DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) — Sixty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the American public continues to be obsessed with what happened.
In the decades since, the event has inspired dozens of books and movies, and the spot where the shooting happened remains a popular tourist destination in Dallas.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from across the country and around the world visit Dealey Plaza, where the president was shot on Nov. 22, 1963.
“You walk down and you see the road that you’ve seen on TV thousands of times, and you see the Xs on the road—first shot, second shot,” said Joe Skvarla, a visitor from Idaho. “Walking down and seeing the knoll, the grass, envisioning where all those people were standing.”
Six decades later, you can still feel the significance of that day while there.
“It’s a bit like, brings shivers to your bones,” said Andy Challice, who was visiting from the UK.
There is no doubt what happened changed the course of history, but the doubt surrounding the official version of events seems to be part of why it continues to have such a hold on the American psyche.
“We’re stuck with the government offering the people an implausible explanation,” said Jefferson Morley, a journalist in DC who spent 15 years at The Washington Post.
Morley has been investigating and writing about the assassination for decades. He is the editor of the blog JFK Facts and the author of several books on the CIA.
“JFK endures as a symbol of people’s lack of faith in government,” he said. “So that’s why it’s so important.”
Since the late 1960s, opinion polls have consistently shown that most Americans believe Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the president’s murder. Sixty years later, is there anything that could put the conspiracy theories about the assassination to rest for good?
“I think the only thing is full disclosure,” Morley said. “Everything in the government’s possession needs to be made public.”
The National Archives finished its review of classified files related to the assassination this year and says 99% of the records have been made publicly available, but the fact that even some documents remain withheld or redacted fuels skepticism.
“There’s a lot of people with government mistrust, and I think this feeds that,” Skvarla said.
Is the assassination an unsolved murder or a shockingly violent act committed by one man? The American people may never agree on a final answer.
“It was such a bad thing that happened, and it’s always going to be in history all around the world,” said Challice.
For now, the mystery surrounding the events of that day endures alongside the legacy of America’s 35th president.