[sixties-l] Fewer mark anniversary of JFK's death in Dallas

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 01/14/01

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    Fewer mark anniversary of JFK's death in Dallas
    Dallas Morning News
    DALLAS -- The anniversary of the assassination of
    President John F. Kennedy passed Wednesday on Dealey
    Plaza in what has become traditional fashion, with a
    milling crowd swapping memories, leaving flowers,
    propounding conspiracy theories or simply observing
    the scene.
    Kevin Beart of Toronto had traveled farther than most
    but seemed as perplexed as any about why he had come.
    "It's just something to be able to say that I was here
    the day, to the minute, to stand on the grassy knoll,
    to say I did it," he said.
    Beart, 29, is an acknowledged assassination buff, even
    though the event occurred eight years before he was
    born. He took a week's vacation to travel to Dallas,
    much to the surprise of his co-workers, he said.
    "Everybody thought I was nuts. They said, 'Why aren't
    you baking on a beach in Cancun?' But this is
    something I wanted to do," he said.
    Few who gathered on the site for the 37th anniversary
    were that dedicated.
    More typical was Hilary Upchurch, 21, of Sacramento,
    Calif., who happened to be in Dallas for Thanksgiving.
    She said she was unaware that Wednesday was the
    anniversary until she arrived at Dealey Plaza.
    Like Beart, Upchurch views the assassination as a
    historical event rather than a personal memory.
    Still, she said, she found herself unexpectedly moved
    by the setting.
    "It's upsetting," she said. "The murder of anyone is
    sad enough, but it's not something that should ever
    happen to a president."
    By 12:30 p.m. -- the moment on Nov. 22 1963, when the
    shooting occurred -- about 250 people were gathered on
    the grassy knoll.
    A group of conspiracy theorists speaking to the crowd
    through a loudspeaker called for a moment of silence.
    A replica of the black Lincoln Continental in which
    Kennedy had been riding drove slowly down the center
    lane, a man in a Dallas Cowboys jacket waving to the
    This year's small turnout was somewhat smaller than in
    past years, the result of chilly weather, fading
    memories and the proximity of Thanksgiving.
    Most of the crowd simply milled about. Middle age men
    and women swapped stories with strangers about where
    they were and what they were doing exactly 37 years
    Some people stood across from the old Texas School
    Book Depository -- now the Dallas County
    Administration Building -- and pointed out the sixth
    floor window to their children. It was from there, the
    Warren Commission report said, that Lee Harvey Oswald
    shot Kennedy.
    John Judge, a member of the Coalition on Political
    Assassinations, was on the plaza Wednesday to dispute
    that report. The truth about Kennedy's death, he said,
    has yet to be uncovered.
    "The physical realities are such that it could not
    have come from one gunman," he said. "If you call
    people who believe that 'conspiracy theorists,' then
    everybody else is a 'coincidence theorist.'"
    Judge has been coming to Dealey Plaza every Nov. 22
    for 30 years. Crowds had been dwindling until the
    early 1990s, when the Oliver Stone movie "JFK," was
    released. The crowds picked back up after that, he
    If anyone has been coming to Dealey Plaza longer than
    Judge, it is John Templin, a retired truck driver. He
    was at Dealey Plaza 37 years ago, standing just
    beneath the Schoolbook Depository building watching
    the presidential motorcade.
    "The first shot, I thought it was a motorcycle
    backfiring," he said. "I thought Kennedy was just
    playing, throwing his arms up in the air pretending to
    protect himself. But the second one came, and I knew
    it was the real thing."
    Templin said he has come to Dealey Plaza almost every
    year since his retirement. In part, the anniversary is
    a chance to reminisce, but it has also become
    something of a social occasion.
    "You see the other eyewitnesses each year," he said.
    "It's nice. We've all gotten to know each other over
    the years."

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