Dallas — One year before the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, events and tributes are already beginning in the Dallas area to commemorate the slain U.S. president and a defining moment in American history.
The city announced this week that it would hold a memorial service at 12:30 p.m. local time on Nov. 22, 2013, at Dealey Plaza, the precise time and place that Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have shot Kennedy.
The service will be a departure for Dallas, which has generally shunned publicity of one of the darkest events in its history. Crowds gather every year on the anniversary of the assassination, but the last public ceremony was 20 years ago to recognize Dealey Plaza’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
This week, a Texas historical marker was dedicated to Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit, whom Oswald shot to death in the Oak Cliff section of the city, shortly after the shooting of Kennedy during his motorcade parade in the nearby downtown area.
Tippit was on patrol when he spotted Oswald and stopped to question him. Witnesses told police that Oswald shot Tippit four times. Oswald was arrested a few blocks away in the Texas Theatre a short time later, Dallas police said.
“There is going to be a lot going on in Dallas next year at this time so we decided to do our tribute this year so it is not overshadowed,” said Phil Leven, president of the Oak Cliff Conservation League, a grass-roots community organization. “Officer Tippit died in the line of duty, and we feel this is a good opportunity to raise awareness and give him the recognition he deserves.”
The marker at 10th and Patton streets is the spot where Tippit was killed.
FORT WORTH TRIBUTE
Thirty miles to the west on Nov. 8, Fort Worth opened the John F. Kennedy Memorial as a tribute to the last hours of the life of the 35th president.
“This is something that we have been trying to accomplish for about 15 years,” said Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc, a community organization. “We wanted to mark this place as a national treasure that celebrates this moment in history and the life of JFK.”