A Special View of History

One of the most visited tourism sites in Dallas are the two “x”s painted on the road directly across from the former Texas School Book Depository where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The x closest to the depository is where the first bullet struck the president. The second indicates the fatal shot. That second shot, fired November 22, 1963 changed our country and the access we have to our leaders forever.

Unfortunately, the area surrounding Dealy Plaza has become a bit of a circus with strangers selling newspapers about the assassination, a neon green sign perched above the infamous grassy knoll with “Grassy Knoll” written on it, and high school kids (and adults who should know better) rushing into the street to lie next to or otherwise pose near the “x” in the middle of a busy thoroughfare to get pictures. Why you would want to pose next to the “x” is beyond us, but they do.

But, to get to the heart of the JFK assassination story, you must ignore, and avoid these strangers and head up to the Sixth Floor Museum. The $13.50 price of admission includes a self-guided audio tour of the museum, which sadly does not allow photographs. (Still don’t understand that!)

The museum kicks off with JFK’s accomplishments as president, and quickly shifts to the assassination, exploring not only the key players, but the conspiracy theories, and memorabilia from the FBI’s investigation of the murder. In the corner, the museum staff has carefully recreated the window where Lee Harvey Oswald stalked the president, replicating it with boxes as it appeared only moments after the police and secret service rushed into the building.

The audio tour was actually a great addition to the museum visit. It leads you through the displays and effectively summarizing key points, all of which is important considering the weekend crowds that this museum must draw. We realized a tad too late that we could actually stop the audio tour to explore more about the information on display, but we went back after to read some more.

Even though neither of us had been born, we obviously understand the impact of the building and the story. And, it’s humbling to think that if it had only rained (as it was scheduled to do), the secret service may have installed the bulletproof bubble on the car and averted the disaster.

For more information, check out the Sixth Floor Museum website.