DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas and the entire nation will pause to remember President John F. Kennedy on Friday. It was 50 years ago that the President was shot and killed at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, and that is where 5,000 people will take part in a special ceremony.
As one might expect, security at the Friday event is extremely tight. Only those people who have been granted a ticket through a lottery system will be able to get close. The area is barricaded by police. Those ticket holders have all already been through background checks by police.
The ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be held near the location where President Kennedy was assassinated, with the grassy knoll and the old Texas School Book Depository just in the distance.
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to perform, while Mayor Mike Rawlings and presidential historian David McCullough will both speak at the event. There will also be a moment of silence at about 12:30 p.m. — the time that President Kennedy was shot — and a “missing man” flyover salute.
“I think it will be very respectful,” Rawlings said. “I think we’ll have people that are there to pay their respects to John F. Kennedy. It’ll be short, I think very honorable, and I’ll be very proud of what the city is doing.”
The winter weather that burst into North Texas on Thursday — temperatures near freezing and a chance of rain — will not interfere with the city’s plan. In a written statement, Rawlings stated, “Texans are tough and a crisp day won’t prevent us from marking this important time in history. We believe this important event cannot be duplicated in another location, so the commemoration will take place.”
Many of those with tickets to the ceremony have some sort of connection to the day. Sisters Angela Geissner and Ginny Dell still tear up when they think back to that day. “Even being just 11 years old, it really, really broke my heart,” said Dell. “My dad had been selected to be the foreman, the grand jury for Oswald, and we just have a lot of historical connection.”
As a result of the city’s plans, several roads in the downtown area will be closed on Friday including Main Street, Elm Street, Commerce Street and part of Record Street. They will be opened to traffic again on Saturday.
Those without one of the 5,000 tickets to be at the downtown event can still witness the JFK ceremony. Several viewing areas have been set up around Dallas. North Texans can see the commemoration on the big screens outside of the American Airlines Center, at the JFK Memorial in Founders Plaza or at Strauss Square in the Dallas arts district. CBSDFW.COM will also stream the ceremony live online for those wishing to stay away from the elements.
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