JFK assassination: Dallas marks its darkest day with sober ceremony

Picture of President Kennedy in the limousine ...

Picture of President Kennedy in the limousine in Dallas, Texas, on Main Street, minutes before the assassination. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was only ever one story for today, the 50th anniversary of the death of John F Kennedy.  His assassination was one of those iconic historic events where everyone who was alive them remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.  It is memorable also for the amount that has been written since then not only on the conspiracy theories surrounding his death but also on the ‘truth’ of his life.  He was president at one of the most critical moments in world history when the cuban missile crisis took us to the brink of nuclear war.  Thankfully we turned back from that brink.



“Ich bin ein Berliner”.
“Happy Birthday, Mr President”,
and remember the Bay of Pigs.

Remember the Cuban missile crisis,
the brinkmanship of nuclear war.
He steered us there and clawed us back again
and the watchman waketh but in vain.

Iconic initials, JFK,
charismatic playboy president,
immortalised in the sandstone of time.

The sniper’s bullet cracked the Dallas air.
Head snapped, body slumped there in the cavalcade.
Mid-day on Elm Street.

One day, one act that changed the world.
The day a nation mourned.
The day conspiracy was born.





22nd November 2013 – headline from the Guardian

Notes:  “JFK assassination: Dallas marks its darkest day with sober ceremony.”  In this sombre Texas city, there was silence where 50 years ago there was gunfire. Instead of screams, bells pealed across Dealey Plaza. And there was order and reflection in place of chaos and panic.  The sky was grey, but this was Dallas’s moment of clarity: a day when a demonised city faced its past in front of the world, hoping that by paying tribute to John F Kennedy’s life, it will no longer be defined by his death.  Sleeked by drizzle and shivering in the cold, thousands gathered outside the Texas school book depository, from whose sixth floor 50 years earlier Lee Harvey Oswald fired the three shots that killed the 35th president of the United States.  At 12.30pm, the time when Kennedy was struck as his motorcade passed along Elm Street, a short period of quiet was observed, broken by the ringing of bells followed by a rendition of of America the Beautiful by the US naval academy men’s glee club.  The half-hour ceremony, called The 50th, was Dallas’s first major public commemoration of the killing. It featured prayers, hymns and speeches and was a tribute to Kennedy’s life rather than a reprise of his murder. Later, in the evening, a candlelit vigil was held at the location where a police officer, JD Tippit, was fatally shot by Oswald.  At a location that resonates so vividly of death, even half a century later and even for people who were not born or have ever visited the US, little needed to be said 22 November 1963.

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