News / USA

Dallas Set to Observe 50th Anniversary of Kennedy Assassination

Greg Flakus
A solemn ceremony will take place at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas on Friday, near the street where an assassin's bullet took the life of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. The commemoration has drawn people from around the world.
 
Standing at the corner of the former Texas School Book Depository Building, a TV reporter from Portugal notes that the plaque there refers to Lee Harvey Oswald as the alleged assassin of President Kennedy.
 
For many of the reporters who have come here from around the world, it is both Kennedy's legacy and continuing doubts about the official version of his assassination that hold interest. Nonetheless, the ceremony prepared by the city of Dallas will focus on the President’s legacy, not the conspiracy theories.
 
There will be church bells ringing, a moment of silence and readings of excerpts from the slain president's speeches by historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough.
 
For many years, Dallas was stigmatized by the Kennedy assassination, partly because of news reports at the time about right-wing groups that condemned the president's proposed civil rights legislation and other policy positions. Richie Gilbride, a writer affiliated with the Coalition of Political Assassinations, believes extremism may have played a role in what he says was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy.
 
"Dallas was a putrefying pile of hate in 1963. It was the perfect place to pull off a fundamentally evil, evil act," said Gilbride.
 
However, films and photos from the time of Kennedy's visit show huge crowds of people enthusiastically cheering the president as his limousine passed slowly through the streets. Bob Jackson was a photographer for a Dallas newspaper at the time, riding in the motorcade just a few cars behind Kennedy. He said that the national media gave Dallas a bad rap by claiming the city was engulfed in an ugly atmosphere promoted by extremists.
 
"The ugly atmosphere was a small group of people. [As for] the majority of people, all you had to do was ride in the motorcade coming downtown and see all the cheering people, not a bunch of protesters with signs and all that kind of stuff," remembered Jackson.
 
Kennedy is remembered in Dallas today with the Sixth-Floor Museum, situated in the building from which the assassin fired his rifle, and by the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, a few blocks away. The city has grown and changed dramatically since 1963. For many citizens who were born in the decades after the assassination, the event does not hold the same emotional significance that it does for those who lived through those dark days a half-century ago.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs