DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The skies were grey and so was the mood for the thousands who went to Dealey Plaza Friday.
The emotions of the dark day in Dallas returned for some and were felt for the first time by others.
It was quite a crowd. An estimated 5,000 people went to the spot where 50 years ago President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. The ceremony marking that anniversary focused not on the tragedy of that single day, but on the life and the legacy of a leader.
Standing in the cold, people bowed their heads to pay tribute to a man who inspired hope.
“We stand in awe of a dreamer who challenged us to literally reach for the moon, though he himself would not live to see us succeed that goal,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told the crowd.
In view of the 6th floor window, where Lee Harvey Oswald fired his fatal shots Mayor Rawlings unveiled a new monument to the 35th president. It is inscribed with end of a speech President Kennedy planned to give the day he died.
Presidential historian David McCullough said President Kennedy, “…knew words mattered. His words changed lives. His words changed history. Rarely has a Commander in Chief addressed a nation with such command of language.”
In the crowd were visitors from across the United States and around the world. It seemed each had vivid memories of Kennedy’s death. One woman said, “It brings everything back. I still tear up. It just was a very sad day.” Another visitor said, “I felt like we lost something… we lost something that day.”
The ceremony also drew protesters. “It’s our country and we’re here to take it back,” they chanted. The protestors are among those who believe that for 50 years now the government has covered up circumstances of the President’s assassination.
Strict security measures and a large presence of law enforcement kept order.
The commemoration made history itself. It is the first time the city of Dallas held an event to honor President Kennedy, whose death will forever be an undeniable piece of our history.
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