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JFK Ceremony Attendees Mark Dark Day In Dallas History

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Thousands of people braved the wind and cold rain to pay tribute to President John F. Kennedy on this, the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Dallas.

Those who were lucky enough to win the ticket lottery say the dreary weather could not have kept them away to mark this dark day in Dallas' history and indeed the nation's.

Rosie Sena said President Kennedy was "special to me, we loved him."

Crews erected a large banner with JFK's portrait overlooking Dealey Plaza.

Presidential historian David McCullough reflected on the nation's 35th President.  "His words changed lives. His words changed history.  Rarely has a commander in chief addressed the nation with such a command of language."

McCullough recalled JFK's reoccurring message to the American people.

"The new frontier is a set of challenges, not what I intend to offer people, but what I intend to ask them."

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told the crowd, "Today, because of the hard work of many people, Dallas is a different city. I believe the next frontier did not end that day on our Texas frontier.  The people of this city have been fulfilled with a sense of industry born of tragedy, driven to improve the substance of Dallas, not just the image of it."

Then, a moment of silence, and the tolling of the bells at 12:30 pm, the time the President was shot.

Atop the grassy knoll, in the shadow of the Old Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald's fatal shots rang out, the city unveiled a new monument for the President:  a plaque inscribed with the last few words of the speech he was going to deliver that day in Dallas, but never could.

Mayor Rawlings gave President Kennedy's words a voice.  "We in this country in this generation are by destiny, rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom."

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