While in Dallas for a conference, I went to The Sixth Floor Museum in the former Texas School Book Depository. The landscape there has not changed much since the assassination of John F Kennedy there in 1963. From the sixth floor, you can sight down the trajectory of the tragic shots. You can look across Dealy Plaza to the grassy knoll, unchanged for a half-century. You can witness the grief of a nation. You can study the conspiracy theories.
The museum tour is guided by an interactive audio headset and includes several video exhibits. The tour begins with an exhibit poignantly conveying the political climate of the times, the idealistic youth of the nation, the charismatic political rise of JFK, and his legacy; the Peace Corps, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the goal of putting a man on the moon – which the USA accomplished before the end of the decade as JFK promised, although he was not alive to see it. Only a small fraction of the museum is devoted to the assassination itself, but it is a powerful multi-media exhibit that gives you the aching sense of shock, loss and anger felt by the witnesses and by the Americans who received the news on a November afternoon in 1963.
I spent about two hours there. It reminded me of the turbulent political era that surrounded my childhood. It brought back memories of a shocking event that shook the world some 50 years ago. I left the museum and walked around Dealy Plaza feeling deep sadness and outrage for the untimely and unjust loss of JFK. You might feel it too. This museum is a must-see.
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