I landed at Love Field.
I drove by Parkland Hospital.
I scanned the skyline for the book depository building. Didn’t see it, though.
I drove (quickly) through Waco. I wondered if smoke had been visible in the city.
I saw the turnoff for Killeen and thought about Luby’s.
I got to Austin, and the first building I recognized was Charles Whitman’s tower.
The most important words in 18th century American history: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In the 19th: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
In the 20th:
First third: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Middle third: “I have a dream.”
Final third: “Can’t we all just get along?”
Too early to tell about the 21st century. If unreserved arrogance is the theme, Bush and his folks have a lock on it.
It’s easy to think, after all these years, that November 22 has lost its significance. It’s true that it’s hard to recall or communicate the sense of tragedy that suffused that day, that weekend, and the years that followed with their new assassinations and anniversaries. Incidentally, I was watching a few minutes of a show the other night that had nothing, nothing at all to do with the first Kennedy killing. It was “The Dog Whisperer,” of all things, an episode in Dallas. In establishing the setting, there were a few quick overview shots of the city. One clip in the montage looked familiar–“Was that the book depository?” I replayed the sequence on TiVo, and the scene appeared again. Just a couple of seconds. A sort of reverse angle view of the familiar ways you see the scene: from the sniper’s vantage in the depository building, from the slope where Zapruder stood taking his home movie. This shot was from across the way, looking toward the book depository from high above. But looking at the scene as a still image, all the pieces were there; it was definitely the place we all knew. We may think we’ve forgotten. But that piece of ground is familiar on an instinctive level.