The Rake

FOR ONE BRIEF SHINING MOMENT

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Not long ago, I was in Dallas on business. I made the requisite pilgrimage to Dealey Plaza and viewed the world’s most infamous grassy knoll, but I also discovered one of the more striking monuments among the thousands to John F. Kennedy. The Sixth Floor Museum is housed in the building that was once the Texas School Book Depository. You climb the stairs, turn a corner, and are faced with the open window through which Lee Harvey Oswald fired his rifle at Kennedy’s motorcade on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, with world-shattering consequences. The museum plays host to around 400,000 people a year, and their comments in the visitors’ book — “Our greatest President”; “Oh how we miss him!”; “A beacon of hope, cruelly extinguished” — are ample evidence that, more than half a century on, the Kennedy mystique has deepened and intensified.

On paper there seems scant reason for this enduring hagiography.

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