Undoubtedly, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who is known by his initials ‘JFK’, was one of the most popular presidents in the United States. This may be because he was very handsome and had great romances, including his wife Jacqueline Lee “Jackie” Bouvier and extramarital affairs with famous women like Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich. But the great mystery that continues to cause perplexity, was his murder. If you want to know about it you must go to the scene of the crime, in Dallas, Texas. The shots came from the Texas School Book Depository which is now a museum called The Sixth Floor Museum.
We went to Dallas for the day and took the opportunity to go to this famous museum. In this city you can also visit the George W Bush Presidential Center. The city center is quite small and it is easy to walk it. You must get to Elm Street where you will see several stands of people who offer to tell you what really happened, since almost 60% of Americans do not believe the official version of the story. Conspiracy theories abound and are easy to believe, since it is unlikely that a man acted alone.
The Sixth Floor Museum tickets are quite expensive, $18 if you are an adult and $14 for children between 6 and 18 years old. This museum opens every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Mondays when it opens at noon. You will start your tour on the ground floor of the building where there is a shop. You must go up an elevator to the sixth floor where the exhibition of the murder of John F. Kennedy is located. They do not allow to take photos on this floor but I snuck a few.
An unfortunate journey
The domestic policy of John F. Kennedy was quite controversial as it promoted education programs, medical care for the elderly, economic assistance to rural areas and interventions by the state to get out of the recession. The United States at that time was a racially segregated country. Although some progress had been made, including a motion by the Supreme Court to stop segregation in schools, many continued to not support these measures, especially in the south of the country.
John F. Kennedy believed in ending segregation and introduced reforms to do so, just as he supported women by passing an equal pay law that ended the gender-based wage disparity. In addition, he changed immigration laws, eliminating discrimination based on country of origin. He made the Peace Corps, to help other countries.
The world was in transition at that time, after World War II. The United States and the Soviet Union were the two new world powers and there was a lot of tension between them, especially for Cuba. John F. Kennedy was accused of treating communism gently. All these things made him unpopular in more radical parts of the United States, such as the south.
In search of his re-election, John F. Kennedy decides to go to Texas, as he needed funds for the Democratic Party and votes.
Before the trip he was warned that it would be a dangerous destination and that he should not attend. The Kennedy family seems to be cursed as their entire history is full of tragedies, including this trip to Dallas, Texas.
Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?
Lee Harvey Oswald was in the United States Navy until he was honorably released from active duty and defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959. When he arrived in Russia he said he wanted to be Russian because he believed in communism. There he married a Russian named Marina but got bored of the lifestyle and eventually returned to Texas.
If you search about this man you will find so many things that don’t make sense. He is painted to look almost like a Soviet spy who at the same could be an American spy. He accuses the FBI of harassing his wife and they say he sent a letter saying he was going to blow up the FBI offices in Dallas, but that letter does not exist, because they allegedly destroyed it.
On October 16, a little more than a month before the murder, Oswald gets a job at the Texas School Book Depository.
Shortly after his second daughter is born. On the day of the murder there are several coworkers who say they saw him in the morning. Three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s car, the first one didn’t hit them, the second hit Kennedy and John Connally, Governor of Texas, and the third went to the president’s brain, killing him.
The “killer” is killed
After the shooting, Oswald left the building and took a bus home, where he allegedly had a confrontation with a policeman who he killed. When he was arrested, he was tested with liquid paraffin wax that found no residue on his hands and cheeks. Proving that he had not fired a gun that day, besides the rifle was very old, so he would have had to be an expert to make those shots. No traces of Oswald were found in the rifle or in the boxes in the area. Many people believe that more than one shooter was involved in the murder of John F. Kennedy.
Oswald failed to defend himself since he was killed two days after he was arrested while being transferred by the police. Jack Ruby, a nightclub operator, shot him in the abdomen. Ruby was arrested and sentenced to death, however, he died in prison three years after due to a pulmonary embolism caused by cancer.
The Sixth Floor Museum
The Dallas County Historical Foundation inaugurated The Sixth Floor Museum on February 20, 1989. Its location is the exact place where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The crime scene is divided into two, the window and the corner staircase. Three bullet shells were found about 45 minutes after the crime. These shots came from the southeast window of the sixth floor that is currently protected with glass so that a recreation of the scene can be seen. In the northwest corner you will see an Italian-made Mannlicher-Carcano rifle identical to the one found.
From the window you can see the street that has X marked representing the points where the shots hit President John F. Kennedy’s car.
The history of the social and political movements of the 1960s is told through photographs, artifacts, historical films and exhibitions. You can learn about the family and the challenges he had as president. The cost of admission includes an audio guide available in several languages. It is narrated by Pierce Allman, who was the first reporter to arrive on the scene in 1963.
One of the most important pieces exhibited is the Zapruder video. Abraham Zapruder was filming on Elm Street on the day of the murder and managed to capture everything in a silent 8mm film that is believed to be the most complete. In 26.6 seconds he captured the event that moved the world. The original copies were delivered to the Secret Service and auctioned to Life Magazine for $150,000. In 1999, the Zapruder family donated the rights to The Sixth Floor Museum. The original is in the National Archives of the United States.
In the end you will go up to the seventh floor that has temporary exhibitions and special programs. The visit to The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas can take between one to two hours. After visiting the museum, the question you should ask yourself is, do you think Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy or is there be any truth in the conspiracy theories? I have a hard time believing the official version.