News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
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.

International Press Takes JFK Memorial Global

Bill Zeeble
Local, national and international reporters in the 'filing tent' for the working media who covered Dallas' JFK 50th Memorial.

Friday's memorial on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination reached more than local and national audiences. Reporters from Rome to Morocco covered the story for their global audiences.

It really didn’t matter what country they hailed from. Every foreign reporter said the assassination half a century ago was front page news in their country, and interest in the Kennedys has lasted through the decades. But in some cases, said Chiyoko Nakamoto, of Japan’s Fuji TV, there’s another reason. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline is now the Ambassador to Japan, and her country is fascinated by the family.

“It’s like a dynasty. You don’t have a royal family in the States. We do have an Imperial family. I guess the Kennedy family is like almost a dynasty, a royal family in the U.S.”

Moroccan-born Nasser Hassaini reports for Al Jazeera, overseas. The news agency didn’t exist half a century ago. But he says the Arab speaking world paid close attention to the assassination then and to this memorial, especially after the assassination of Lebanon’s Prime Minister eight years ago.

“And no one knows to this date who did it. And plenty of crazy theories. It’s kind of similar to what happened to JFK’s story. We still don’t know who did it, if we believe the crazy theories out there.”

What’s more, Haisini says Arab leaders learn from the U.S. In this case, that the horrific tragedy did not destroy the government.  

“This happened in a democracy. You can have local terrorism in a democracy. That’s what it means to the Middle East. Whatever we call him, Oswald, if he did it, is a terrorist. Second, even in democracies, political killings do happen.”

The BBC’s Nick Bryant says his audience extends worldwide and they want more than just coverage of the memorial, For example, he asks how much of the sunny Camelot tale is myth?’ Because there was a darker side to Kennedy.  

“He enlarged America’s military presence in Southeast Asia. He was a bystander on civil rights the first two and a half years of his presidency. And his years in the presidency were touched by scandal as well. There were a thousand nights as well as a thousand days. So it’s a contradictory legacy.

And a contradiction that continues 50 years later. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.