Looking down from the six floor window the roadway curves away and slightly downhill cutting through the middle a small grass covered park in the west end district of downtown Dallas.
Taking advantage of a gap in the traffic a tourist runs out and stands on a simple white cross painted on the asphalt in the middle lane of the roadway. He calls out to his partner to take the photo before returning to the kerb just in time to avoid the oncoming traffic.
I have a mixture of feelings about his actions finding it both ghoulish and disrespectful at the same time whilst wondering how many people have been killed on the same spot trying to get the same photograph. In an effort to stop the City of Dallas regularly removes the cross on the asphalt but it always reappears within days.
The small park is Dealey Plaza and was named after George Bannerman Dealey and early publisher of the Dallas Morning Newspaper, civic leader and advocate for the revitalisation of downtown Dallas. I am sure all those involved in the naming dedication could not have foreseen how famous this small city park would become. Symbolically twenty three years later on 23nd November 1963 the front page of George’s paper ran the headline “KENNEDY SLAIN ON DALLAS STREET”
The shot that killed President John F Kennedy the day before which was allegedly fired by Lee Harvey Oswald from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository was heard all around the world. The assassination was a defining moment in both American and world history and politics spawning countless conspiracy theories.
The most common of these being that there was a second shooter on the nearby grassy knoll was the one that fired the shot that fatally wounded the president leaving Oswald to take the fall. A local Robert Groden believes so strongly in this theory he has been arrested, charged and subsequently acquitted a staggering 82 times for selling books and pamphlets about the events of that day at the plaza.
Having seen many different documentaries and movies, I was keen to see the plaza for myself and to take a walk around and to quietly reflect on what may or may not have happened there on that momentous day.