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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  November 22, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PST

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it's very real... david rivera. rivera, david. [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. . hi, everyone, i'm tamron hall. 50 years ago doctors pronounced john f. kennedy dead. it would be another half hour before acting white house press secretary made the official announcement of the president's passing. and it would be at 2:50 eastern time when lee harvey oswald was arrested at the texas theater after a struggle. 50 years later the tragic events were called in a ceremony just concluding in dealey plaza. the president was shot as his
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motorcade passed. the mayor mike rollins spoke. >> we all grew up that day, city and citizens and suddenly we had to step up to trying to live up to the challenges of the words, and visions of a beloved president. >> after the mayor spoke those in the crowd bowed their head for a moment of silence. nbc's janet shamlian is live in dallas right now. janet, this is the first time that texas, dallas, has held a ceremony of this magnitude. we'll talk much more about it. but it is striking 50 years later to see these people there on a chilly day marking this moment. >> reporter: you're right about the weather too. the mood was reflective of what we're seeing here, 35 degrees, it feels more like duluth,
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minnesota than dallas. rainy and overcast. and as you noted, really the first time that this city has paid homage to what happened here to remember and to remember in a reflective way. i will tell you the weather changed the ceremony considerably. we did not see a performance by the dallas symphony or kes stra and it did not close with the air force formation. you saw people in ponchos and 5,000 gathered here. we heard remarks by the dallas mayor and that moment of silence and the bells tolling all throughout this city, also comments by author david mckul lug. it's 35 degrees out here, very cold, but the ceremony broadcast in many places, here it was very quiet, about 45 minutes in length.
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again, the first time that dallas has really embraced this or taken some measures in half a century to remember in this way, tamron, what happened here to memorialize it and commemorate and to remember that it's such a big part of this history of this city. >> of course, it's my home city and at any given time in that area, janet, you have tourists from all over the world recreating the steps, looking at the depository, going behind the fence to try to understand what happened there. and every day there are people there selling their own leaflets, some focused on conspiracy, others focused on the headlines from papers that day. there's always activity there but obviously today it is very different and far more grand in what we presented to the world to see. >> reporter: so respectful and the music and tone and even people who didn't have tickets to get in, braved this weather and stood on the perimeter,
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which is quite a devotion considering the weather here today. >> janet, thank you very much. we appreciate it. another ceremony is being held right now at the john f. kennedy presidential library and museum in boston. we'll bring a portion of that to you live as well. meantime, other ceremonies today included one the president kennedy's grave attended by members of the kennedy family, including the president's only surviving sibling, 85-year-old sister jean kennedy smith. flags are being flown at half staff at all government buildings on orders from president obama. president obama paid tribute to john f. kennedy by holding an event with an institution created by jfk, the peace corps. he participated in a video conference with peace corps volunteers in tanzania and declared today a day of remembrance. nbc news presidential historian
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michael beschloss joins me here and tony sabato, author of kennedy half century and reed epstein reporter for politico. when you look at these pictures and images coming in, michael, i'll start with you here, being a texan, as i explained to you my entire life, you go through this area and you realize that dallas struggled with how to remember what happened. these are images of boston right now but dallas greatly struggled on how to accept what happened on its door step. >> even the dallas cowboys which have been scheduled to play a game that weekend, which they actually did, not only were they worried about the fact that people would be angry at them or fr worried violence would be done by those angry at dallas. we were showing that image from the kennedy library.
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dallas wanted to get away from talking about the assassination, so has the kennedy library of jacqueline kennedy. this is a change in both cases. >> let's look at the time line where we are. larry, as i mentioned at the top of the hour, parkland hospital, the president was pronounced 2:12, not far from this time line, rifle shells found on the sixth floor and at 2:15 officer tip pet whose wife just shot with tom brokaw was shot and killed in oak cliff, a section of dallas there. one of things i think was incredible, that stretch of space where kennedy was shot. there weren't cameras and weren't reporters there. they were all five minutes away at the dallas mark where the big event was supposed to happen. >> it's quite a change from what it would be today when everybody would have a camera or personal cell phone taking all kinds of pictures and video.
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we're eternally greatful to bruner and nicks for their films. we would be in trouble if we didn't have that evidence. it's a solemn day in dallas. most people are being very respectful. i thought it was a wonderful ceremony that was very appropriate to the moment. >> right. >> as michael beschloss mentioned earlier, it was held not in front -- we don't like to call it the texas school book depository anymore, the sixth floor museum. >> yep. >> and michael is correct. they do a wonderful job. people who visit dallas should go to that -- >> as a kid we took our school field trips there as well. i would like to pause and take our audience to boston where governor patrick is reading the inaugural address given by kennedy on january 20th, 1961. let's listen in.
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>> so my fellow americans, ask not what your country can do for you. ask what you can do for your country. my fellow citizens of the world, ask not what america will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. ♪ >> james taylor. let me bring you in again. the climate at the time, we know again talking about the legacy and conditions in texas, some at the time and believed now were ripe for problems but nothing to the degree that anyone expected the assassination of this president. in fact, we looked at much of the individual yoef young girls in ft. worth, texas, there waiting to greet this couple and saying, i may not vote for him but wanted to be near and see. they understood this power that
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this couple, not just an individual, but of course he stands alone but together, they were formidable. >> it's right. presidents from kennedy up until today sort of come with an aura and presence that you see people even today when president obama travels in places that are not necessarily politically hospitalable to him, you see the same type of outreach and people lining the streets as the motorcade comes by. the same thing was happening then in dallas. kennedy was warned not to come and there's some letters you look at them now, they are quite ominous where you see people urging him not to visit dallas. >> there were wanted posters with his image on it circulating flyers around. >> sure but people still come to see the president of the united states because it might be the only time in their lives they can see a president in person. >> absolutely. michael, speak to that. 150 to 200,000 people, a third of the population at that time had come to see the president.
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we didn't have facebook, twitter. so to reed's point, despite the politics this was a once in a lifetime opportunity? >> it meant a lot. as the car turned, sitting in the seat in front, mr. president, you can't say dallas doesn't love you now and i think he could not have disagreed with that. the worry was real, in 1960, lady bird johnson had been jostled in the hotel by people who were conservatives -- >> as they were walking across the street, right? >> absolutely. it generated good feeling towards the johnson/kennedy ticket. bobby kennedy thought that -- oddly enough perhaps in the country plus a shot taken at general edwin walker which was by lee oswald. and add laid steven son, u.n.
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ambassador was attacked in dallas a month before the assassination. these were not unreal fears. >> absolutely. and larry, i was speaking with someone earlier today and said my mother was a school kid in south texas, still attending a segregated school, black school as it was called back then. and told me last night for first time, they called all of the black children into the gym and told them that kennedy had been killed. all of children burst into tears and parents soon to pick them up from school. but here was this kid in south texas in a segregated school and we knew -- and the world knew, that this was not the story of catholic pain or irish pain. this was american pain experienced at that time. >> it was nearly universal. those of us who lived through it, i was in the sixth grade in a catholic elementary school in norfolk, virginia, i've never to this day seen so many adults and children crying all at once.
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it was absolutely horrible. but just to reinforce another point, 200,000 people did show up on the streets of dallas. by the way, they were fairly teg rated crowds on the street. >> absolutely. even prior to with the faces of celebration and faces of pain, michael? >> remember when this was. five months after john kennedy set the first big civil rights big into congress ever, which said it was going to be passed that african-americans and everyone could use places of public accommodation. so this is someone who directly made the lives of african-americans an awful lot better. >> reed, speaking and larry, as well. growing up in texas and going through this path, so much of what i recall as a young child far years after this, was the talk of conspiracy and you've written about this, the number of people who believe in conspiracies. i think part of my childhood,
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many of the adults wanted to forget what happened or didn't want the stamp on dallas so the focus was heavily on the conspiracy. because dallas and texas did not want to believe that this could have happened on our watch. so today the numbers increase with people who believe in conspiracies around this. >> even members of the kennedy family, on television on sunday, saying that she is not sure that even to this day 50 years later that lee harvey oswald was the lone shooter. this is somebody who is nearly governor of maryland in 2002 and it shows how deep this idea is that there's some other answer other than just lee harvey oswald shooting kennedy from the sixth floor of the book depository. >> do you believe that resonates with people, especially those who lived through this? >> certainly it does. surveys today show that somewhere between 61% and 75% of americans don't believe that oswald acted alone. depending on how you word the
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question. i think it's also true that we resist wanting to believe that someone in oswald's position, who really had failed at everything in life and was in a terrible position, could have pulled this off. but, history and michael knows this better than i do, history is repleat with examples of nobodies becoming somebodies in circumstances like this. >> that is the case, michael. >> this is the case. for americans to be told the president has been killed and the man we think pulled the trigger has connected we think to anti-castro cubans, pro castro cubans, later on the mafia. >> and to be gunned down by jack ruby. >> is there hard evidence that suggests he did act for a larger group? hard to find it. >> i greatly appreciate your time and incredible insight.
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i'm priflthed to be here with you today. as we approach 2:15 p.m. this is the minute that officer jd tippet was shot and killed in oak cliff texas and his widow received a letter from jackie kennedy, two who lost their spouses that day, jackie kennedy said she felt great pain because of her husband being killed, mr. tippet was then killed. still ahead, 2:30, when acting press secretary mallcom gave the announcement of kennedy's death. we will play it as it happened 50 years later. this is extraordinary. you'll want to see it. how dallas and ft. worth are still trstruggling to balance i place in history. >> dallas was branded as a city of shame and hate and all of these ridiculous terms that didn't apply to most people. >> we will talk to wayne slater for the dallas morning news.
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today's ceremony in dallas marks the first time the city held a memorial for president kennedy since his assassination. they struggled for years with the legacy of kennedy's death. many refer to dallas as the city of hate and knew it only as the place where the president was killed. in today's ceremony, the mayor of dallas said the city and jfk will forever be linked, dallas is a different city now. the stigma may finally be fading
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away. >> reporter: a small town grown big. as many as a third turned out to see president kennedy and jackie make the sunny drive from love field from downtown dallas. until the sound of rifle shot shattered everything, including the image of dallas. >> dallas was branded as a city of shame and city of hate and all of these ridiculous terms that didn't apply to most people. and dallas residents resented it. >> reporter: lee harvey oswald was not from dallas or of dallas but the perception proved hard to shake. >> it's been decades of continuous reminders this is the city that killed presidents. no, it's not, one guy did. time moves on. you know, people begin to not blame the city but to blame the right person. and especially after the warren commission report to blame other things. >> dallas mayor michael rollins.
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>> when people think today about dallas, they think about business and what they do down here. >> it's become the mecca for curious and sentimental. >> and continues to fascinate to the extreme with some running into the street to stand on the spot where the president was assassinated. most recognize the downtown sky line as a image of success and glamour, but for some it will never obscure the dark day in dealey plaza. >> do you think of jfk? >> yes, that's probably the first thing that comes to mind. >> reporter: always? >> always. >> i'm not sure we ever want to escape history. it's something you talk to your kids about. >> reporter: alex witt, nbc news, dallas. >> joining me now, writer for the dallas morning news, wayne, thanks for approaching us. we're approaching 2:22 eastern time when the rifle was discovered on the sixth floor of the depository. the investigation obviously at
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this point in full swing but also great attention at parkland hospital as we know. and very soon lbj would love parkland for air force one to return to d.c. in dallas, you've been covering politics for 20 years, how would you describe the climate there, even here we are a solid red state still, perhaps purple one day some would say, but nevertheless how would you categorize dallas' legacy with the events today? >> it's been a long, long haul for dallas. whereas, everybody else in the country responded when they heard the news with grief and shock in dallas it was grief and shame. it is 50 years of the process of moving from denial and shame to acceptance and trying to embrace the idea of history. part of that was what you talked about. there are everywhere in dallas, the reminders, the texas theater
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where lee harvey oswald was captured and parkland hospital. the widow of lee harvey oswald was a 72-year-old grandmother living in suburban dallas, everywhere around us are remembrances, the process of healing and dallas accepting what happened and not simply wanting to deny what happened, but make it and embrace it as part of history, has been a long process but it's clearly under way. >> i remember in the '90s when i moved to philadelphia, i went to temple and i was at the gas station and someone asked where i was from. dallas. it was an older attendant, he said with a smirk, you're from where we killed the president. i've never heard anyone say that to me and here i was 19, 18 years old and that was my first exposure really to how the rest of the world saw us. >> you know, i think, part of this at one point there were a group of people in dallas who wanted to level the school book
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depository, the museum now. in the fact, cooler heads prevailed and they said, no, we're not going to erase history, we're going to embrace this history, a memorial and school book depository and accept what's happened here. dallas for lived for years as we know under a psychological shadow. that shadow is not gone yet. you heard the mayor today, mayor rollins make a reference to dallas, we're not the same city. that was a defense of dallas even today. >> and ft. worth battles with this. i want to play a little bit of the morning, november 22nd, 1963, he made this impromptu appearance. let's play that. >> there are no -- >> the president? what did you think of him? >> i thought he was very genuine. >> president kennedy, i think he
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was so distinguished and intelligent and so happy i got to see him. >> what do you think of the president? >> i think he's a wonderful man. >> that was in ft. worth. and that wonderful town as well, my high school not far from where that hotel exists. struggles too but the politics of texas, do you see any kennedy legacy. we talk about the national landscape but the political landscape of texas, what do you see there? >> i think that's a really good question. because when the mayor says dallas and not worth, these areas are not what they were in 1963. i think that's true. if the kennedy assassination did something that i think among the things it did was to make the city of dallas re-evaluate these troublesome, these difficult and toxic currents, political and idealogical current in the city and to come to terms, dallas was
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not completely innocent. it wasn't completely guilty but it wasn't completely innocent. and the dallas today, if you look is a very different city. a sheriff, as you know in dallas is a latina lesbian. you wouldn't have seen something like that in the past. there's much more tolerance and embrace of all kinds of people. but politically, there's a division in the city. and there are divisions but it's nothing like it was in 1963. >> wayne slater, always a pleasure to speak with you. we'll talk with you soon. >> a question that often comes up with people discuss president kennedy and you know the question, where were you when you learned the president had been assassinated? >> i mean, everybody just felt, what are we doing? we're playing a soccer game and the president has just been shot. >> we'll have a preview of tom brokaw's special documentary reviewing tonight, reviewing the day jfk died. ♪ ♪
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people around the world know exactly where they were when they heard the news president kennedy had been shot. tom brokaw got powerful answers in his new documentary. >> where were you when you heard that john f. kennedy had been assassinated? >> just even the question still -- >> it was almost like a frozen frame in time. everybody on the campus, instead of people running and say, did you hear, there were quiet groups of people, can that be true? you would see five students in a corner. we sat in a car. you would see people in the hallway, almost like if you said it out loud he was going to die. >> i remember just completely
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disconnecting from the game. it was just a shock. everybody just felt what are we doing? we're playing a soccer game and the president has just been shot. >> i went outside on the private porch and cried for a while. it was the first time i had really wept, the last time was when my father died. >> tom brokaw's special where the where were you" airs tonight on nbc. the kennedy assassination as it happened on that tragic friday in 1963. bill ryan and frank mcgee and charles murphy reporting for nbc news that day. let's listen in. >> virtually every medical specialist of any sort, description and capability would be called into the hospital so that all medical treatment would be available to the president.
