John F Kennedy first memorial in Dallas
The 22nd November 2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. The city of Dallas has announced that the day the 35th American President was killed in 1963 will be remembered with an official memorial. Kennedy was killed as his motorcade drove through Delaney Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.
“This is an event to honour the remarkable life and legacy of the leadership of President John F. Kennedy,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Honorary Chairman of The 50th committee. The memorial itself will be the first official event to be held in honour of the former President. “His death forever changed our city, as well as the world. We want to mark this tragic day by remembering a great President with the sense of dignity and history he deserves.”
The commemoration is to focus on the positive memory of President Kennedy. Along with speeches from Mayor Rawlings and Presidential historian David McCullough, a moment of silence will embrace the city at 12:30 (TX, USA time), the time when the shots were fired.
Dallas was host to this defining moment in American history that shook the country and triggered a massive outpouring of grief. “This is a part of our history. The story of Dallas’ growth and success can only be understood in the context of this unspeakable tragedy,” said Mayor Rawlings.
Emphasis was placed on those who were actually there on the tragic day. Mayor Rawlings selected mainly residents of Dallas as, “It’s important that the direction for this event was generated by citizens of Dallas, and not by any one person or City Hall.” Linked to this intention is the desire to educate the youth about President Kennedy. “We want younger generations who don’t have a first-hand memory of him to learn about his vision for ‘a new frontier’ and his important place in history,” Mayor Rawlings said.
Seen as a progressive and charismatic leader, Kennedy’s legacy includes the foundation of the Peace Corp and the avoidance of conflict during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His diplomatic strength was key in keeping America out of an escalating conflict with the Soviet Union. His efforts in domestic policy were largely cut short by his death before great changes could be made. He called for civil rights to be extended to all Americans but it was his successor President Lyndon B Johnson who saw the passing of the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964 and then the Voting Rights Act 1965.
However, at times his legacy was questioned as alternative theories were devised to explain what happened 49 years ago. The Warren Commission was set up by President Johnson after the shootings to investigate the events and concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the shooter who had worked alone. The official commission published its investigation in 1964, but since then many have claimed that questions have been left unanswered. Theories and speculations include that Oswald was in fact framed and innocent, that the shooting was orchestrated by the government, or that there were in fact a number of shooters in different locations.
Countless hours have been spent analysing every single frame of an amateur video known as the Zapruder film. Made by Abraham Zapruder who was filming the motorcade as it passed by him, it shows President Kennedy being shot and the immediate aftermath. For many conspiracy theorists the film is key to understanding how the President died. Various theories were explored in the Oliver Stone film JFK (1991) starring Kevin Costner.
Today’s memorial is unlikely to delve into the area of uncertainty fraught with hoaxes, doctored medical reports and sensational speculation. It is aiming rather to remember President Kennedy with a serious, understated and respectful public memorial.
This first ever official memorial will feature songs sung by the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club as well as a military flyover. Mayor Rawlings hopes that the event will respectfully address the tragic day in such a way as to clearly express their admiration of President Kennedy. “It’s important that the city of Dallas has a strong voice in remembering this very solemn day and honouring a great President who was a hero to so many people around the world.”Tagged in: 35th American President, Dallas, Delaney Plaza, JFK, John F Kennedy, kevin costner, memorial, oliver stone, shooting
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter