Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Big Cities Forget

We were in Dallas for convention on November 22--the 47th anniversary of JFK's assassination. Our hotel was smack dab in the middle of the freeway noodles and practically on top of the spot where the presidential motorcade had passed all those years ago. From the little park nearby, we could see the building, and the sixth floor window out of which those shots came that injured Governor John Connally, and fatally wounded President John F. Kennedy. That evening, we took a little walk to the actual site where it had happened and saw fresh flowers on the sidewalk next to the road. Several people were meandering around, still solemn, 47 years later.

We could find no statues or monuments, no commemorative structures, and the only historical markers in the area were remembering different people--important to Dallas, no doubt, but of no relevance to tourists like us.  On the pavement, there were two X's marked neatly with regular highway paint, each representing a spot where a bullet had struck its target. A gentleman standing nearby informed us that there were supposed to be three x's, but highway construction had recently obliterated the third one. He also bombarded us with a conspiracy theory which involved LBJ and the mafia, then demanded a hand-out for his impromptu, unrequested, telephone-salesperson-style lecture.
 It was a strange feeling to be standing there on a warm, cloudy evening, remembering the moment we heard the news that day so long ago, and recalling the nation's mourning for days and days afterward--to be standing in the actual spot of that earth-shaking event--and to be seeing only two painted x's on the pavement of that quiet little corner of street, now largely bypassed by the frenetic freeways. Behind, overhead, and beyond our remembering, we could hear the sounds of trains, ambulances, buses and helicopters as they raced helter-skelter from one corner to another, engaged with the living city all around.


1 comment:

aftergrace said...

I did not know about he x's, or any of the markings. I know it must have been odd to be in the exact spot, at the same time of year it happened.