To his credit, Mayor Mike Rawlings was upfront about it.
“We erred on the more senior side…those who were alive 50 years ago,” he said this afternoon, while naming the members of the leadership committee for “The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy.” The same could be said for the event itself.
In front of the committee, dignitaries, and media, Rawlings and committee chair Ruth Altshuler laid out the plan for the Nov. 22, 2013 event. Presidential biographer David McCullough would speak, the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club would sing, and church bells city-wide would toll; a moment of silence is also planned, one Rawlings hopes mayors nationwide will ask their residents to partake in.
Rawlings called the event “serious” and “understated,” which, I admit, are important. But does it have to be so… boring?Â Dallas ISD schools will participate by teaching JFK-centric curriculum that day, though, by Rawlings’ own words, that means students won’t be on hand to experience the event. They’ll be in a classroom five, 10, 20 miles away. Away from the history they’re being taught.
Entrance to the Dealey Plaza event will be limited, but no one knows the exact cap yet. Rawlings said he’d work with city and county officials to figure out how to best distribute tickets, because no one without a ticket is allowed in. But have no fear: video screens will be set up throughout downtown.
The entire event will be funded through private donations, Altshuler said. More than $1 million has already been pledged.
What about conspiracy theorists? What should they do? They should head to City Hall, where they’ll be permitted to protest peacefully, Rawlings said.
I understand the need to be understated. But that doesn’t mean it has to be so stuffy. Send DISD kids out in the community to live out Kennedy’s legacy through public service, invite the kids to meet and chat with McCullough, open the Sixth Floor Museum up for the month, for free, for kids. Have essay-writing contests for students and regular citizens, for the honor of joining the ceremony. Include participants from the Special Olympics and Best Buddies, two organizations founded by members of Kennedy’s family tree.
And maybe they have some of these ideas in the works. Hopefully they have some of these ideas in the works.
But right now it feels like an event by Old Dallas, for Old Dallas.