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chet? >> and at this moment, i would assume that the memory of every person listening at this moment has flashed back to that day in april of 1945 when franklin roosevelt -- >> two priests with president kennedy say he is dead. there is no further confirmation but this is what we have on a flash basis from the associated press. two priests in dallas who were with president kennedy say he is dead of bullet wounds. there is no further confirmation, this is the only word we have indicating the president may in fact have lost his life and just learned on the associated press wires from dallas. two priests called to the hospital to administer the last rites and it is from them we get the word that the president has died that the bullet wounds inflicted on him as he rode in a motorcade in downtown dallas
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have been fatal. there is no official confirmation of this from any source as yet. >> just moments before you right this -- i had heard from the -- >> this might be confirmation. >> we must stand by for confirmation as bill has emphasiz emphasized. this is rather sketchy information, we will stand by. >> no, there apparently is word that this ap flash, report from the two priests that the president has died of bullet wounds is confirmed. we will attempt now to get to station wbat tv in ft. worth dallas for confirmation. we go to newsman tom murphy. >> sub staome three to five min
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later the ap flashed that two priests at the hospital say the president is dead. charles murphy, turning now to nbc in new york. >> from two sources, again it is not -- >> all right, we have nbc's bob mcneil on the line with the report. please go ahead, bob. >> white house press secretary, has just announced that president kennedy died at approximately 1:00 central standard time, about 35 minutes ago -- >> after being shot at. >> by an unknown assailant. >> during a motorcade drive through downtown dallas. >> during a motorcade drive through downtown dallas. >> the president died. >> the president died. >> approximately 25 minutes --
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>> approximately 25 minutes -- >> after the attack took place. he has been rushed bleeding and unconscious. >> to the parkland memorial hospital in dallas. >> to the parkland memorial hospital in dallas. >> and given blood transfusions. >> given blood transfusions. >> about 15 minutes ago reports bob mcneil to dallas to whom i'm talking now. >> a priest emerged. >> a priest emerged. >> after having given the president. >> after having given the president. >> the last rooits. >> the last rites. >> just before the announcement of the president's death was made. >> just before the announcement of the president's death was made. >> vice president lyndon johnson. >> vice president lyndon johnson. >> emerged grim faced and was driven off with a police he is xort. >> and was driven away with a police escort. >> to assume the constitutional
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responsibility. >> the constitutional responsibilities. >> of the presidency. >> of the presidency. >> a casket. >> casket. >> has just been brought in to the emergency ward. >> of this hospital. >> of this hospital. >> for president kennedy. >> for president kennedy. >> michael beschloss is standing by. we know that there wouldn't be until 3:38 eastern time that lbj would be administered the oath of office. the events playing out at park larnd hospital, also incredible, dallas county wanted custody of the remains for an autopsy. jacqueline kennedy did not want that and refused to leave the hospital without his remains and lbj refused to leave dallas without her. it was incredible events playing out from the television perspective but things we cannot see but now know took place at the hospital. >> you wouldn't believe the xin you're right. local dallas officials said i am not permitting the president's remains to leave dallas until
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there's been an autopsy and kennedy's aides said the law can be waived. this is president of the united states. he said absolutely not and finally if you can believe it, secret service agents drew out machine guns and said we're going ahead and pushed ahead and brought the president's coffin and mrs. kennedy to the airport, to the point when they arrived at love field there was still worry among some of the late president's aides that the dallas police would roll up and try to stop the plane from leaving washington. >> as i understand it, you know far better than i, it wasn't until wheels were up that there was ongoing battle. a lot of people don't realize or understand why there was this battle between county over the feds, over the president's remains and vul autopsy. >> that's right. in one respect the dallas official was not entirely wrong. the reason that that law was there and the assassination of a president unbelievy in 1963 was
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not a federal offense. it certainly has been one since then. but the idea was that you could only preserve the chain of evidence if there's an autopsy done, president or anyone else who goes through this, on site. and one source of the conspiracy theorists ever since then has been that because the president's body was brought back to washington, the autopsy was done in bethesda naval hospital, maybe some way this was manipulated to provide some kind of massive cover-up. >> it's amazing. 2:50 eastern time, oswald arrested and we know around this time, just about, the surgery was going on with governor connelly at parkland hospital as well. these events all playing out 50 years ago. it's incredible to look at this in reflection. thank you so much, michael. >> we invite you to tune in to msnbc for three hours of assassination of jfk first at 7:00 p.m. eastern, the day that changed america.
