(the image in the article below is Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas)
When I first saw the location of this ambush, it looked much smaller that I had imagined. But perfect for the murder that occurred here.
Yep, spent the week in Dallas and made a sojourn to the site of the John F. Kennedy assassination almost 44 years ago.
Our collective memory can be triggered by any of our 5 senses. And of course we know that a single image can affect you in uncontrollable ways.
In this case, a rather innocuous roadway, surrounded by grassy knolls in a serene downtown, was the location for tragedy recorded, perhaps most famously, by Abraham Zapruder, private citizen, on his 8mm film camera. Each frame of the horror was captured and the examined frame by frame for years to determine clues to the truth.
Today this location is highlighted by an “X” in the road where the first shot hit the president. 80% of the American people believe to this day that the assassination was a conspiracy. You can look at the facts and decide, but it’s an amazing tale of unanswered questions. The Sixth Floor Museum ( named for the place where Lee Harvey Oswald fired his rifle from) has exhibits that even detail the still photo camera used on that day. And the images that were made.
So the question comes up: is the image of the place where a tragedy has occurred, still hold any emotional impact? Is it that “touch point” for us to trigger past memories? Perhaps the intensity of the event levels the memory banks. Now 44 years later, this place where an event occurred that changed the lives of millions of people, not just from the life lost but from the loss of an innocence in a country.
Days later, more news was in store.
This next Pulitzer Prize winning photo of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald was captured by Robert H. Jackson
Nothing can replace the split-second an image is made of an event. Period.
But the part of our human psyche, that is the historian, observer and yes, tourist ,understands the power of witnessing the places where history has occurred. And making a photograph to prove to others and moreover ourselves, that we were there.