Dallas is a city that seized popular imagination across the globe when the first bullet fired from the rifle of Lee Harvey Oswald struck President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 as his motorcade made its way through Dealey Plaza. The world shared America’s grief as the President slipped away from his life and family and into the annuls of history.
That event traumatized the United States and in particular Dallas – and for many years the City Fathers could not decide what to do with Dealey Plaza which had been the site of an event that would change history – and to a certain extent affect the fortunes of the U.S. for decades to come.
However, at last in 1963 Dealey plaza was declared a ‘National Historic District’ and given the fact that it was mostly ignored by City officials until this date means that the Plaza district is largely unchanged from the way it was on that fateful day in 1963.
Today one can wander the Plaza keeping an eye out for the markings on Elm Street which show where the bullets hit JFK, or sit on that famous ‘Grassy Knoll’ and wonder at what happened and what might have been if Oswald had not lifted his rifle on that day. For history buffs, the opportunity to purchase a replica newspaper with headlines about the assassination of the President may simply be too much to resist.
For those with a deeper interest in the events which unfolded on that day the museum of the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository where Oswald fired the shots that were heard around the world is a must visit attraction. The museum contains absolutely fascinating multimedia exhibits (with audio guides) about the events of the day, prior to the shooting and the aftermath. It also offers insight into the life of JFK, as a man, husband, father and President. Eyewitness counts and footage of the day lend the exhibitions an immediacy that other museum exhibits might lack – made only more poignant by the fact that visitors can gaze down on the Plaza from the very window where Lee Harvey Oswald took aim and squeezed the trigger to send the bullet that ended the President’s life.
A visit to Dallas would not be complete without spending at least some time in Dealey Plaza – it is where events took place that literally changed the history of not only America but the world.