Today we went to the sixth floor museum…the place where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shot that killed President John F. Kennedy. Upon arriving in Arlington, Texas, to do this job, I had seen mention of this museum as something to see and do in the area and thought what an odd name for an attraction. If it wasn’t for Cindy and Wendy telling us that it’s the book depository where the assassination took place, I never would have made the connection. So glad they told us about it. I would have hated to miss something like this; something that had such a prominent place in American history.
The museum is an audio tour, narrated by Pierce Allman, the first reporter to report from the Texas School Book Depository on November 22, 1963 and that fateful day. Through photographs, news reports and eye witness accounts, it takes you through that day. The picture on the right shows the depository (brick building behind that teal van). Lee Harvey Oswald was in the far right window on sixth floor (building is seven stories tall). This picture shows where the motorcade took the sharp turn onto Dealey Plaza and started down the road. In the middle lane, to the right of that teal van, there’s an “X” that marks where the first shot hit President Kennedy. A second later the second shot rang out and this was the shot (where the “X” is in the empty street) that killed President Kennedy. In that split second, our country’s history was changed forever.
The museum shows footage of the funeral, swearing in of Lyndon Johnson and the outpouring of emotion felt worldwide. There’s an interesting video by Walter Cronkite, making us ponder if what happened almost 50 years ago, was the beginning of the unraveling of civility among US citizens. After Kennedy’s assassination came his brother’s assassination, Martin Luther King’s, tormoil and unrest. The hope and optimism that Americans had been feeling during those thousand days of Kennedy’s term in office, went up in smoke when he was killed. The museum also has pictures showing Lee Harvey Oswald’s killing, by Jack Ruby, as Oswald was being transported to county jail.
There were some school groups there today. A number of the children were African American in heritage which made me wonder if they grasped the enormity of what they saw today in what Kennedy did in bringing equality to the table for them. I was only three when he was shot so I don’t remember any of this but from watching footage of the man and reading quotes from his speeches, he was a charismatic and insightful man with a wonderful way of speaking that touched everyone…young and old, rich or poor. I’m so glad that Linda and I got to see Dealey Plaza and the book depository while we were here.