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President John F. Kennedy's assassination is an unforgettable part of Dallas' history.Nearly 54 years later, scholars and enthusiasts alike are still processing details from that fateful drive through Dealey Plaza now that the remaining investigation files have been unsealed. For the 50th anniversary in 2013, KERA produced special stories and reports from the commemoration:The 50th: Remembering John F. Kennedy was KERA's live, two-hour special covering the official commemoration event at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 2013. Hosted by Krys Boyd and Shelley Kofler, the special includes reports from KERA reporters before the ceremony begins. Listen to the special here.Bells tolled across the city, and the event featured historian David McCullough, who read from Kennedy’s presidential speeches; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; religious leaders; the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club; and a moment of silence. Read highlights from the event from KERA's live blog from that day.Throughout the month, KERA posted an online series called 22 Days In November, which takes a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country and how it affected Dallas.We shared stories and memories in a series called “JFK Voices.” Explore our archives below.

At Dealey Plaza, JFK Remembered With Theme Of Learning From The Past

Shelley Kofler
Most of the 5,000 with tickets braved cold, rainy weather to attend the JFK remembrance at Dallas' Dealey Plaza.

It was 37 degrees and a canopy of dense, gray clouds hung low over Dealey Plaza. Still, most of the 5,000 ticketed guests showed up, some covering their dark suits with clear plastic ponchos that ceremony organizers handed out.

The threat of thunderstorms canceled a performance by musicians in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as well as a commemorative flyover.

But powerful words and voices marked the 50th anniversary of a tragedy with hope.

Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas offered a prayer as he stood beneath a 50-foot banner that bore the likeness of JFK. He thanked God for moving Dallas beyond the dark stain that gave it the title "City of Hate."

“You turned our sorrow into a firm commitment to move forward,” he prayed. “You turned our grief into a resolve to refashion our city to a place where life flourishes and true love abounds.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called the assassination “a day when hope and hatred collided.”  He said the remembrance was an opportunity to remember a man who gave Dallas a gift that will not be squandered.

Rawlings said: “He and our city will forever be linked in tragedy, yes.  But out of that tragedy an opportunity was granted to us -- a chance to learn how to face the future when it’s the darkest and most uncertain. How to hold high the torch even when the flame flickers and threatens to go out."

Rev. Zan Holmes, pastor emeritus of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, continued the theme of learning from the past with his prayer. Fifty years ago, he was among the city leaders invited to a presidential luncheon that Kennedy would never attend.

“Send us forth to claim the brand new future you continue to offer us beyond our tragedies and triumphs,” Holmes prayed.

Those who remembered where they were at the fateful moment -- and others not yet born -- listened as historian David McCullough read from some of President Kennedy’s speeches. 

Video screens provided a close-up of the new 13-foot plaque at Dealey Plaza. It’s emblazoned with words from the Dallas speech President Kennedy had planned to give at the Dallas Trade Mart after his motorcade traveled though downtown.

Rawlings says he hopes the JFK remembrance will help the world see Dallas as it is today.

“Hopefully," he said, "we’ve turned the page today and we can go forward here in Dallas in the 21st century."

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.