I’ve been to Dealey Plaza before, but it was a number of years ago. We took a road trip for Christmas this year and ended up going right through the heart of Dallas, TX on I-35. Turns out Dealey Plaza was less than a half mile off our route. So we stopped again. My sister-in-law had never seen in person the place where this country was forever changed in 1963.
What strikes you first is how small the area really is. I guess we’ve seen it so often through a television or movie lens that it seems larger than life, but it’s not. The history is larger than life, but the plaza is not. Next I was a bit surprised at the number of people coming and going, on a cold December Sunday afternoon. I didn’t expect to be the only people there, but I didn’t expect to see so many people, of all ages and nationalities, at the site of a 50-years-ago assassination. Democrat or Republican, American or Asian or European, it doesn’t matter, we have all been affected by the assassination of JFK.
The grassy knoll wasn’t so grassy right now, and it wasn’t really accessible either as the city is making improvements – which is good. I again was able to stand on the two X’s in the road, the spots where the first and third shots were delivered to the president as he rode in his open limousine.
Standing at the grassy knoll you can see where the ‘X’ is in the road. Looking across the 3-lane street to the triangle you can see just how close and almost intimate the area feels. While we were there people were mostly quiet and just taking it all in, both for themselves and with a camera lens.
There are a few street vendors telling the stories and selling you books and copies of magazine and newspaper articles. They talk of conspiracies, and FBI agents, and government officials. I just know that America lost another piece of her innocence that November day 50 years ago at Dealey Plaza.