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now back to politics and the fallout after senate democrats so-called nuclear option filibuster rules change for presidential nominees. joining me now, senior political editor mark murray. it turns out yesterday everyone's hair was on fire and now the rule changed, not so bad after all as we know eventually the gop hopes to be the majority and exploit the rules as well. >> well, tamron, there is the thought conventional wisdom that what happened yesterday and rules change will make a more ak moan yus and divisive u.s. congress. but there is a counter intuitive take. it's hard to believe that congress and capitol hill can be
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more partisan and more divided than it currently is. the other thing is for a lot of republicans, particularly those from the so-called compromise caucus, the john mccains and lindsay grahams and bob corker and lamar alexander's yesterday's rule change may be a relief. they were helping democrats get to the 60 votes to break filibusters and helping them time and time again. there are folks like graham and alexander up for re-election facing tea party challenges. they never have to take these type of votes. democrats get to vote their folks on and don't need republican help. that is something that might be able in a very counterintuitive way to cool the atmosphere on capitol hill. >> we have an update from the aca -- i guess the head tech guy in charge, jeff zienst. that this would meet the end of the month target, total of 800,000 users visiting per day and also added an option when
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people go on the site during high volume hours that you'll be able to get an e-mail to notify you when the capacity has gone down. it looks like this latest update seems to be some good news. we'll have to keep it in perspective. >> this is that good news versus some bad news and of course the volume matters a whole lot. they are expecting a lot of enrollment come december. to have that capacity and a lot of folks use it at the same time is very key for the administration. >> thanks, mark, have a great weekend. see you on monday. >> still ahead, more on our special coverage of the assassination of jfk. we'll talk with two young people who weren't even born at the time, born years later, inspired by his legacy. we'll meet them next. could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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as the nation reflects on the anniversary of the assassination of president john f. kennedy, it's turning to the next generation for new ways to
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honor his legacy. ♪ >> this week the dallas symphony orchestra offered a piece meant to capture the movement of the country, the title is the world is very different now. it's drawn directly from jfk's inaugural speech and an essay penned by a dallas eighth grader took the top prize in a competition involving 200 students. perry middle school sponsor a competition writing about the president's legacy. and she joins me now. i love the image of both of you together, very different. one in college, one in middle school, different paths but here you are together. i'll start with you, you were commissioned to create this piece. tell me about the process and what you were focusing on.
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what were you imagining when you put it together? >> my first response was quite honestly terror. because immediately there was a sense of immense responsibility with this work. so the thought process for me was very much about conceptualizing the work, thinking about what i could say that would feel honest and meaningful and still appropriate to the event. and it took shape when i spent a lot of time at the sixth floor museum here in dallas and spent hours in their invaluable and enormous library of oral histories. and from there i realized that this piece would be about my relationship with this historic event, my sort of understanding which is very lynnier and text book, the relationship between that understanding and these very, very personal diverse experiences that used this assassination as a starting
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point. >> it's so interesting you point out it's linear, you're just 19 and basing this on what you've heard or read and you're at the museum and you can absorb it in a different way? >> it's much like being in an environment and not so much dipping into these people's experiences as it is realizing that there's much more to this enormous tragedy than just the facts, the acknowledged easy to make sense of facts. >> and you give it voice through your music. ter yan na you give it voice through s essay. john f. kennedy was a remarkable president who inspired many generations, many of the privileges we have today were established during kennedy's presidency. i am so grateful he sparked the flame that led to equality and justice for all u.s. citizens. i imagine your parents are quite proud of you. how did you put together these
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thoughts and these words in your essay? >> well, i watched a couple of videos and looked them up to see what he was about and kind of look put it all together to make it make sense and make it to be like a reality like now. >> was it difficult for you? again, like with conrad, here you are in middle school and everything you've heard you've read in textbooks and what your parents have shared and now you have to make it personal, what he meant to you or what you see as your life today that was affected by this president. >> well -- >> was that tough for you? >> i kind of understand what you are saying. >> how was it for you to put this all together, since you weren't born and you're still a baby? >> well, kind of -- it wasn't as hard as i thought it was going to be because it kind of makes
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sense and flows through. i was processing through as i go along taking it slow and putting pieces together. >> you put the pieces together beautifully. >> thank you. >> i really appreciate you joining us and conrad, of course, you've been playing since you were 4 years old and now at juliard. i greatly appreciate it. quite a duo. we'll be right back with another moment 50 years ago captured on tape and we'll play that for you. absolutely extraordinary. we'll be right back. oh boy... [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex.
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before we end the show we want to share this incredible moment 50 years ago capturing the pain that by now spread through the country after learning president had been killed on that day. the boston symphony was preparing his friday afternoon concert. once the news was confirmed the conductor broke the news of the president's death.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, we have a press report over the wires, we hope that it is unconfirmed but we have to doubt it. the president of the united states has been the victim of an assassination -- we will play the funeral march from beet hov en -- >> absolutely incredible. that does it for this edition. thank you so much for joining us on this day. "the cycle" is up next. [ male announcer ] this is jim,
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[ bells tolling ] ♪ from sea to shining sea >> as his campaign song said, he had high hopes and so do we. and on we go. ♪ >> it's been