JFK’s Arrival in Dallas

On this date, in 1963, at 11:38 a.m., President John F. Kennedy touched down at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. He’d spoken that morning at a breakfast in Fort Worth and was slated to speak at a business lunch at the Dallas Business and Trade Mart. Alas, gunman Lee Harvey Oswlad intercepted the president as the motorcade drove through Deeley Plaza.

In the summer of 2019, I had the chance to finally visit Deeley Plaza, a site I’ve wanted to see for myself for my entire adult life. In the Sixth Floor Museum—the former book depository building where Oswald waited in ambush—I saw this image in one of the panel displays:

I’ll ask folks to please refrain from making any comments about modern politics and, instead, look at the picture closely. Study it. Consider what it might say about Dallas, Texas, in the early 196os.

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I wrote more about that visit to the Sixth Floor Museum on September 11, 2019, connecting JFK’s murder with other “Acts of Violence Against America.”

Because JFK was in Dallas, he missed the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Gettysburg Address. His predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, keynoted the commemoration ceremony in JFK’s stead. Read more here.

In this date in 2017, I posted a piece about JFK’s visit to Antietam National Battlefield in April 1963. Similar to the experience that inspired this post, I went into the museum at the battlefield and saw a photo of Kennedy on Burnside Bridge.


8 Responses to JFK’s Arrival in Dallas

  1. It doesn’t look like anything or anyone being anti-Kennedy in the picture, not to me anyway. I don’t think JFK was shot by a Confederate sympathizer. Everything I’ve heard and read is that he was murdered by a card-carrying communist. And I’ve never seen anything that disproves what the Warren Commission determined.

  2. 1963 was during the Civil War Centennial and Confederate flags were popular. I was 9 in 1963 and my parents bought me a small Confederate flag at a Pennsylvania Turnpike rest stop.

    1. Your comment helps put it in context. Thank-you! I was also 9 in 1963. I imagine you have memories similar to mine; a teacher crying in the hallway, sober parents, seeing a flag at half-mast for the first time, a day off from school on the day of JFK’s funeral.

  3. Kennedy was a Democrat and the solid South was on his side. The Jim Crow South allied itself with JFK for the 1960 election. The segregationist South voted against Nixon and for Kennedy in 1960. Democrats hadn’t changed in a 100 years. LBJ, a great big Democrat Texan, was even his VP.

  4. I was a high school senior in Waco, less than 100 miles south of Dallas when the announcement was made on the speaker system. Our 50(?) year old English teacher sobbed and repeatedly moaned “I’m so embarrassed to be an American.” Kennedy was well liked by everyone I knew, but this reaction was one that never made sense to us.

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