November 22, 1963 – the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. A day which many remember as if it was yesterday.
Although neither of us were born when this tragic event occurred, there was no question that we would make a visit to the area while we were in Dallas.
Between the American history lessons and the many documentaries about JFK’s death, we both wanted to see the landmarks for ourselves.
So today, on a gray and rainy day, we headed to downtown Dallas to take a closer look at where it all happened.
The JFK Assassination Tour
You can freely walk around the downtown streets of Dallas and see many of the sights and historical markers about the assassination of John F. Kennedy for free.
However, we decided to take a one hour, guided, walking tour to learn more information about what exactly happened on that November day.
And in fact, we learned many things that we didn’t know, or at least didn’t remember.
For instance, we learned a lot about both the troubled childhood and military life of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Lee Harvey Oswald
Oswald’s father passed away 2 months before he was born. This left his mother to raise him alone. Unfortunately their relationship was strained from an early age.
Therefore, Oswald was constantly searching for a way out of his childhood home. And at the age of 17 he joined the Marines.
Although, this transition was also with many obstacles. On two occasions, Oswald was fined for unlawfully discharging a firearm.
However, by the end of his military term, Oswald earned the honor of becoming a sharp shooter.
But instead of staying in the military, Lee Harvey Oswald became obsessed with communism.
So much in fact, that he moved to the Soviet Union. And this is where he met his wife, Marina.
However, after a little over two years, life in Russia wasn’t everything that he expected. So he decided to move back to Dallas to be near his mother and brother.
Life continued to spin downward for Oswald. He continued with his extreme Marxist views and had difficulty holding down a job.
Two weeks before John F. Kennedy was expected to tour Dallas in hopes to gain support for the 1964 election, Oswald was given a job at the Texas School Book Depository.
The Famous Book Depository
The day that the Presidential motorcade was scheduled to drive down the streets of Dallas, Oswald positioned himself on the 6th floor of the brick building.
Everyone in the surrounding area was preoccupied with the excitement of watching John F. Kennedy make his way down the street. And no one realized that Oswald wasn’t around.
As soon as the convertible car turned onto Elm Street, there were 3 shots that were fired. Two shots hit the President and their locations are now marked with a large X in the middle of the street.
The Grassy Knoll
Although there have been several theories that the shots came from the ‘grassy knoll’ area down the street from the depository, this has never been proven to be true.
However, on the 6th floor, a rifle and 3 shell casings were found on the floor below the open window, and was traced back to Lee Harvey Oswald.
Amazingly, Lee Harvey Oswald exited the building without incident. However within a few minutes, the staff of the book depository had everyone accounted for, except for Oswald himself.
An A.P.B. was sent out in hopes to find the man that shot JFK. Within minutes, a Dallas Police Officer, J.P. Tippit stopped to question Oswald as he was walking down the street. As Tippit got out of his vehicle to approach him, he was shot and killed at point blank range.
Oswald then fled into a movie theater. Because he ran past a ticket booth and matched the description of the shooter, the police was called.
Within 45 minutes of the shooting of John F. Kennedy, Oswald was captured.
Although he denied everything, there was plenty of evidence to convict him of the assassination.
However 2 days later, on his transfer to prison, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby on live television in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters.
The events that happened between November 22-24, 1963, not only changed many lives, it changed the world.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial
Most of us are familiar with the eternal flame that is placed at the gravesite of John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
However, there is also a memorial in historic, downtown Dallas to honor our 35th President.
Between 4 concrete pillared walls, is a dark granite rectangle that is placed low to the ground. It is placed in the center of a lower, recessed concrete area. And it is no higher than a low coffee table.
On one side of the granite is the gold letters that spell out John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Nothing more, nothing less.
While looking at the memorial you may think that something is missing. However, when you really think about it, to the American people, there was something missing.
Our President, our sense of security, and our hope.
Today the John F. Kennedy Memorial is a place of quiet refuge. An enclosed place of thought and contemplation separated from the city around, but near the sky and earth.
A thoughtful dedication to the President that lost his life on the streets of Dallas, Texas.
Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary
About Our Living Simple Tour
CURRENT TRIP STATUS TO DATE:
- Day 124 of 365
- States : 15/50
- National Parks / Monuments : 18
- Stayed In : Midlothian, TX
- Miles Driven : 81.9
- Total Trip Miles To Date : 14,000.5
- Total Gallons Used : 1,014.5
- Biking Miles : 0.0
- Biking Miles To Date : 158.4
- Hiking Miles : 1.4
- Hiking Miles To Date : 286.0
On September 9th, 2019, we set out in our NuCamp T@B 400 Teardrop Camper to travel to every state. You can check out all of our dates here : Dates for the States