On November 21, 1963, American President John F. Kennedy set out on a two, five city tour of Texas. It was a whistle-stop event that he would not return from. On November 22 while driving through Dallas in open-topped vehicle shots were fired from what was assumed to be the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository whichoverlooks Dealey Plaza. The shots struck both the President and Texas Governor John Connally. Hours later the announcement was made – the President had succumbed to his wounds.
Today there is a museum on the 6th floor of the Book depository commemorating the events of that fateful day. However, there is also an equally important space for contemplation of both the events which shook the world. This is the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. The plaza and its memorial was dedicated on June 24, 1970, and is located one block from Dealey Plaza.
The memorial, which was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson’s, takes the form of a cenotaph (open tomb). A roofless structure it consists of a variety of ‘floating’ columns. It was intended as a place for those who wished to ponder the legacy of Kennedy and the events of that fateful day. A place of what has been labeled ‘quiet contemplation.’
It is now an integral part of the Dallas cityscape and an important piece of urban art in itself. It is complementary to the museum on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Although it contains no exhibition, the space is essential for those who want to explore the thoughts provoked by the museum’s many detailed exhibits covering the life and times of the President and the events of that fateful day in 1963.
For those who want to explore the impact of the shots fired by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, the Memorial is an essential part of any trip to Dallas.