Ric Kallaher: I did not expect the sensation of strangeness that overwhelmed all of my other impressions upon setting foot in Dealey Plaza. Initially, there is the matter of the compressed scale. EVERYTHING is so much smaller, more compact, and closer together than the vision in your mind. The film and photographs from that day were made with wide angle lenses which tend to expand space. When you are physically there it is as though you have been transported to a small stage set. When you look down from Oswald’s perch you realize he could have thrown a grapefruit out and hit Kennedy (if only he had). Then there is the enhanced mystery around the questions of “how” and “why” that is enhanced by being there. Yet as space contracts, the lack of logic in the official explanations EXPANDS. When you look out the window you realize that it wasn’t the best shot–that would have been as the open limousine APPROACHED the Book Depository and not after it turned to proceed AWAY on Elm Street. You realize the perfect angle of the Grassy Knoll, the fence on top of it, under the shade trees, and the easy access to the rail cars just a few feet away that would have made a perfect escape. As Oswald himself said: “I’m a patsy.” It is a surprise to realize that it was just around the corner that days later he was shot by Ruby–something that, as a young child, I witnessed live on television.
All of the memories rush in: the confusion, the displacement, the lack of understanding, the lack of explanation, the lack of anything that made sense. The surreal. And my own sweet Grandmother, as easy-going and disinclined to controversy a person as you could find, twenty years later, in an off-handed remark made while watching yet another memorial re-broadcast of the events would say to me “none of us ever believed it was anything but a conspiracy.” What else hadn’t she told me? Maybe it was Oswald but on November 23, 1963, disillusion started its creep. Slowly expanding shockwaves spread through our culture. There is so much in life that is unknowable. But the notion that the explanation for this murder WAS knowable and yet clearly now will live on as an everlasting mystery makes this an especially wearying anniversary.