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Tuesday, December 3, 2013 15:34 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

Props to the experienced cachers who put this splendid series together; one that combines the hunt of geocaching with vital American history. The writing on the cache pages is particularly crisp and concise.

As a seventh grade student attending Parochial school in Connecticut, I remember the day of President Kennedy’s assassination vividly. Our principal, Father Cody, walked into our classroom early in the afternoon, clutching his black fedora nervously. When he announced that President Kennedy had been assassinated, the entire classroom let out a huge collective gasp. It was a Friday, and I was scheduled to spend the night at a classmate’s house. His mother picked us both from school, and on the way to their house, she sobbed uncontrollably.

One should understand that the years leading up to President Kennedy’s short tenure were fraught with the paranoia induced by the aftermath of the McCarthy hearings and the ominous nuclear threat of the Cold War. It was a time when children were seen and not heard. When civil rights didn’t exist. When rock ‘n roll was the devil.

President Kennedy was a handsome, extremely charismatic figure; a man who captured the American public’s admiration, a man who presented a vision of hope and social change. America was starting to loosen up, and began casting off the shackles of fear from the previous decade. There were indeed others who strived and achieved social change at the time, and the President seemed to embody them all with his projected vision of Camelot.

So, to a 12-year old student living in idyllic New England, stomping grounds of the Kennedy clan and others like them, everything seemed fine. Who wouldn’t think that? I didn’t know that he would be vilified by people, like the ones who bought and published full page ads in the local newspaper, defaming his character. Or insulted by not even having respect for the Office to display an American flag upon his arrival. That he would be warned by both Dallasites and advisers alike not to visit this city. That some Texans would refer to the Stetson they were wearing that fateful day as their “lucky hat”.

Dallas has been trying for decades to shake off the “City of Hate” moniker. I don’t know if it’s changed that much over the years. I dare say that if President Obama visited Dallas now, in an open limousine rolling through Dealey Plaza, that there just might not be another Oswald lurking nearby.