Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book depositories and grassy knolls (Throwback post)

Our hosts, and a few other local people asked us why we had come to Dallas.  In their experience, Dallas isn't generally high on the list of places that tourists go to, with most people choosing Austin and San Antonio instead.  And in truth, a large part of our decision was that it was a convenient place to stop on the bus route.

And we had to admit that we didn't know much about the place other than the two things that probably come to mind for most people - the TV show with the Ewings, and the assassination of John F Kennedy.

So we had to visit the book depository and see the infamous grassy knoll.

JFK was assassinated during a motorcade through Dealey plaza in Dallas on 22 November 1963.  Despite some known tensions in Texas, and Dallas in particular, JFK opted for an open topped limo.  As it turns out, this was not a good choice.  Had it been raining, they would have used a bubble top and he would have been protected.

The building on the corner of Dealey Plaza, which was once the Texas School Book Depository, now houses a museum about Kennedy and his assassination.  It is interesting enough, despite being laid out in a very awkward way so that we found ourselves having to go back and forth to get the order right.

The museum gives you a bit of background about Kennedy and his presidency, and goes into some detail about the assassination, setting out the story largely in line with the findings of the Warren Commission.  What it didn't really do, was get into the whole conspiracy theory arguments that Lee Harvey Oswald was set up, or acting with others.

Aside from a few mentions of the grassy knoll and a bit of forensic information about bullet trajectories and so forth, there was little to enable you to reach any firm conclusion if you were trying to decide for yourself what actually happened.  They did look at Oswald's potential motivation, indicating that his enthusiasm for Cuba may have led him to dislike Kennedy and his administration.  I read one report that suggested that he was planning to move to Cuba which, if true, could mean that he was hoping to gain favour with Fidel Castro by the assassination.

Personally, I see no compelling reasons to doubt that it was Lee Harvey Oswald who shot JFK, or to persuade me that there was a second gunman. There are some elements that don't quite seem to add up.  I am not convinced by the whole 'magic bullet' story, in which the first bullet misses entirely, the second 'magic' bullet passed through JFK and then hit Governor Connelly too, but then came out almost pristine and the third being the fatal shot to JFK's head; instead I prefer the version that has the first bullet hitting JFK, the second hitting Connelly, and the third being the fatal head shot. But who knows!

Of course Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby before there was any chance to find out his story, which has helped to fire the conspiracy theories.

What we do know, is that the assassination shocked the USA; it is said that everyone from the USA knows where they were when they heard that JFK had been shot.

Had he not died, he could well have gone on to win the 1964 election, but may have lost a lot of popularity over his determination to get the Civil Rights Act passed, and over the continuation of the Vietnam War.
But without the time for his administration to sour in the way that so many do, JFK is regularly voted one of the favourite US Presidents.  Like Marilyn Monroe and Diana, Princess of Wales, early death has washed away the negatives and turned John Fitzgerald Kennedy into an icon.

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