Friday, July 19, 2013

New Orleans Adventure: Museums And Monuments

After an incredibly delicious and filling breakfast we said our goodbyes to the Wife's Aunt and Uncle and headed into Dallas to visit the Sixth Floor Museum.

The Sixth Floor Museum is located in the book depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John Kennedy.  The first impression upon arriving is just how small Dealey Plaza is.  The films you see make everything look much bigger.
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Waiting for the elevator to go to the Sixth Floor.
We entered the museum, picked up the audio tour thingamajigs and took the elevator to the sixth floor.  The audio tour takes you through the early 60s examining the state of the country and the election of President Kennedy.  It briefly covers the ups and downs of his presidency. Then it goes in detail about the events on that November day almost fifty years ago.  The museum was very well done.  You could see as much or as little as you wanted.  There were several optional audio tracks covering interesting side issues related to the Kennedys and the 60s in general.  They also covered the conspiracies surrounding the killing.
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Parts of two mosaics:  The President made from a portrait of Jackie
and Jackie made from a portrait of the President.
Looking out the window next to where Oswald shot from, seeing how small Dealey Plaza is, and taking i9nto account the fact the car the President was in has to slow down to get around a sharp turn, I think it would have been an easy shot for someone who was moderately skilled at shooting a rifle.  Not conspiracy needed.

We took our time walking through and listening to the commentary before heading out into the plaza and walking around.  There are exes on the street marking where the car was when the three shots were fired.  People would run out between street lights to get their pictures taken by an X.  We never really could determine which of the knolls was the "grassy knoll".  The three pictures posted here are the only ones worth posting in my opinion.  They did not allow pictures in the museum and I had a hard time getting good pictures outside.

We left Dallas and headed north.  We left later than we expected and only reached Oklahoma City that night.  On the way in we passed through Moore, OK, the location of the devastating tornado earlier this year.  You could see some of the destruction from the freeway.  This is turning into a bad habit.  First when we went to Kansas we went to Greensburg, wiped out by a tornado in 2007.  Then in 2011 we drove through Joplin, MO also devastated by a tornado.  This year it was Moore.  I swear these visits are not planned.

When we drove through Oklahoma City in 2011 during our Route 66 roadtrip we forgot to visit the Oklahoma City Memorial, commemorating the bombing of the Murrah Federal building.  We corrected this oversight by visiting on our way through the city.  The memorial is one of the best I've visited.  In the footprint of the building, chairs are set up for each of the victims.  The chairs light up at night.  The street in front of the building is now a reflecting pool.  Either end of the pool are walls with the start and end time of the tragedy.
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A panorama of the memorial.
We arrived at the memorial fifteen minutes after the museum had closed. Fortunately pamphlets explaining the memorial's symbolism were available and we were able to tour and appreciate the memorial.  It was hard to walk through it without being moved.
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Empty Chairs.
Pictures can be found in my Oklahoma City Memorial 2013 Flickr set.

We ended the day in a hotel just north of the city.  It was an interesting day visiting the locations of two national tragedies (Three if you include the drive through Moore).  Both have been remembered in wonderful ways.

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The next day was our last vacation day and was solely a driving day.  Our travels through the middle of the country and in New Orleans were very satisfying in so many ways.  We both learned so much.  We experienced so much.  We enjoyed being with family so much.  One of the more fulfilling vacations I've had in a long time.

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