of their face? Regardless, they were there, and with that, the history and the mystery surrounding the Kennedy assassination will live on.
I have been to Washington D.C a few times, and each time I have walked past Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was killed. The book store across the street, and the adjoining building in which Lincoln lost his life, were right there in front of me to visit. My interest in history started with JFK, and here I was in front of where Lincoln was shot, much like I was, when I was in Dealey Plaza. Not many people were in the book store, and from the times that I was there, the visitor entrance for the theater was never crowded. Sure, people have paid money to go inside of the theater to see the spot of his assassination, but it was not like Dealey Plaza. Had time let people forget about this special place? Were they not interested in this spot some 100 years after his assassination? These questions were in my head at that time when I visited Dallas, I wondered when people would stop caring. Here we are 53 years later, and on any given day, you will find people taking pictures, going to the museum, and standing in the spot where history changed. But when will that change, just as people not visiting Ford’s Theater as much
The Saturday I visited Dealey Plaza, the place was full of families, individuals, and others who were in town for a football game the next day. Regardless of why they were in Dallas, they were there. My fear is that this next generation may not have the same feeling that my generation, and the ones before me have had about the Kennedy assassination. I firmly believe that I have taught my kids enough about history, and how it must never be forgotten. It is with history that we are to learn from our mistakes, and can create a better life, from what has happened in the past. Do the kids playing football, or the ones having a picnic, not care about the spot where they are, and will their kids stop passing the history down? We must never forget the events in history that changed our world, and the Kennedy assassination was one of those events.
The difference between the two places in history is that with Dealey Plaza, it is there in the open for anyone to visit for free. It is a major part of Dallas, and the entrance and exit away from downtown. The painted white “X” on the spot where the fatal shot took place, is a constant reminder for those that drive over it each day. You can feel a sense of history from that spot, as you cross the very same area in which the 35th President of the United States lost his life. The assassination will live on for many years and for many generations to come, and how people remember both the event, and the man whose life was cut short that day will live on through them. Whether they are there for that picnic, football game, or even that group selfie, they know that history forever changed at that spot and on this day 53 years ago. If you were alive during this time, tell us what you were doing at the time of the president’s assassination, and if you were not alive at this time, tell us why you think people will always remember this day.