“If we can not end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was assassinated 45 years ago today. As one of the events that certainly shaped the collective consciousness of Americans, at least in my opinion, here are places I’ve been where I’ve thought of Kennedy and that fateful day where the words “grassy knoll” and “book depository” became part of history books.
As a former Peace Corps volunteer, his legacy has touched me personally.
Place 1: Dealy Plaza and the grassy knoll. There is a plaque here to commemorate Kennedy. The grassy knoll was made famous by the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. Theories abound that shots were fired from the grassy knoll as well. If you drive along Elm Street, you’ll be on the route Kennedy’s limousine was following when he became Oswald’s target. The plaza is a National Historic Landmark.
Place 2: Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Located in what was formerly called the Texas School Book Depository, the museum chronicles Kennedy’s life and death. (Although, I’ve been by the building, I’ve not been to the museum.)
Place 3–The limousine that Kennedy was riding in on the day he was shot can be seen at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. I have been here. The rest of the museum is also worth a visit. It can take hours to see everything.
Place 4–His grave at Arlington National Cemetery. His inaugural address was used as the grave’s inscription.
Place 5–One place I have not been is the JFK Library & Museum in Boston, MA. Here you can learn more about Kennedy’s life and presidency through films and artifacts. Jacqueline Kennedy’s life is also included in the mix.
Here is another Kennedy quote that reminds me of travelers. Its message encapsulates one idea of what draws people towards distant horizons from where they were born. But it is also what pulls them back to the familiar.
“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”