JFK 50th Anniversary: The Eyes of Texas, Pt. I
I once did know a President
A way down South, in Texas.
And, always, everywhere he went,
He saw the Eyes of Texas.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you, all the livelong day.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you, you cannot get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn
The Eyes of Texas are upon you 'til Gabriel blows his horn.
Sing me a song of Prexy, of days long since gone by.
Again I seek to greet him, and hear his kind reply.
Smiles of gracious welcome
Before my memory rise,
Again I hear him say to me, "Remember Texas' Eyes."
"The Eyes of Texas" by John Sinclair, 1903
(This was the last song JFK ever heard. President Kennedy was serenaded by the Texas Boys Choir in Ft. Worth on the final morning of his life.)
DALLAS -– A day before Dallas paused to observe the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, crowds already began to gather in Dealey Plaza. By early afternoon Thursday, more than 1,000 people milled about the historic murder site in downtown Dallas.
Gayle Newman, now 72, was an eyewitness to the assassination. She returned again to Dealey Plaza today with her husband Bill (who also witnessed the murder up close) and their family. "I've never seen so many people here at one time," she said in genuine amazement. The Newmans are seen in assassination film footage throwing themselves upon their children as shots rang out.
People came from all over the world to Dallas for the anniversary. 43 year-old Cecile Hermier arrived Tuesday from Dijon, France. “This was my promise I made to myself when I was 13,” she said.
She has since visited JFK-related sites in Boston, Washington, Los Angeles (to research the RFK assassination), Ireland, Berlin, and finally, Dallas. She’s already been to the Sixth Floor Museum, the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff, and toured Parkland hospital to see the place where both Kennedy and his alleged assassin died.
“I love that you are not really celebrating the assassination, but his life and legacy,” she said. “I wish the Kennedy family would give some sign to Dallas that they have forgiven the city. They will not be here, but I am proud to be here.”
Indeed, no Kennedys turned up in Dallas over the weekend. Two of John F. Kennedy's cousins – Kerry and Kevin McCarthy – were the only family members who came to mark the solemn anniversary. Both were in town to speak at the JFK Lancer conference.
59 year-old Long Beach lawyer Jeff Gold strolled around Dealey Plaza showing off his tattoos of the Kennedys (John, Jackie and Robert). He also had a poignant quote tattooed on his left forearm from JFK's June 1963 American University speech that read, "What kind of peace do I mean, and what kind of peace do we seek?"