Remembering John F. Kennedy

Diane Xavier | 8/19/2013, 6:22 p.m.
The city of Dallas will never forget Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
One of several displays in the John F. Kennedy: A Community Remembers exhibit at the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff that tells the story of Kennedy’s life, accomplishments and assassination. The Dallas Examiner

“It’s amazing how many people stop and look at that and watch with amazement,” he said. “It’s also amazing to watch the media in its earlier days because it was really the beginning of modern media as an art form. There hasn’t been anything like the cooperation that took place and the staying up all night of non-interrupted coverage until the time of President Kennedy’s assassination. We are honoring that and highlighting that.”

America Mourns will also feature original photographs of the funeral.

“These will be actual photographs of my collection, Army photographs, of the funeral,” Isenberg said. “There will also be some famous images that we will show. One of the things they did was cutaway and did not show the coffin being lowered to the ground but we actually got a clip of the coffin being lowered to the ground.”

In the next display, called America Changes, the exhibit will include a commissioned art piece by the students from the Kessler School in Oak Cliff.

“The idea is for the school through the children and perhaps the parents involved to basically highlight the changes that have taken place in America in the last 50 years,” he said. “This is a chance to let kids be a part of the process of living art and remembering JFK.”

Another display featured is called America Remembers.

“When you’re done touring the exhibit, people will have a chance to write their thoughts,” he said. “We are going to ask people to write their thoughts about events and will feature some big pictures of JFK, the Challenger, the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center. We are going to see how people remember those or what type of thoughts we get. I believe every single human being has their own personal 9/11, something that is very personal to them. So we will give folks a chance to do something of written reflection and using them to various effects.”

Another section of the exhibit is called Peaceful Reflections and will include reading materials and other memorabilia. The area will feature newspapers and wire reports from different cities in the United States and their coverage of the assassination. Isenberg said he hopes to have around 40 to 50 different newspapers to display.

Isenberg said he is also giving away hundreds of copies of Kennedy’s books including A Nation of Immigrants.

Also on display is an artist-proof of the Kennedy bust by Felix De Weldon, from the Kennedy Presidential Library. Another feature of the exhibit is a replica of the rocking chair of Kennedy.

Isenberg is also featuring his own artwork as well, titled “Just Imagine.”

“This will be in the middle of the lobby,” he said. “What my piece of art is going to do is that I am going to have JFK at the very top of my column tower and then after that, I am going to have quotes of his going all the way around coming down 10 to 15 feet so that when you walk in you will see JFK and a whole bunch of his quotes.”

Isenberg said he questions the way the city of Dallas has treated the assassination of Kennedy.

“I remain very disturbed that we in Dallas are still not even or have the ability to acknowledge that JFK was shot here,” he said. “We are calling this celebration JFK 50 and we are not even saying JFK Dallas or mentioning the assassination. The fact is that JFK did indeed die in Dallas. There were as many positive lessons that took place of his death as were negative lessons. But for some reason, Dallas just doesn’t want to accept the fact. I think it is important we remember the events of 50 years ago such as the JFK assassination.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public and is being underwritten by Isenberg.