Armchair Field Trip: The Grassy Knoll


Whether you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or think that John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 was the result of a huge government conspiracy, there's no question that Dallas is the place where it all went down. Since that's where I was last week, of course I had to check out the Grassy Knoll.

As a side note, when we were consulting the GPS system in our rental car, we weren't totally sure how to look up the site of JFK's assassination. We didn't know it had taken place at Dealey Plaza and didn't know what the name of the museum was (or, in fact, that there even was a museum). We jokingly wondered if it would be listed under "Grassy Knoll" in the GPS Yellow Pages. Guess what? It was.

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Anyway, when we got to Dealey Plaza, we discovered the Sixth Floor Museum, a museum dedicated to JFK's life, death and legacy. The museum is, as its name implies, on the sixth floor of what used to be known at the Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed Kennedy (or didn't fire the shots, depending on your theory). Maybe it's just me, but I found it rather morbid that the museum was housed in the very place JFK's (possible) killer holed up to shoot him.

At the museum, I learned some interesting facts about the events surrounding that fateful day.

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"¢ There were concerns about the President's safety in Dallas because United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson has been hit with a protest sign and spat on in the city less than a month earlier.

"¢ Minutes before JFK was shot, a local T.V. station announced that it was clear that any worries about anti-Kennedy activists in Dallas were completely unfounded.

"¢ A Presidential car with a bulletproof top didn't exist then, although plans for one were in the works.

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"¢ Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President an hour and 38 minutes after President Kennedy was pronounced dead. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy stood next to him wearing the same clothes she was wearing when her husband was shot approximately two hours earlier.

"¢ JFK's funeral took place on November 25th, 1963 "“ his son's third birthday.

"¢ Lee Harvey Oswald was pronounced dead two days and seven minutes after President Kennedy was pronounced dead.

"¢ The plaza is named for George Bannerman Dealey who published the Dallas Morning News for a number of years. He also was a key player in helping to revitalize the Dealey Plaza area.

"¢ Buildings in Dealey Plaza have not been changed since 1963, which is really noticeable when looking at the extremely modern Dallas skyline behind it.

And, oddly, available in the gift shop were action figures of not just of JFK, but also Abraham Lincoln, Uncle Sam, and"¦. Laura Bush?? (Is it just me, or is that a strange combo?)

Well, I'm hesitant to ask, but what do you think? Single shooter? Government conspiracy? JFK is actually still alive and hanging out in a bar somewhere with Elvis and Tupac??

Previous Armchair Field Trips: "¢ The Corn Palace "¢ Portugal "¢ The International Spy Museum "¢ Utah "¢ Intercourse, Pennsylvania "¢ Ogunquit, Maine "¢ Aquinnah, Massachusetts