Step into Dealey Plaza, and you feel you are on sacred ground. No, it doesn't matter that you may be a hard-bitten believer in Oswald's sole guilt. It does not matter that you believe that the assassination was an historical fluke, with no particular larger significance. This is The Place where all assassination buffs, conspiratorialists and lone-nutters alike, have to go. This is the necessary pilgrimage.
Dealey Plaza has changed a bit since 1963. The famous Stemmons Freeway sign is gone, and the Hertz car rental sign is gone from atop the Depository. Some of the train tracks over the Triple Underpass have been replaced with electrified commuter rail tracks, and the parking lot behind the Stockade Fence is now paved. A plaque now defaces the grass between the Pergola and Elm Street. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same place, The Place.
Even if you have know me for a long time, one thing you have never heard me talk about is my JFK assassination obsession. I was raised by a JFK conspiracy nut (sorry dad). He was absolutely convinced that the Warren Commission got it wrong and that there was more to it than some crazy ex-commie. I remember the 25th anniversary of the assassination. It was 1988. I was living in Maine. It was just me and my dad then. My mom had passed away that January. For the whole month of November (or at least a full week of it) we did nothing else but watch the "look back"s and the "tribute" shows. They even broadcasted the actual telecast of Walter Cronkite announcing to the world that the President was dead. We watched and watched all of it. From the beginning all the way through to the funeral with little Jon-Jon saluting his fallen father. I watched as they played the Zapruder film over and over and over again. Seeing Jackie O in her pink skirt suit with the pill box hat splatter with blood. LBJ taking the oath of office aboard an airplane. I saw pictures of the presidents head from the autopsy.... EVERYTHING.
I remember watching with my dad. Lying on my beanbag in from of the television. We had this huge tv that sat on the floor. It was a brand new. I remember talking about the assassination, wondering what the truth was. He would say "see the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald with his gun? It is a forgery, you can tell because of the shadow, it is not lined up right" I remember my father telling me about Dallas. (he had lived there in the late 60's) What a wonderful sounding place this Dallas Texas (very far away from Maine). I remember him talking about Zapruder and his video camera. My father was an amateur videoagrapher and I think he liked the idea of a regular guy with a camera capturing something so important. I remember asking what a grassy knoll was. What an adventure and mystery!
Well, after almost 20 years I am GOING TO DALLAS!!! Next week Mason and I are meeting there for presidents day weekend (he has 4 days off). I am so excited I can't stand it. Our hotel is right down town only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza. Speaking of... I found the above article from http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dealey.htm and felt it spoke very accurately on how I felt about the whole situation so I included it for you all!
BTW in case you are wondering a few years ago Peter Jennings did a special on JFK entitled something like ABC News Presents The Kennedy Assassination - Beyond Conspiracy (2003). They took the Zapruder footage and entered into a computer to generate a 3D image and then they studied it for 2 years (or something like that) and it turns out that LHO was in fact the sole assassin.... and now my father can't be convinced otherwise..... doesn't matter though.... doesn't matter because I AM OFF TO DALLAS ! Yeee Haaa!