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Forty-Nine Years and Counting for JFK Anniversary

Det. James Leavelle remembers the JFK assassination (photo by Mr. Holga)

Det. James Leavelle (photo by Mr. Holga)

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is open on Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year Thanksgiving falls on the 49th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

Today may very well mark the beginning of the end for Kennedy’s Camelot in Dallas. Today is the forty-ninth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was shot twice as his motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in front of the Texas School Book Depository at 12:30 p.m. A crowd of people are sure to be gathered there again today to observe the occasion.

I feel this may nearly be the end because the 50th anniversary is just a 365 days away. And fifty years is a long time to keep any dream or memory alive. Think about all the people who were living at the time. The young ones in their late teens and twenties are now pushing sixty to seventy years of age. There are even less people who remember the event in their eighties and nineties.

I recently saw Det. James Leavelle at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. He was there for the “Oswald Has Been Shot!” Panel Discussion with other news media at the time. Det. Leavelle is ninety-two now. He was forty-three years old when he was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald as Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters.

I would be overstating to say Det. Leavelle is still sharp as a tack. The fact is his memory is fading. Det. Leavelle remembers the situation, but names are starting to escape him. He has retold his part in history so many times it has become a habit.

I have thought about this for a while now. It seems the 50th anniversary is the magic number. It is the point at which those that remember are fewer in number than those who have only ready about it, like myself. And there is not substitute for people who where there at the time, like Det. Leavelle.

There are no living witnesses to Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865, or his death on April 15, 1865. As a matter of fact, we don’t even stop to remember that day because it is Tax Day. Many American are cursing the IRS instead of raising a glass to one of our most beloved presidents.

I was only eleven years old when President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. on March 30, 1981. Thirty-one years have already passed and barely anyone remembers Reagan was even shot. Most American could not even tell you the other two presidents who were killed (James A. Garfield and William McKinnley).

Over the next year there will be a lot of Kennedy interest in Dallas, especially Dealey Plaza and The Sixth Floor Museum. Eye witnesses will be brought back to speak again and the sidewalks will get power washed. There may even be a proclamation or two by the mayor to mark the event. We should all soak it up while we can, because the next big mile stone is sixty. And how many eye witnesses will be around for that one?

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The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Announces Plans for 50th Anniversary – November 21, 2012

About Mr. Holga

Mr. Holga is our walkabout photographer and art reporter. Mr. Holga specializes in film photography, especially with Holga cameras. You can follow Mr. Holga on Twitter at or visit his website at

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