Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Big D

One of the ironies of vacation, a time intended for rest, is that it may be busier than the time spent working and following a regular routine. There was plenty of time in a car today. The afternoon was spent in downtown Dallas at The Sixth Floor Museum while the evening was passed in the American Airlines Center.

I thought I was going to be the smart one who had something to do in the car. I brought my knitting with me, but after a couple rounds I ran into a puffed out spot in the yarn. I would have cut it, knotted the ends together, and continued, except my scissors were left behind in a separate bag. (There's something for which I can fault airport security. If I didn't need to put scissors in checked baggage, they would have been with me!)

The Sixth Floor Museum is in the building formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository. Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK from the far right sixth floor window on this side. Yes, nothing says family time at the holidays like visiting the site where President Kennedy was assassinated.

All flippancy aside, this is an important location in American history. It was slightly strange to be at Dealey Plaza and on the grassy knoll, places I've seen many times in archival news footage.

The museum occupies the sixth and seventh floors of the building. An audio tour guides you through the signs, reprinted photographs, and occasional videos on the sixth floor. Photography is not allowed in the museum, not that there's really anything of note to shoot. The corners where Oswald fired his rifle and discarded it are glassed off, although you can see the spaces perfectly fine. The Warren Commission's model of the Dealey Plaza area helps explain what you're looking at from the building's south windows.

The current exhibition on the seventh floor showcases amateur film footage of Kennedy's fateful visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963 and home movies of other events surrounding his death. These films are shown in their entirety, something I found fascinating to see. For instance, the Zapruder film has banal footage of his grandchildren playing and a woman in his office on the reel. Then come the most famous (and graphic) images of JFK being killed.

I also geeked out over the home movie cameras of the time. Three were available for hands-on examination. Zapruder must have had a high-end camera for the time. It was a nice piece of equipment.

We walked around Dealey Plaza after going through the museum. There were a handful of opportunistic street businessmen selling commemorative tabloid papers about the assassination and talking up all the conspiracy theories. Honestly, I find that stuff pretty tiresome, both the conspiracies and the pushy sellers, but it seems like an inevitable part of the location.

Since I took a picture that gives a good sense of the area's layout, here you see the Texas School Book Depository and, if you look at the photo enlarged, the x on the road marking the spot where the bullet struck President Kennedy. (It's by the first lane marker on the left.) And yes, people were going into the middle of this busy street to have their picture taken on the x.

The night's entertainment was taken care of with complimentary tickets to the Dallas Stars game. (My brother knows someone.) The organization honored center Mike Modano before the game for his recent achievement of becoming the American-born player with the highest NHL career points total. Since I'm not a Stars fan and had nothing invested in who won, the pre-game ceremony was a cool bonus.

How perfect that Modano scored the tying goal on his night and that his team won. The game was mostly a defensive struggle, but the final thirteen minutes were quite exciting. Dallas scored both of their goals within 41 seconds. Anaheim put a good push on toward the end but came up short. It hadn't been the most exciting game, but the finish was outstanding.

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At 9:55 PM, Blogger Donna B. said...

You can carry small scissors (3" or less blade) in your carry-on luggage. The rule was recently changed. I've been packing them in my carry-on since summer with no trouble.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

I'm aware that small scissors are allowed. I don't own any. My bigger scissors were in my checked bag.

Not a big deal. Just something for me to gripe about. :)

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Yay for more hockey and for a great trip as it sounds. My hubby used to be a HUGE Stars fan when his goalie-idol Andy Moog played for them, so I watched that team for years. We saw them play in Detroit, but have never been to TX. What a great thing to do on your trip!


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