Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Nearness of History

     In Dallas for the American Library Association conference, I took the opportunity to walk through Dealey Plaza and have a look at the Book Depository.  I happened to be there early on a Sunday morning and the area was all but empty.  Perhaps it might have seemed different with crowds of people moving through it or cars passing back and forth, but I was struck by how close everything was.  Standing on the corner that President Kennedy's car was heading toward when the shots were fired, I could see right into the sixth floor window, and the grassy knoll was less than a baseball toss away. 
     Standing there, it felt impossible that a person could have missed the sight of a rifle muzzle coming out of the window or a puff of gunsmoke over the knoll or have not been able to differentiate the sound of gunshots coming from two separate locations.  Of course, I was not there.  There were no people around me.  My eyes were not locked on a presidential motorcade.  But I was left with the distinct impression that if a person thought there was someone else behind the grassy knoll, it would have been impossible to be mistaken about it.
     I'm not going to go so far as to say it was haunted, but standing there alone, I would be lying if I didn't say how heavily the history seemed to rest in that place.

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