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The Weirdness of Assassination Tourism — X Marks the Spot in Dallas

DALLAS — This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a somber marker in American history and an awkward time for the city he was killed in.

There are Xs that quite literally mark the spots on Elm Street in Dealey Plaza where Kennedy was hit by the bullets that mortally wounded him. The fact that Elm Street is still used as a thoroughfare makes for strange passage as one walks past or drives on the fatal path.

This X marks the spot where Kennedy was shot on Nov. 22, 1963. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza — site of the former Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald set up his sniper nest — is doing bustling business with its exhibits of Kennedy artifacts and films, as well as a “living history” series of lectures and events about the assassination and Kennedy’s legacy.

Perhaps the museum’s most interesting multimedia effort is its Dealey Plaza Cam, which provides a live shot on the Web of Oswald’s view.

There is no end to other guided tours, professional and not-so-professional, of the area, including the grassy knoll and the spot where Abraham Zapruder shot his immortal film of the day’s events.

The view of Dealey Plaza that Abraham Zapruder had on Nov. 23, 1963. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
The spot at Dealey Plaza that Abraham Zapruder stood on Nov. 22, 1963. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

The fact that the area looks so normal belies its weird, somber vibe and the horrific nature of the events that unfolded there.

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