Today marks the 50th anniversary of those tragic shots fired in Dallas, Tex. that took the life of President John F. Kennedy and ended the American fantasy of "Camelot."
Despite millions of pages of written information on the death of the President and multiple theories of what exactly took place, the accepted report of the Warren Commission stands that lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the shooting.
Regardless of the truth of those findings, the events of that November day are ones that remain in the memories of those who lived it. Just as in the more recent Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy, individuals can pinpoint exactly where they were and what they were doing when news flashed that the president had been shot. And in the days of few television channels and no social media, exact feelings can still be shared on seeing Walter Cronkite deliver those emotion words that President Kennedy had died.
New books are published yearly that deal with the subject and documentaries and exhibits continue to keep the assassination ever present in the minds of the American people.
There are multiple tributes planned for the anniversary of the 1963 tragedy. The JFK Library and Museum in Boston, the official memorial to President John F. Kennedy, will observe the 50th anniversary of Nov. 22, 1963 with a number of events that celebrate the legacy of the nation's 35th President. Observances will include a ceremony webcast by satellite from the Kennedy Library's IM Pei-designed glass pavilion; the presentation of a selection of artifacts from the President's State Funeral that have never before been displayed; an interactive documentary and website celebrating the vibrant presence of JFK in the world today; and an award ceremony on Nov. 25 during which Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy's grandson, will celebrate two young Americans who answered President Kennedy's call for pioneers of the New Frontier.
"The Kennedy Library seeks to honor the memory of John F. Kennedy every day by serving as a dynamic center for discourse, storytelling, and debate that inspires younger generations to engage fully as citizens of this world," said Tom Putnam, director of the Kennedy Library in a recent press release. "Fifty years after his death, we pause to look back at symbolic artifacts from this defining moment in our nation's history and, looking forward, we hope to draw inspiration from the arts that he championed and from JFK's timeless words. By offering our observance and programming to a worldwide audience online, we pay tribute to our fallen president and to the millions who came together to mourn him."
"Three years ago, we launched our campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's Presidency," said Tom McNaught, executive director of the Kennedy Library Foundation. "Using new technology and media to reach every corner of the globe, we have sought to inspire today's youth as President Kennedy did half a century ago. We are grateful for the support of so many, whose generosity has been critical to helping us pass the torch to a new generation and to instill in them the ideals of public service and responsible citizenship."
Opening today, the Museum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library will present a selection of artifacts from the President's State Funeral. Items on display many for the first time will include the American flag that draped the President's coffin and was presented to Jacqueline Kennedy; the saddle, sword, and boots from Black Jack, the riderless horse that followed the President's horse-drawn coffin in the funeral cortege; the Green Beret left by a serviceman on the President's gravesite; notes handwritten by Jacqueline Kennedy as she planned the funeral; and historic film footage and photographs of the State Funeral and national mourning.
For more information, visit www.jfklibrary.org.