Monday, October 29, 2012

Dealey Plaza

I am off to the Montessori Foundation's conference in Sarasota, Florida. The first leg of the journey is Sydney to Dallas and I have decided to take a couple of days to recoup in Texas before heading to Florida. It would seem that with hurricane Sandy raging to the North, I have chosen well.

Dallas is a strange town. I have spent the morning and most of the afternoon walking, yet have seen very little. I have taken in the art district and a few gardens but there is an eerie quality to the city. It's Monday morning and there is no traffic, no one is talking and although there are huge office buildings there are no line ups at the cafes in the middle of the day. I am going to attempt some purchases tomorrow before hopping on my flight, though I'm not sure where I'll go to find this alleged shopping because I did not find one retail outlet in all of downtown Dallas.

The highlight for me was my trip to Dealey Plaza and the old Texas School Book Depository scene of the Kennedy Assassination almost 49 years to the day. The location was surreal, it exists today as it did 50 years ago - you can see the embankments where Abraham Zapruder shot his home movie, the Grassy knoll, the picket fence, the railway that borders the plaza - the only thing that wasn't here in '63 are the dozens of men who come up to you on the street and sell you memorabilia (like autopsy pictures for $10!).

For $16, I went up in the School Book Depository, into their 6th floor museum, which is a shrine to the legend of John F Kennedy and the events of November 22nd, 1963. As a bit of an amateur assassination buff myself, I felt the museum stays pretty close to the piece of fiction that was the Warren Report, whose conclusions have been successfully disproved by many people over the years. Still, it was an interesting exhibit and a slice of Americana. Apparently 1000 people a day come to the museum most like me who feel a need to be connected to the iconic images that we remember from our childhood. I was not born for 4 more years but my mother often told me that she learned of the tragedy while bathing my newly born sister in the tub.

I came away thinking that the Plaza was indeed a great place for an ambush. I am convinced that the assassination was a military style coup, so no surprise if Oswald (one motivated marine) was involved, but whether he was a trigger man or just the School Book insider (a patsy) is hard to say. The plaza is a perfect spot for multiple snipers all over the area and it seems pretty obvious that's how it went down. I think Oswald was told to go to the movie theatre after the event to meet his pals and got the shock of his life when instead of a getaway he was met with dozens of the most intuitive Dallas Police officers who with everything else going on, found him in a dimly lit movie theatre 2 miles away, 20 minutes after he was a no show for an impromptu post assassination roll call at the Depository.

Well enough with the conspiracy theories, I'm just glad to off that 15 hour plane ride and back on land. Hopefully I'll find a few interesting spots to comment on during my adventures.

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