Historian McCullough to read from JFK speeches on the 50th anniversary

While I’ve written about the free-speech implication of the plans to commemorate the assassination of President Kennedy with an invitation-only event in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 2013, I have scanted what is actually going to happen at the event.

It sounds like it will be tasteful and avoid all reference to the causes of JFK’s death.

From the organizers’ press release:

“The 50th” will start at 11:45 a.m. on Nov. 22 with the tolling of church bells throughout the
city and a moment of silence. Renowned Presidential historian David McCullough will give
special readings from John F. Kennedy’s Presidential speeches. The internationally
acclaimed, 73-member U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club will perform, and area religious
leaders will offer prayers and a benediction. A ceremonial flyover will conclude the
memorial, which is outdoors and will last approximately one hour.”



8 thoughts on “Historian McCullough to read from JFK speeches on the 50th anniversary”

  1. I handled all of the media during the 40th anniversary and worked at the Museum for 4 years. The family isn’t coming to the “50th” because they have asked for YEARS for no one to do anything on the date and for 49 years nothing was done. But now we have the “50th” with no mention of the word assassination. Closing off the plaza for 2 weeks. Excluding the general public. Excluding the “conspiracy” people who were never any problem. The media will come to Dallas for this anniversary but I doubt they will cover the elitist ceremony that is planned.

  2. Nathaniel Heidenheimer

    Correct me if I’m mistaken, but didn’t Russ Baker write that McCullough was Yale Scull and Bones?

  3. I have no problem with the Assassination Commemoration Ceremony, or ACC for short. But I’d like Texas to add a second ceremony next summer, at the LBJ Library in Austin: Let’s have a Gulf of Tonkin Commemoration on August 4, 2014, to commemorate the faulty/weak evidence that led to thousands of American and Vietnamese lives lost in a stupid war, which wouldn’t have happened—we would have probably pulled out by 1965—had John F. Kennedy not been assassinated up in Dallas the previous year.

  4. Eric Saunders

    The contextual depoliticization (highly political in and of itself!) and the failure to invite the family to speak are both unconscionable. They reflect in my mind a rather sinister and transparent effort to turn the anniversary of this cataclysmic crime into vapid pomp and circumstance serving to prop up the myth of American Exceptionalism.

  5. There is something that just seems tasteless about the whole ceremony. None of the family will be there and it seems like they don’t want them there or even have gotten their input or feedback. I don’t even know if it appropriate to celebrate Kennedy’s life and the things he did at the very spot he was assassinated at. It just is weird. I would be interested to know if they are paying McCollough to do his readings, he is a great writer and its sad to see him being a part of this. I hope he isn’t just hard on money. He normally charges a $50k speaking fee:


    1. And he is not even a Kennedy historian. Why not Dallel who wrote a great book about Kennedy and an even better one about LBJ. Or Douglas Brinkley who we had speak numerous times.

  6. George Simmons

    I doubt if the people who have applied for tickets will be randomly selected as the press release claims.

    More likely, people will be hand picked to minimise the chance of any dissent/demonstration etc.

    The ceremony only lasts for one hour, so I presume people will be allowed to visit Dealey Plaza as per normal for the rest of the day?

    1. No. From what I understand the Plaza will be closed for 2 weeks prior and probably will not be reopened after the ceremony.

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