When I took on this assignment I thought it would be easy. After the site visit, I’m not sure I possess the maturity or the vocabulary to do the experience justice. But here goes nothing:
The Texas School Book Depository—site of easily the most contentious assassination in the world. To be honest there is no hope, none, of ever discussing the actions of that day without pissing somebody, if not everybody off. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to learn about it—an incident where even the simplest matters are ferociously debated. How many shots were fired? Where did the fatal shot come from? Did one shooter act alone or was another on the Grassy Knoll?
Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling of standing in a place where history took place. And I’m talking about real world-changing history here, not the place you and Cousin Eddy always got ice cream. The walking tour, of course, is full of artifacts, stories, diagrams, and explanations—which is great. But looking down onto Elm Street from the sixth floor window and seeing the exact sight line that an idiosyncratic lunatic used to inexplicably string together three shots, killing arguably the greatest President of all-time, is beyond powerful. If you disagree you simply don’t get it. I can’t help you. Sitting in a room with complete strangers watching a video laced with JFK’s greatest hits, still be emotionally moved by his remarkable vision 50 years after his death, was truly unexpected. A real testament to the impact he left on the world. There’s an allegory here I’m searching for…something about radical fanaticism…precise vision…and the hope of a nation…but I can’t put it all together. You get the idea though. All I can tell you is to come see it for yourself, have your own experience. That’s the thing about travel—it moves you. Both physically and emotionally.
–Travis Wells, Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Administration (Facility and Event Management).