Thousands brave cold to remember Kennedy

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by TYLER SIESWERDA / KVUE News and MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 6:20 PM

DALLAS -- Thousands lined up outside the Sixth Floor Museum, bundled up against the cold to remember the day that chilled a nation's heart.

Fifty years to the day, Dallas honored the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy with a solemn ceremony at Dealey Plaza, where the president was killed by an assassin's bullet on November 22, 1963.

At 12:30 p.m., the exact moment the president was shot, there was a moment of silence, and then bells throughout Dallas.

Five thousand tickets to the memorial were given away by lottery.

Despite temperatures in the 30s and brief spots of freezing rain, visitors from around the world came to pay their respects and to be a part of history.

"It's almost surreal," said Sean MacLean from Calgary, Alberta. "I'm standing here almost in awe, looking at the buildings. I've seen all the pictures. To be here is just amazing. It's overwhelming almost."

"Historical. I mean, I was standing right there where it happened so it was very meaningful," said June Rain.

"It's important for me to be here because it helps culture me as a person not only in the patriotic sense but just in a wold sense," said Alex Urrutia.

"We didn't care what the weather was like, we were going to be here and pay our respect," said Angela Giessner of Grand Prairie.

A senior in high school in 1963, Giessner saw the Kennedys in the motorcade that day. She was on her way to get another look at the First Couple near Stemmons Freeway when she heard news of the tragedy over the radio.

"We couldn't believe it had happened in our country. Why? We didn't understand why," said Giessner. "It was our senior year in high school, our homecoming day. So we were just devastated. We thought the world had come to an end."

Stigmatized for years, the city of Dallas itself has struggled to change its perception from the "city of hate" to the "city of healing."

"People tell me stories about being out of town and having their checks and things returned because people saw Dallas on their check," said Sandra Howell of nearby Arlington. "I think we've come a long way in terms of what our legacy is as a city and what we have done to appreciate the legacy of President Kennedy."

"He's my favorite president. I like that he cared for everyone, like he was equal. He cared for black people especially," said Kennedy Jackson, named for the president who was killed long before she was born.

It's proof that the president's legacy is not only alive, it will live on forever, as each new generation of Kennedys -- like Jackson -- make their mark on the world he left behind.

Friday's ceremony ended with prayer and the U.S. Navy Hymn in honor of the naval lieutenant who would change the world.

Go here for a slideshow of photos from KVUE's coverage in Dallas.

See all of KVUE's Kennedy coverage go here.

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