Despite over a year of letters, emails and negotiations between the Coalition on Political Assassinations and the Dallas Mayor’s office, the 50th Committee, created to plan the commemorative events in Dallas, and the Sixth Floor Museum, which secured and then dropped an exclusive permit to close Dealey Plaza to the public, the City of Dallas are going ahead with plans to hold their event and to exclude a 49-year tradition of holding a Moment of Silence on the Grassy Knoll at 12:30 pm each November 22. These annual events honored the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, but also spoke out about the injustice and historical importance of the official failure to solve his murder and understand its purpose. The flawed Warren Commission conclusion of a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, being responsible has been rejected over the last five decades by the vast majority of the American public (80% in recent polls). The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded, in the 1970s, that both President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr were killed by a “probable conspiracy”, but no official body or federal investigative agency has moved to resolve the issue much less reveal the killers since. The critics of the official version have held the annual vigils in Dealey Plaza to call for the truth and reveal the best new evidence.
This year they have been prevented, not only barred from inclusion or a voice in the planning of events in Dallas for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, but also singled out for exclusion based on the message. The planners in Dallas called us “conspiracy theorists” and worried about how they could be sure we were not on the Grassy Knoll again this year. We know this from minutes of their early meetings revealed under Texas Open Records Act and from numerous public statements in the Dallas press. The director of the Sixth Floor Museum responded to “suggest simply that you set aside the national and international press attention to his [JFK’s] death to another moment.” COPA was denied a permit we had applied for over the last three years, and informed that no parks in Dallas would be open for any events that day. Clearly a content-based denial of free speech, which is a violation of the First Amendment.
Over the last year, we have exhausted our administrative remedies by asking to be issued a permit for our annual event and by proposing reasonable alternatives to the Mayor so both events could be accommodated (e.g. Move the Dallas event, which could effectively be held any day and any place, to the American Airlines Center where tickets are to be picked up; move the time of the event to end by 12:00 pm and allow us to follow with ours; or move the barricades to the north side of Elm Street so that we could be visible on the Grassy Knoll and join the Moment of Silence, still speaking to our own message without being disruptive). For months our communications were met with total silence. We were denied participation in or even a meeting with the 50th Committee. Pleas to the City Administrator in charge of the event went unanswered.
Recently, COPA got a letter from Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, with a proposal that we gather at a park blocks from Dealey Plaza (JFK Memorial Plaza/Founders Square), to watch his event on a Jumbotron, and then we would be allowed to come into Dealey Plaza after his event ends (12:45 pm) and the barriers have come down (2:30 pm). Notice of an event by COPA at 2:30 pm will be posted at the 50th Committee website, if we agree. At a minimum our Moment of silence should be announced to all those who applied for a ticket and from the stage at the end of the official event, to be fair.
Public access to the Plaza will be denied to at least 8,700 who applied for a ticket but will not be issued one, to thousands coming to Dallas to be at the designated Historical Site at Dealey Plaza that day who will not know of these events, and to hundreds of assassination researchers who plan to be at our annual event. The public will be allowed in following the Mayor’s event. The Mayor’s clear purpose of controlling the message to the press that day will be accomplished, since they will likely dissipate and miss our presence there two hours later. Note that the official events are being organized by a public relations firm, Laurie Peat Associates and by Mayor Rawlings, a 20-year veteran of the largest advertising firm in Texas.
COPA has sent a survey to those who are already registered to attend our annual conference in Dallas November 22-24 this year (230 people) and those who have attended past conferences or expressed an interest in our organization, asking whether they will accept the Mayor’s offer or want to bring an injunction in court to protect our free speech rights. In either case, we will hold our Moment of Silence in Dealey Plaza that day legally, at whatever time is possible.
Tickets have been drawn for 5,000 people to attend the Mayor’s event and some COPA members have already been notified. Below is the notice to those who applied and a press release about the issuance of tickets. Those notified must bring ID to pick up their tickets at the American Airines Center, south of Dealey Plaza, between 7:00 am and 10:00 am that morning. Those attending are barred from bringing chairs, blankets, umbrellas, signs, banners, bullhorns and megaphone. Ironically, there is no listed prohibition of weapons or guns. These are presumably considered less dangerous to public security than free speech.
Ticket Winners Being Notified:
Dallas citizens will honor the life, leadership and legacy of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of his death.
All those receiving admission to Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22 will be notified by email between Thursday, Oct. 10, and Tuesday, Oct. 15. The email will appear in your inbox from The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy. Due to limited space at Dealey Plaza, if you do not receive notification by Oct. 15, you will not receive admission. However, you are welcome to watch a live stream of the event at one of the free, downtown, outdoor broadcasts. Check this site soon for a list of those viewing sites.
President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Foundation
2001 Ross Ave. Suite 3170, Dallas, TX 75201
214-880-0398 | fax: 214-953-1871
JFK 50th Online Ticketing Process Completed; Alternate Viewing Locations Announced
The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy
October 10, 2013 12:17 PM Eastern Daylight Time
DALLAS–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–The online ticketing process for The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy has been completed for the public commemoration in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 2013.
“It’s important that the city of Dallas has a strong voice in remembering this very solemn day”
The President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Foundation, in conjunction with the city of Dallas, established a highly secure computerized allocation system to handle the large volume of expected requests from the public wishing to attend the event in Dealey Plaza. Those chosen by random allocation will be notified this week as to the planning and logistics for their attendance that day.
The public will still have the opportunity to view live, close captioned feeds of the event from three locations in and around downtown Dallas. AT&T Plaza at Victory Park/American Airlines Center, Annette Strauss Square and the JFK Memorial Plaza/Founders Square area, located one block east of Dealey Plaza, have all been chosen as alternate viewing areas for the public.
“The online ticket allocation process was inclusive and the fairest way to accommodate the public with the limited space and security and safety concerns we have to work with in Dealey Plaza,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “The alternate viewing locations ensure that everyone feels welcome to be a part of the commemorative proceedings.”
“The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy” will be a serious, understated and respectful commemoration in tribute to our nation’s 35th president. Paid for by private donations, corporations and foundations, the private/public partnership is led by Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings and a broad cross section of 25 local civic leaders in cooperation with the city of Dallas. The President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Foundation is chaired by Ruth Sharp Altshuler.
“It’s important that the city of Dallas has a strong voice in remembering this very solemn day,” said Altshuler. “The donors have done a wonderful job in creating an event which will live up to the sense of history and dignity it deserves,” she added.
For additional information, please visit: www.50thHonoringJohnFKennedy.com.