The events of history may not change but who we are relative to them does.
I am standing in Dealey Plaza twenty feet away from where two modest X’s (shots 1 and 2) are painted on the road where John F. Kennedy was shot dead.
I turn around and look up to the corner window of the former Texas School Book Depository, now the Dallas County Administration Building where my daughter, Ruby works on the 4th floor, scanning to the sixth floor aerie where Oswald shot the president.
Anyone my age has seen numerous accounts of the killing from every possible perspective. Standing on the street, the one clear thing is regardless of what theory holds about the killing; it was an easy shot.
Who, what, why, how and whether history changed because of the shooting I have no idea.
I was eight when the killing happened; too young then to grasp its implications. Now, sixty-four, I feel much the same. A few quotes come to mind. Bob Dylan twice, “I was so much older then I’m younger than that now.” “There ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe, it don’t matter anyhow.” And from Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, “Time will tell, fades away.”
Standing here after visiting the museum, what is most clear is that Time-Will-Not-Tell. All one knows is that a man died here and the violence of that death lingers.
On the street, and in the Sixth Floor Museum, are hundreds of people visiting the site, many, if not most in Dallas for a football game to be held later today. Most are half my age and born well after the killing.
I ask two of the young people why they’re here and they say because like 9/11 it is part of history and they’re curious. The mood of the people inside the museum is somber as with our guided headsets we walk through the events leading up to, during and after the killing.
I’m no different than anyone here. I’m bearing witness to an event that I will never fully understand and I’m spent when I leave.
For some reason I struggle to capture the emotions in a haiku.
A man was killed here
Fifty six long years ago
I know nothing more